It may have taken all semester, but a film has finally been released that’s not only worth seeing, but worth buying as soon as it hits store shelves. The latest Judd Apatow-produced comedy, “Forgetting Sarah Marshall,” is poised to be his next big hit. Given the lack of quality films lately, “Marshall” is a much-needed godsend for cinema-goers.
When television music composer Peter Bretter (Jason Segel) is dumped by his TV star girlfriend, Sarah Marshall (Kristen Bell), his life gets turned upside down. No matter what he does, he’s always reminded of Marshall, who’s now cozying up to rocker Aldous Snow (Russell Brand). Desperate for some relief, he takes a friend’s advice and goes to Hawaii. But when he arrives, he runs into Marshall in the hotel lobby. Not wanting to look like a coward, he decides to stay and is forced to face his break-up with Marshall while learning how to have fun again.
Unlike many comedies which cram all of their laughs into the first 15 minutes, “Marshall” paces its humor perfectly. You’re always laughing at something, regardless of what’s going on. Even during the most awkward moments, which happen to be some of the funniest, you’ll always have a smile on your face.
“Marshall” works so well because of an exceptionally strong script. It’s quick, witty and hilarious. Best of all, it’s realistic, and the fact that the absurd scenarios were written with such believable dialogue is a feat many comedies haven’t pulled off. What’s even more impressive about the script is that it was written entirely by Segel, whose snappy, sharp and sometimes subtle sense of humor encourages audiences to see the film twice. You’ll be laughing so hard in some scenes that you’ll miss the next couple lines — the script is that well done. The situations the characters find themselves in are relatable, giving the film that down-to-earth feel, despite raunchy language and random full-frontal male nudity.
The characters are also realistic. They are fleshed out, deep individuals who fit their roles perfectly. After months of terrible horror films, it feels weird, yet refreshing, to actually care about characters. When they do something good, you’ll find yourself cheering for them. And when they walk head first into a disastrous situation, you’ll roll your eyes and curse them under your breath.
For a comedy, the acting was very impressive. I was a little worried when I heard that Segel would be the lead actor, but he was able to carry this film as if he’s been leading films for years. And Bell plays off of him perfectly. In fact, the entire ensemble did an amazing job. No one overacts or underperforms, impressive for such a large cast.
The only downside is that with so many actors, some of the better talents are a bit underused. Comedians Jonah Hill and Paul Rudd, while having hilarious roles, are basically boiled down to cameos, instead of being full-fledged supporting actors. While it was nice to see other actors get a shot, Rudd just may be one of the best comedic actors working today, so I was a bit disappointed to see him used so little. If both he and Hill had just a little more screen time, this problem would have been solved, and they would have actually strengthened the film.
But it’s not like “Marshall” really needs any sort of boost to its already outstanding performances. In fact, it doesn’t really need much of anything else. As it stands, this is easily the best film released this year, and is going to be hard to top in terms of comedy.