Sunday, 31 May 2009

The Thin White Dude's Reviews - Forgetting Sarah Marshall

Another comedy from the stable that brought you Superbad, Knocked Up, The 40 Year Old Virgin et al. As a comedy coming from such great modern examples (Superbad in particular) of comedy, this has a lot on its shoulders. However, a movie should be judged upon its own merits (or lack of) rather than being compared to those similar to it. And with that comment in mind, does Forgetting Sarah Marshall stand up well? The answer is sort of. Now, I know that I am contradicting myself already (to a degree), but this kind of comedy will wear thin soon, and the team writing this stuff clearly need to think of better scripts, because new ideas working around the same old stuff is not going to work. For example, I found none of the characters particularly lovable or sympathetic (although some were not meant to be), even Jason Segel as the protagonist Peter, who always seems to be constantly exasperated. Also, the eponymous Sarah Marshall, played by Kristen Bell, is a very boring character who to be perfectly honest I just thought was a bit of a twit. Even Russel Brand, who has been getting all the plaudits for acting in this film, is underwhelming, giving a very generic performance which is essentially filler. Only Mila Kunis as Rachel gave a satisfying performance, adding depth to a character who while getting a good amount of screen time, remains very much out of the spotlight. The script of the film is okay, in that it does garner a good number of gags, but same standard as has been set for in In Bruges, a couple of good gags and ideas does not complete a script, and this falls even further than In Bruges in that respect. In this film, there are some moments in which there is just some excess filler which essentially makes you want to go to sleep. The director Nicholas Stoller does a decent job of keeping things under control, but let's face it is essentially another one of the Apatow puppets. One thing that must be credited in this film is the cinematography. Now, I know Hawaii makes itself and that this isn't the kind of thing you talk about in a comedy, but even more so than the rest of the Apatow stable, it looks very well and captures the action in the film greatly. Also worthy of credit is the Dracula song/play which Jason Segel's character attempts composing. This is what I mean regarding this film. I am crediting little gags. I know this sounds like a very critical review but I did genuinely enjoy this film to a degree. I thought that some of it was very funny, the cinematography looked good, Mila Kunis looked good and acted good, but the fact of the matter is that if you offer us the Pringle box, you give us the box and not some of it. A film needs to be a perfect composit of the elements, and frankly, this does not work. I found it very underwhelming at stages, the characters to be very boring and unsympathetic, and Russell Brand, as funny as he is at times outside of this film, is essentially an English dude going "All right" throughout the entire film. I can't remember any other line he said. I think if given a good role, he would do it well, but good lord, it is merely like watching an offspring of himself. One thing I am interested in is that I have heard that a spin-off, with him and Jonah Hill reprising their roles from this film as the leads is in the works, and maybe the lead role alongside Hill, who has proved himself ample under the guidance of Apatow, is what he needs. But, Sarah Marshall, half a cake, an ok film.

The Thin White Dude's Prognosis - 6.2/10

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