Jason Segel makes ‘Forgetting Sarah Marshall’ tough to do

Knowing that Forgetting Sarah Marshall is a Judd Apatow film, one might expect just another typical romantic comedy that gets most of its laughs from sexual humor.

Although Forgetting Sarah Marshall fits that description, its heartfelt storyline develops it into something deeper. Setting it apart from Apatow’s similar works, including Knocked Up and The 40-Year-Old Virgin, this film was actually written by leading man Jason Segel, a recurring star in Apatow’s productions. His character Peter Bretter is a television composer for the show in which his (soon to be ex-) girlfriend Sarah Marshall stars.

The film starts out with Sarah dumping Peter after five years of dating. Utterly heartbroken, Peter thinks life as he knows it is over. Stepbrother Brian (Bill Hader from Saturday Night Live) suggests Peter get away for a while, and Peter chooses Hawaii, a place Sarah had always wanted to go. Big surprise, Peter ends up going to the same hotel Sarah and her new boyfriend are staying at, meaning Peter has to spend his vacation being tortured by seeing the couple together and inevitably running into them.

Hilarity ensues, but it isn’t all about witty jokes and ridiculous situations. It’s the timeless tale of being rejected by the person you thought was “the one,” only to realize later that they were not so perfect after all. Most people can relate, so Segel’s character really draws you in and makes you root for him.

One thing’s for sure: The movie’s winning combination of a heartwarming script as well as a talented cast – including Veronica Mars’ Kristin Bell and That 70’s Show’s Mila Kunis – and crew produced impressive results.

If you don’t mind the raunchiness of several full frontal nudity shots of Segel within the first 10 minutes, Forgetting Sarah Marshall is definitely worth seeing. You might not go quite so far as to agree with some critics who hail it as the “funniest film of the year,” but you can be certain that Segel’s first attempt as a screenwriter is anything but amateur. Perhaps Segel has found his true calling. Whether it’s on the screen or on the page, expect to see more of his work in the future.

Erin Butherus may be contacted at e.butherus@umiami.edu.