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Forgetting Sarah Marshall


Stars: Jason Segel, Kristen Bell, Russell Brand, Mila Kunis, Bill Hader, Paul Rudd, Jonah Hill

Director: Nicholas Stoller

Another supposedly adult comedy from the Judd Apatow stable, this takes conventional romantic situations and adds crude sexual twists to them. Star Segel also wrote it and, as a mournful cross between Brendan Fraser and Rock Hudson, should certainly have resisted casting himself as Peter, a composer of TV background music, who's been living with Sarah (Bell) for the past five years.

When she announces she's leaving him for English rock idol Aldis Snow (Brand), Peter falls apart, blubbering uncontrollably at frequent intervals. This is meant to be funny, but the way Segel plays it, it's merely yeccch.

Well, Peter flies to Hawaii to get away from it all, and meets pretty receptionist Rachel (Kunis) before realising that Sarah and Aldis are at the same hotel. You won't need a road map to chart this through to its conclusion, but it takes the film almost two hours to get there.

For some reason, the lumpen Segel appears full-frontal nude several times and it's not altogether an appetising sight. It's not entirely his fault, as an actor, that the film fails to affect our emotions, but, as screenwriter, he unfailingly steers the story into clunky and unsubtle channels. When a jealous Sarah insists on making a lot of noise while having sex with Aldis in the adjoining room to Peter and Rachel, our hero should confound her by being tender with his new girl. But he stridently makes just as much noise, and it's neither funny nor touching.

Oddly, the best thing in the film is a well-cast Brand, who tells wannabe singer/waiter Hill that he did intend to hear the latter's demo CD, but decided to get on with his life. On the other hand, some people might uncharitably suggest that if Brand's the best thing in your film, then your film has problems.

David Quinlan

USA 2008. UK Distributor: Universal. Technicolor.
112 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 2, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 2.

Review date: 20 Apr 2008