In Which Forgetting Sarah Marshall Resurrects The Rom Com Corpse

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The Sweet Whisper of Romance

by Rebecca Wiener

Forgetting Sarah Marshall

1 hr 51 minutes

dir. Nicholas Stoller

First of all, I was supposed to have written this post weeks ago. I was super busy changing my life, so I apologize to those of you who were forced to form opinions about this film on your own.

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love the ecstasy tattoo, i want one nowsy

The romantic comedy is in its death throes. It was once a noble form, beginning with A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and onto The Philadelphia Story and Singing in the Rain, Tootsie and Annie Hall—even When Harry Met Sally elicits respectful nods from both he and she filmies. But in the past couple decades, the genre has taken some hard hits to the groin (see: Music and Lyrics and 27 Dresses). Whisper “rom com” now and a face scrunches up in disgust somewhere in the world.

So thank you, Jason Segel, for attempting to revive the romantic comedy with Forgetting Sarah Marshall. (It’s probably no accident Segel is involved in the genius TV series that is currently resuscitating the situation comedy, How I Met Your Mother.)

Segel wrote the film (all by himself!) and stars in Forgetting Sarah Marshall, a movie about Peter, a sad sack who goes to Hawaii and finds his will to live in Mila Kunis’s tiny cleavage.

“Ghosts” – Laura Marling (mp3)

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the look of a man hoping for implants

You remember Jason Segel, the tall, lumbering actor from Apatow golden nuggets Freaks and Geeks, Undeclared and Knocked Up—he was the one with the “I’m hot, but not so hot that I won’t talk to ugly girls” vibe. Forgetting Sarah Marshall is Segel’s first screenplay and the writer/actor steals talent from his mentor (Paul Rudd is a spaced-out surf instructor; Jonah Hill is a drooling restaurant host) and remembers the golden rule of gross-out.

There are four full-frontal penis shots which collectively confused me so much, I couldn’t figure out how to mention them before this point in the review.

“One Day You’re Here” – Underground Kings (mp3)

The softer, more sensitive Segel diverges from the Apatow path a bit, sketching out some female characters that are actually humanoid and occasionally chuckle-worthy.

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a scene from knocked up superbad drillbit taylor this movie

And unlike Knocked Up and Superbad, the most compelling relationship in Sarah Marshall isn’t between two dudes who totally get each other; it’s the one between old pathetic Peter (through the glassy blue eyes of his ex Sarah Marshall) and new hopeful Peter (projected by the ambiguously ethnic Mila Kunis). That’s why this is a romantic comedy that works.

In Pretty Woman, Vivian wanted Edward, a classy guy who made her feel like Silda, not Ashley Alexandra. Roberts and Gere’s later cinematic coupling, Runaway Bride, was a sad satire of the classic rom com: The ham-fisted film spelled out that Roberts’ character jumped from fiancée to fiancée because she wanted to be the kind of girl who eats bbq one day, and the kind that climbs mountains the next.

That’s not transformation; it’s the emotional equivalent of buying a new pair of shoes because you saw LC wearing them on The Hills.

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paul rudd undergoing a de niro-like transformation for this important role

“Annie Let’s Not Wait” – Guillemots (mp3)

In Manhattan, Isaac didn’t want to be the guy who feeds on youth anymore and left Tracey for a more challenging union with Mary. Then, of course, he realized he preferred old, competent Isaac who could tell a little girl how life is. It’s a different lesson, but you get what I’m saying.

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kelso!

So in summation, pay no attention to the terribly annoying posters for this movie in the subway. It’s a charming and well-written piece of entertainment, and the first genuine romantic comedy in years. Also, for the guys: there are a lot of boobs and noisy sex. Also some physical pain, which I know you like. Enjoy!

Rebecca Wiener is the former senior editor to This Recording. She’s now all like jigga what and yells at me on gchat and is a free spirit like in the 60s or something. She lives in Park Slope.

PREVIOUSLY ON THIS RECORDING

a real sarah marshall, victim of a h8 crime

Best of former TR legend Becky:

An adolescence for the ages.

Julia for beginners.

Good business is the best art.

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6 thoughts on “In Which Forgetting Sarah Marshall Resurrects The Rom Com Corpse

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