Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008) - Collector's Edition
|Genre(s): Comedy / Romance|
|Universal || Unrated - 118 minutes - $34.98 || September 30, 2008|
|Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2008-10-03|
Writer(s): Jason Segel (written by)
Cast: Jason Segel, Kristen Bell, Mila Kunis, Russell Brand
Theatrical Release Date: April 18, 2008
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Note: This is a review of the unrated version.
No question Judd Apatow is the new master in Hollywood comedy. He has spawned the careers of Seth Rogen (Knocked Up), Michael Cera (Superbad), Jonah Hill (debuted as “eBay Customer” in 40YOV) and even Steve Carell — although he was already semi-established before The 40-Year-Old Virgin — and now he’s done it again. Taking on the producing role again, Apatow has plucked another supporting actor in his universe with Jason Segel (from Knocked Up).
Segel plays Peter, a broken man whose actress girlfriend, Sarah Marshall (Bell; Pulse), recently split up with him for another guy. The two were together for 5 years and knew each other through a hit TV series called “Crime Scene”, which Sarah starred in and Peter composed the creepy/dark score. After moping around in a miserable state, and sleeping with numerous women, step-brother Brian (Hader; Superbad) convinces Peter to take a vacation. Peter decides to go to Hawaii and stay at a resort he and Sarah always talked about. Obviously you can see where this is going: Peter runs into Sarah who is with her new beau, cheesy rock star Aldous Snow (Brand).
In all honesty, as much as I’ve enjoyed some of Judd Apatow’s movies (producing or directing), the ones that have been popular and have a sort of cult following even with box office success, I never found many of them to be “hilarious” per se. I liked Knocked Up and The 40-Year-Old Virgin because while still being funny they both had heart at its center. And in the vein of those two films, Forgetting Sarah Marshall works in the same way.
If you look at the Apatow-produced movies that found box office success versus those who, well, tumbled, at the core is a story that everyone can relate to in one way or another. Obviously not everyone has had a one-night stand get pregnant as in Knocked Up, but it’s something that is relatable with the characters and add in that the jokes are actually funny, you’ve got a winner. But outside a couple missteps (Drillbit Taylor and Walk Hard – even though I liked that movie), Apatow knows how to pick them on the big and small screen (“Freaks and Geeks”, “Undeclared”).
I think what else works is the everyday guy performance by Jason Segel. Like Rogen before, Segel is an Apatow graduate appearing in last year’s Knocked Up. As it has been mentioned in the special features, Segel also wrote the screenplay and much of the situations that occurred happened in real life (breakup after 5-year relationship; writing a Dracula musical), which goes to why it could be relatable to the general audience.
The cast on the whole is great. Kristen Bell balances her part between being unlikeable enough that we feel sorry for Segel’s character but not a complete caricature of so many beeyotches in romantic comedies. Mila Kunis, who I absolutely prefer over Bell personally, plays up the rebound with a cuteness that would make anyone forget about their ex. And Russell Brad is, well, Russell Brad. I’m not a big fan of his comedy and while he’s basically playing himself (maybe a little more shallow), he is playing a character the absolutely helps develop both Sarah and Peter.
Forgetting Sarah Marshall may not be the comedy gold I expected and not up to the level of 40YOV or Knocked Up, it is still a funny movie with heart at its core. Be warned that the crude humor might not appeal to some, but if you enjoy the other Apatow comedies, you’ll certainly love this entry.
The movie was directed by Nicholas Stoller (debut) and has a spin off called Get Him to the Greek starring Russell Brad as Aldous Snow. Also, look out for appearances from Apatow-ites Paul Rudd, Jonah Hill and Carla Gallo in another memorable small part (previously playing ‘Toe-Sucking Girl’ and ‘Period Blood Girl’).
My oh my has Apatow and Co. done it again, they are taking on top dog Kevin Smith for releasing some of the best special features on DVD.
* - “Collector’s Edition” DVD and Blu-ray Only
Feature Commentary – Although Apatow is strangely missing, this track includes director Nick Stoller, Executive Producer Rodney Rothman, Producer Shauna Robertson, Writer/Star Jason Segal and Cast Members Mila Kunis, Russell Brand and Jack McBrayer (over the phone) and Kristen Bell does chime in later via cell phone. The track is pretty well balanced between being informational and entertainment as they share stories on the set and Segal explains how some situations are based on stuff that has happened in real life. A rated commentary is also available for the theatrical version.
Deleted/Extended Scenes and More Deleted/Extended Scenes* (19:29) – A total of 11 scenes comprise of many deleted footage that are well placed on the cutting room floor. It’s still appreciated, though a short introduction on the more important one’s would’ve been nice to explain why they were removed (other than pacing).
Gag Reel (5:44), Line-O-Rama (7:49), Sex-O-Rama* (2:43), Drunk-O-Rama* (2:30) – These are almost a staple on an Apatow DVD where the cast goes through different lines over and over that are sometimes hilarious. And the gag reel is filled with the normal line flubs.
“Dracula’s Lament” Table Read (3:17) – The cast and crew sit around a table as Jason Segal performs his Dracula song using a keyboard. Pretty simple, but I actually wouldn’t have minded the entire table read here...
“A Taste for Love” (6:17) – This is a making-of for the puppet musical that Jason Segal really did write in real life. The puppets were created by Jim Henson’s Company and training the actors how to synch the mouth with words.
Raw Footage – Video Chat (7:14), Raw Footage – Hotel Lobby* (9:07) – The Video Chat “Raw Footage” was pretty funny before getting old while Hotel Lobby was just more of the same, but less enjoyable. The difference between these and the “O-Rama” is it is uncut with the actors coming up with different lines and trying new things.
Video Diaries (35:00) – Broken up by production days, these informal diaries provide interviews with the cast and crew as they film in Hawaii. Quite fun from beginning to end, it is worth watching.
Odds and ends: Russell Brand: Aldous Snow (5:54) gives the background on the character and finally casting Brand and changing the character from a British writer to a singer; The Letter “U” (3:52) is a spoof on “Sesame Street” with Aldous Snow singing about the letter U with a bunch of kids; Crime Scene (4:12) features alternate takes and line-o-ramas for the show within the movie that Sarah Marshall stars on along with Daniel Baldwin; Sarah’s New Show (2:16) are a few alternate takes on new series, co-starring Jason Bateman to debut on NBC – absolutely hilarious; and Puppet Breakup (2:30) is just the breakup scene using puppets.
Last is the Red Band Trailer (2:55) and Music Video (3:47) for “We’ve Got to do Something”.
Only available in this “Collector’s Edition” and NOT on the Blu-ray version:
“Dracula’s Lament” (Mixed Version) (2:19) – This is just some extended footage from the movie as Peter practices his Dracula song.
Auditions (15:34) – The audition footage includes Kristen Bell, Mila Kunis, Russell Brand, Jack McBrayer and Maria Thayer. I always find these a little awkward to watch for some reason, but it’s a side you don’t often get to see.
Cinemax Final Cut (16:25) – Funny and all too short, this is a sit down with members of the cast and crew: director Nick Stoller, producer Judd Apatow and cast members Jason Segal, Kristen Bell, Russell Brand and Bill Hader on location in Hawaii.
And the aforementioned Raw Footage – Aidous and Peter in Hotel Lobby (9:07) rounds things out. Why none of these were included on the Blu-ray, I don’t know. Doesn’t make much sense.
On disc three (in a paper sleeve) is the digital copy of the rated version.
.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.
Forgetting Sarah Marshall is presented in anamorphic widescreen with a 1.85 OAR. Overall it looks like a fine transfer as I didn’t notice any sort of dust or general graininess. The Hawaiian colors aren’t overly saturated and skin tones seem to be good.
Rating comedies in the audio department is a little difficult and, unless there’s some huge flaw, doesn’t matter quite as much compared to films with even a little action. In any case, Universal provides Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks in English, French and Spanish. All in all it sounds very good with crisp dialogue and the score coming through nicely.
Even though Forgetting Sarah Marshall wasn’t as hilarious as I had expected, it does have the heart and soul that made Knocked Up and The 40-Year-Old Virgin so good and memorable. Apatow & Co. have struck gold again with a new star to go along with Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill, Michael Cena, etc, etc, etc. But Apatow isn’t only going after the comedy crown either, he’s also battling Kevin Smith for releasing some of the best DVDs ever and that trend continues here.