Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Forgetting Sarah Marshall and Remembering My Youth

Forgetting Sarah Marshall is funny--really, really funny. Go see it.

The short version storyline is that composer Peter Bretter (Jason Segel) is suddenly dumped by his TV cop show star girlfriend, the Sarah Marshall (Kristen Bell). He goes to Hawaii to get away from it all and lick his wounds, but--oopsie--Sarah is there, at the same hotel, with new boyfriend, rock superstar Aldous Snow (the unforgettable Russell Brand). Hotel employee Rachel (Mila Kunis) tries to help Peter out by spending time with him. All manner of rom-com hijinx ensue. (I just tried to look up "hijinx" in a dictionary, and it's not even in there. Where's the OED when you need it? Not that I have an extra room to house the thing anyway.)

Aside from the frequent full frontal nudity shots of Jason Segel (who also wrote the script so he's clearly a perverted exhibitionist--but a totally lovable one), the most visually disturbing thing about this movie is that it takes place in Hawaii. How, you ask, could Hawaii be visually disturbing? I went to high school there, that's how. Imagine a skinny, pasty white, socially inept teenage girl who prefers mountains and forests, or even a library for that matter, over the beach partly because she has a tidal wave phobia (no one called them tsunamis back then) and partly because she knows that there are things in the water that want to eat her. Now take that skinny white girl and condemn her to three years on a tiny peninsula on the tiny island of Oahu in the middle of the great big Pacific Ocean. They called me "shark bait" and wouldn't swim with me, their theory being I was so white that my legs glowed in the water and sharks could see me from miles away. They made me live in a house on said tiny peninsula where, from my bed at night, I could hear the waves crashing on the beaches on both sides of the peninsula, and I waited breathlessly to be washed away by a 100-foot tidal wave every time the waves went quiet for a minute. Maybe even a 200-foot tidal wave. And did I mention that the house also sat at the foot of a maybe extinct, maybe dormant volcano? My friend at the time, Mr. Kona Gold, helped take the edge off a bit, but I have nonetheless supported many a therapist in the years since then.

But enough about me--back to the movie. Jason Segel is tummy-aching funny, but Russell Brand is freakin' hysterical as the very limber, very uninhibited, very sex-obsessed Aldous Snow. The movie is worth the price of admission just to watch his performance (be afraid, be very afraid for the giant chess pieces--you'll see).

The women easily take the back seat to the men in this one, with WAY entertaining supporting turns by Jonah Hill as a socially awkward server infatuated with Aldous Snow, Paul Rudd as a surfing instructor who has some short-term memory issues (can't imagine why . . . hmmmm), and Jack McBrayer (Kenneth of 30 Rock) as a sexually repressed, religious, virgin newlywed who decides that sex is just plain nasty and that what his bride is prepared to do to make it good is, well, simply unspeakable and undoubtedly against all the laws of God. Hell, just looking at Jack McBrayer makes me giggle like a resident of Bedlam.

I and everyone else in the theater laughed almost non-stop through the whole movie. It was funnier than other products from the Judd Apatow machine, and in many other ways it was better than the likes of 40-Year Old Virgin and Knocked Up (don't get me wrong--they're both awesome). It was just more grown up, if you can say that about a movie which starts with the main character getting dumped by his girlfriend while he's stark naked, sobbing, begging, and moving around his apartment doing memorable things like sitting on and rising from a leather sofa, sound effects included. And he spends a large portion of the movie crying like a little girl (which was actually very endearing).

The movie is filled with great lines and scenes that will stick with you for weeks, maybe longer, causing you to break out in spontaneous giggles at awkward times. My downfall is going to come everytime I think about the "rock opera" that Peter is working on. It's a rock opera about a love-sick Dracula. And he thinks it would be best performed by puppets. And he's perfectly serious. I really can't say any more about that except that every time Peter performed an excerpt from his opera, I laughed so hard I was gasping for air and trying not to wet myself.

The Hawaiian backdrop really is strikingly beautiful, albeit traumatic for me. I was sometimes distracted from the action in the film because I was transfixed on the watery horizon in the background, looking for that giant wall of water that would wash away Peter Bretter's tears, along with Peter Bretter.

I repeat: Go see this movie. On a scale of five tsunamis, I give it 4.5 big waves. Aloha!

1 comment:

Andrea said...

LOL! Shark Bait! I love it!

I finally made it by to comment. :) Great job! I've actually been reading regularly, though. It sucks not being able to comment from work.