Forgetting Sarah Marshall  was a successful plan by writer/star Jason Segel to make out with both Kristen Bell and Mila Kunis—a fine agenda for anyone in life. In Director Nicholas Stoller’s film, produced by adult comedy gurus Judd Apatow and Shauna Robertson, Segel stops and lurches his way through the grieving process in an alternate version of Hawaii where everyone is absolutely hilarious.
Sad tissues. There is a feeling on the first days of spring where, even in the middle of one’s workday, a vacation seems to be opening. The weather gentles and the temperature have not yet risen above mild. There on the island of Hawaii, Segel works his torn brain through a severe separation, yet everything always feels well. Of course, it’s a paradise, that’s why he’s there. But it is always within his capacity to feel well, even as obstacles crowd all around him.
Happy tissues. Vulgar but low-key, exaggerated but gentle, the comedy of Forgetting Sarah Marshall is quieter and less bombastic than most R-rated comedies, which tend to celebrate their unrestrained humor with crude loudness. But here the loudest things are the audience reactions. Punchlines are muttered; reaction shots are wide; editing is unobtrusive. Even the audacious Russell Brand, ripping priceless seams into the expectations of any audience member, delivers his gut-busting lines under the radar. And maybe Kunis and Bell aren’t exactly given poetry to perform, but in between lines, their faces hover and flow through and between emotions with notable naturalism. That doesn’t have much to do with the film’s soft-edge joke delivery but where the hell else was it going to go.