Despite having foraged for further articles about well-respected films and directors whom I can gleefully attempt to impart some misery on and lesser people’s levels of optimism about life, this week I have opted to write about my all-time favourite film. One therefore that I will not try and decipher the meanings of, one that I will not condemn to the pits of hell. People may say that this movie is ‘trashy’ and lacking of true quality. It may not feature a Tarantino-like bloodshed scene but remains a cinematic masterpiece. The film is, if you haven’t already guessed from the title, the impeccable Forgetting Sarah Marshall.
What’s not to love? The film is straightforward – there is no hidden subtext, no implicit meanings behind Peter Bretter’s sadness; it is light-hearted, easy to follow and enjoyable. That is the beauty behind the film, not necessarily the setting in the picturesque Hawaii, but the simplicity of it. The film accepts itself for what it is, a comedy with limited heights to reach. The director, whose name I do not know as the film didn’t make me want to look into it any further, as all you had to know is in the film, unlike Kubrick and Tarantino films, has done a job worthy of modern comedic masterpieces such as Superbad and Hangover and even stretching to the repertoire of Woody Allen, whose trademark one-liners and intense sarcasm is replicated in the film. Obviously he/she will have been assisted by Judd Apatow, the modern Steve Martin perhaps. All you need to know with FSM is right in front of you.
Known to play the same character of Marshall in How I Met Your Mother in most of his films, Jason Segal is perfect in the film. His delivery and timing is next to perfect, as well as his onscreen relationships with fellow actors. Cameos from Paul Rudd as the hilare, high surf instructor and Jonah Hill as the overly-obsessive waiter also did the film wonders, with the two even improvising some of their lines in the laid back, Hawaiian atmosphere. Russell Brand plays who else but a hateable, British sex fiend and fits the role surprisingly well…There won’t be any negativity whatsoever about Mila Kunis for obvious reasons. Small roles played by the likes of Bill Hader and Jason Bateman and TV stars Jack McBrayer and William Baldwin also did not go amiss.
Referring back to the improvisation, I think that this may be the defining feature of the film and what distinguishes it from other ‘trashy’ comedies. Even its ‘sort of sequel’ Get him to the Greek was vastly different to this due to the strict nature of the script. I would argue that only the best modern comedies feature improvisation to the same extent as this film, such as The Hangover and The 40 Year Old Virgin. Masterful lines such as “off to find the mythical clitoris” and “oh the weather outside is weather” were personal favourites of mine.
People debate that modern comedies such as this one are ridiculously immature and only targeted at younger audiences, but this is not true. FSM for example has moments that 30 odd year olds can relate to well and the story of Brett is an unusual yet relatable one, even including instances from Jason Segal’s life, as he too broke up with a girlfriend whilst naked. The film got great responses from adult critics such as Rolling Stone and USA Today. And yes Woody Allen’s heights may be unreachable, just as food used to taste better, cars ran better and snow used to be whiter etcetera blah blah blah.
It seems like a genuinely fun cast, with everyone pissing about in Hawaii. And the fun they have shines on set and reflects on its audience very well. Congratulations Forgetting Sarah Marshall, my first wholly positive article.
I am aware that dubbing this film as my all-time favourite will vastly decrease your opinions of my taste in film; and more aware that you may feel it de-values all the opinions I’ve ever had in life. Oh well, no one will have bothered to read this far so I can at least reveal my rating for the film on IMDB which some of you may have appalling. (IMDB Rating 10/10)