Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Forgetting Sarah Marshall....

So I have to admit that I am completely bias when it comes to anything Apatown as you may have already learned dear readers. I fell in love with all things Apatow back when I first got hooked onto the genius teen series Freaks and Geeks. I am quite aware of the part that others have made in the goldmine that is Apatown, but since he sang "Lady" to Lindsay Weir Jason Segel was always been the anticipated breakout star from the series in my mind. Segel has the charm and looks of the leading men in silly romantic comedies from the 1980's with the pop of now. He is an affable goof, who you know you could trust with your car and would laugh with you until the wee hours, yet would be insanely romantic and make you mix tapes and all the other cheesy crap us chickadees like. And while Seth Rogen and Steve Carrell were the first real breakouts from the troupe, Segel waited for the appropriate time to knock something out of the park and shine, which is what he did with "Forgetting Sarah Marshall". The romantic comedy about the heartbreak of love ended is a perfect vehicle to introduce the mainstream moviegoers to this inevitable star.

The film, based in Los Angeles and Hawaii, focuses on a somewhat familiar twenty-something who works a day job he can't stand, yet gets paid well enough not to quit and do what he really wants to do. Its the modern day saga for us who grew up in the overstimulated and overpraised generation of kids (i.e. those of us born after 1975 and before 1985). Peter Bretter (Segel) lets his self loathing ways get in between him and his on the way up the red carpet quasi-celebrity girlfriend, Sarah Marshall, played effortlessly by Kristen Bell, and in the first ten minutes of the movie we not only see Segel full frontal nude, but we also see his character lose any sort of dignity that was left. We watch as a couple breaks up and Peter life fully crumble. He does what any other normal human does, goes out and tries to sleep with as many people to remove the idea that he ever loved, yet no luck. Its pretty hard to remove a cute celebrity girlfriend from your head, so he makes the mistake of traveling to Hawaii to clear his mind, with the half ass approval of his step brother, played by Bill Heder of SNL fame. Peter shuffles up to the retreat his ex Sarah discussed on multiple occasions and wouldn't you know it, she is there with her new boyfriend,Aldous Snow a skeezy version of Noel Gallagher mixed with an unskeezy version of Pete Doherty, played by the hysterical Russell Brand. Running interference is the concierge with the best tan I have ever seen, Rachel Jensen, played by Mila Kunis. By the by, this is the first of what needs to be many adult/mature roles to come to Mila and she stole so many scenes and played the part incredibly organically. What happens next, Sarah figuring out the rocker type isn't faithful, Rachel falling for a guest and Peter finally picking up his balls and putting them back in his pants happens fluidly and represents my generation so well.

The supporting cast helps develop the main characters, but were probably my least favorite parts of the film. But the main core of the film is a situation anyone can find themselves in. Our generation has a plethora of choices around us and for most, the familiar as slogan of Nike in the back of our heads about just doing it. We have found ourselves supported in even the lamest of the arts, that its okay to just wander about, searching for your course in life and that being "tied down" too young doesn't have to be an option. The film focused, as many do in Apatown, on "lost" people. These are not losers. They are not lepers, rejects who have not been asked to move to caves yet, they are normal archetypes of regular people searching for meaning, love, life and purpose. Apatown just finds the comedic genius behind it all. He is able to pinpoint that moment when we all know that we have to grow up and evolve, yet we piss and moan about it. What was also done masterfully was the underlying competition between Sarah and Rachel, which was mainly a battle for Peter's heart. But what was great was that it showcased the backhanded compliments and sheer competition women go through and yet willingly participate in every day. This point could not be illustrated better than the awkward dinner between Peter and his new lady Rachel and bitter Sarah and hilarious Russell Brand. Sarah puts down living on Hawaii and Rachel comes right back with mocking the Hollywood lifestyle, and just the seemingly innocent chatter goes right over the men's heads at the table. Scenes like this could be why feminists are whining about this and the Apatown troupe being a bit anti-lady. I still don't see anything that could possibly deem that close to the truth in any film.

For Segel, this movie cemented his ability to bring down Tom Hanks as the rom-com golden boy. It has also allowed us to view the heartbreak of men in relationships as valid and real. Tonight, I watched "How I Met Your Mother" and realized that Nick Andopolis can easily steal anyone's heart and he surely stole mine. I can not wait for the next installment in this very funny and affable actor's career. And if you can't guess, I recommend this movie for anyone out there who likes to laugh and doesn't mind a few up close penis shots.