Tuesday, 22 April 2008

Apatow scores again

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:

  1. Superbad
  2. The 40-Year-Old Virgin
  3. Walk Hard (tie)
    Forgetting Sarah Marshall (tie)
    Talladega Nights (tie)
  4. Knocked Up (which I found amusing but not hilarious)
  5. 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.

Update: Reader Brian Baggett reviews the film, as does Alan Sepinwall (whose work I’ve enjoyed since his NYPD Blue reviews on Usenet in the 1990s).

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.


Any views expressed in these comments are solely those of their authors; they do not reflect the views of the authors of Signifying Nothing, unless attributed to one of us.

“that’s hardly a bad list for FSM to be on”

Using that acronym is going to get you in trouble with followers of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

May his noodly appendages be praised.

[Permalink] 2. Alfie Sumrall wrote @ Tue, 22 Apr 2008, 11:32 am CDT:

LOVED the movie! Saw it over 21 and glad I did—already knowing that 21 strayed way too far from the book for me to ever rank it any higher than a 6 or 7.

Ok so maybe this is just b/c I saw the movie in Asheville, NC which is a bit (to say the least) more progressive and liberal than other parts of the South, but no one batted an eye or anything when they showed…and showed again…and showed again his wee wee during the first few minutes of the movie. It was just nothing but laughter.

The thing I love about most Apatow movies is how how lets the underdog/normal guy get the hot girl that they’d probably never get in real life (2 times over in Sarah Marshall’s case).



“the underdog/normal guy get the hot girl that they’d probably never get in real life”

My hot wife disagrees and I’m sure your wife would like a word with you…..


SPOILER: In a sense, it’s Sarah Marshall who triumphed (in sort of a Pyrrhic victory) in so far as she got Peter to get off the couch and start living his life… except she couldn’t be a part of his life anymore.

Sometimes in a relationship, the situation defines who you are. If he’d stayed with Sarah, he likely would have stayed in his rut. It was only when he was without either girl that he learned to stand on his own.


Scott—I agree there are instances where that happens and I thank God every day that I’m part of that group, but I’m not sure if even I could swing Kristen Bell and Mila Kunis within a day or two of each other. I’d need at least a week.


Brian — It’s not much of a triumph in my book, although I suppose you could say that’s a Peter triumph facilitated by Sarah or something.


Alfie – In fairness, Jason Segel couldn’t either!

[Permalink] 8. Rick Almeida wrote @ Wed, 23 Apr 2008, 9:38 am CDT:

What didn’t you like/get about Anchorman? If Superbad weren’t so purely made of awesome, Anchorman would easily be on top of my rankings of those movies.

[Permalink] 9. Alfie Sumrall wrote @ Wed, 23 Apr 2008, 10:18 am CDT:

Chris—That’s true; there were a few days where Peter was in “full depression mode,” but he could have just as easily written it where he got the hell out of dodge in the next day or two.


Rick—I just thought it was weird rather than funny. I can’t really explain it.

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