I went to see Forgetting Sarah Marshall this afternoon; I think I found it funnier than the dozen-or-so people I shared the auditorium with, but it was somewhat hard to tell. Jason Segel doesn’t range too far away from the ground tread by Marshall Erickson, his character on the sitcom How I Met Your Mother, but he’s stretched more in the past—most notably as the creepy sorta-ex-boyfriend on Judd Apatow’s under-appreciated masterpiece series Undeclared—while Kristen Bell has a bit of fun spoofing both herself (try not to think of Pulse while she describes a particularly awful piece of Sarah Marshall’s œvre) and the “CSI” genre with Billy Baldwin and (briefly) Jason Bateman. On the Apatow scale, I’d rank it pretty highly; my current ranking runs something like:
- The 40-Year-Old Virgin
- Walk Hard (tie)
Forgetting Sarah Marshall (tie)
Talladega Nights (tie)
- Knocked Up (which I found amusing but not hilarious)
- Anchorman (which I really didn’t get at all)
Considering that the top five movies on that list are among the ten funniest movies of the past decade, that’s hardly a bad list for FSM to be on.
The other thing I’d note is that clearly Segel has most heterosexual guys’ dream job. He gets to make out with Mila Kunis and Kristen Bell in the same movie, and he gets to make out with Alyson Hannigan every week. Personally I’d try to figure out a way to get that job without having to go full frontal in two scenes, but I suppose sacrifices must be made.
Also, Ezra Klein quibbles with part of the ending of the film. Potential minor spoilers follow:
I tend to disagree; it’s pretty clear that neither character (Peter or Sarah) is particularly saintly, and I don’t think Peter really gains any “vengeance” against her character at the end. Rather, she ends up in about the place that Peter starts the movie at—and that’s more a small comeuppance deserved within the parameters of the plot than vengeance. I don’t think it undercuts her character; instead it points out the symmetry of their situations and underscores the ultimate message of the movie, which of course is that sleeping with Mila Kunis will help anyone get over a breakup.