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FORGETTING SARAH MARSHALL
Blu-ray Edition

Review by Michael Jacobson

Stars:  Jason Segel, Kristen Bell, Mila Kunis, Russell Brand, Bill Hader
Director:  Nicholas Stoller
Audio:  DTS HD 5.1
Video:  Anamorphic Widescreen 1.85:1
Studio:  Universal
Features:  See Review
Length:  112 Minutes
Release Date:  September 30, 2008

“I’m off to find the mythical clitoris…”

 

Film ***1/2

Judd Apatow seems to have the magic touch when it comes to turning raunchy adult comedy into box office gold.  The 40-Year-Old Virgin was a scream, as was Knocked Up, but Forgetting Sarah Marshall might be the funniest of them all.

It was written by Jason Segel of How I Met Your Mother fame, and his witty, constantly funny look at love, sex, surfing and really bad shirts might signal the arrival of a new comedic giant.  Or at least one who isn’t afraid to show his shortcomings for an extra laugh.

He plays Peter Bretter, a guy who writes music for TV shows but dreams of bigger things.  He’s dating the beautiful Sarah Marshall (Bell), star of one of those assembly line cop dramas called “Crime Scene”, which Peter writes the ‘mood music’ for.  But all is not well…after five years of life together, Sarah has found a new love, the eccentric and self-centered British rock star Aldous Snow (the hysterical Brand).

Peter is broken hearted, but decides on the advice of his brother (Hader) to visit Hawaii, only to find two things:  one, Sarah has come there with Aldous for a romantic getaway, and two, the bright-eyed hotel desk clerk Rachel (Kunis), who might just be what he’s been looking for.

The setup is brilliant…a broken hearted man trapped on the most romantic island on earth with his ex-lover and her new boyfriend?  It’s fraught with possibilities, which Segel’s script mines for much comedic gold.  Other characters, such as Paul Rudd as a fried surfing instructor who can’t seem to remember much from one day to the nex,t and a clean cut young man who finds that his conservative wife is a bit insane when it comes to the bedroom keep the laughs coming fast and hard.

The movie successfully juggles a few stories and characters, which might not have worked, but Segel’s screenplay and the terrific cast of actors make for an appealing flight of folly that keeps us grinning and enjoying ourselves throughout.  It’s grounded in a real enough situation to make all the laughs, no matter how out there or implausible, hit somewhere close to the heart, by passing through the funny bone first.

I hope there’s more from Jason Segel as a writer in the future…safe to say, Judd Apatow will stay safely in the producer’s chair for some time to come.  Forgetting Sarah Marshall is a delightfully funny adult comedy that aims constantly high and rarely misses.

Video ****

What do you expect with the combination of Blu-ray and Hawaiian settings?  Exactly what you get:  gorgeous visual images made even more beautiful with high definition.  The beaches and surf look crisp, colorful, and so lifelike you’ll want to grab your trunks, but the level of detail is equal in both indoor and outdoor settings and in all levels of light.  Superb!

Audio ****

The DTS HD soundtrack is surprisingly viable for a comedy…there are musical scenes, ambient beach sounds, and crowds that really open up the listening experience.  In fact, the way some of the waves rumbled and crashed, I actually turned to my girlfriend and commented on how strong the bass signal was.  Yeah, I’m such a geek, but this is a terrific high definition audio offering.

Features ****

This is a loaded disc, starting with Universal’s exclusive Blu-ray “U-Control” feature, that allows you to choose what you want to see while you watch the movie.  Want to watch the cast and crew while they do their commentary?  Want to see some extra interviews or behind the scenes footage?  Heck, want to sing karaoke to six of the songs in the film?  You’re just one click in and out.

There are also 11 deleted/extended scenes, a gag reel, three clip collections called ‘drunk-o-rama’, ‘sex-o-rama’ and ‘line-o-rama’, video diaries, a red bar trailer, Aldous’ music video and a look at the casting of Russell Brand in the role, and my personal favorite, extra footage from “Crime Scene” and promos for the new Sarah Marshall shows.  Hilarious stuff…the extras are almost as much fun as the movie!

Summary:

Forgetting Sarah Marshall is as memorable as comedies come.  Kudos to writer and star Jason Segel for delivering a furiously funny film that makes for one of the year’s most popular movies as well as one of the best Blu-ray offerings.

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