Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008)
July 31, 2022 11:30 AM - Subscribe

Struggling musician Peter Bretter (Jason Segel) is better-known as the boyfriend of TV star Sarah Marshall (Kristen Bell). After she unceremoniously dumps him, he feels lost and alone but makes a last-ditch bid to get over it by going to Hawaii. However, she and her new boyfriend (Russell Brand) are there in the same hotel.

Written by Jason Segel, produced by Judd Apatow, and directed by Nicholas Stiller. Also starring Mila Kunis, Bill Hader, Jack McBrayer, Jonah Hill, Paul Rudd, Taylor Wily, and Da'Vone McDonald.

Rated 83% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.

Currently streaming in the US on Peacock Premium and for digital rental on various outlets.
posted by DirtyOldTown (27 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
*Stoller not Stiller. Damn you, autocorrect.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 11:32 AM on July 31, 2022

I think a lot about the Dracula puppet musical. For real.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 11:45 AM on July 31, 2022 [11 favorites]

I haven't seen this since it came out, but I remember thinking at the time that I saw it that Jason Segel's performance was one of the most realistic depictions of depression I'd ever seen in a movie. I wonder if I'd still feel that way.
posted by potrzebie at 11:59 AM on July 31, 2022

I remember liking this. Segel's lament about the state of TV soundtrack music - "It's all just ominous tones" - is something I say a lot while watching tv.
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 3:45 PM on July 31, 2022 [4 favorites]

I love this movie. Too bad about Russell Brand.
posted by Literaryhero at 5:18 PM on July 31, 2022

Really? I think Russell Brand kind of was the perfect person you wanted to hate but had no real reason to.
posted by geoff. at 6:38 PM on July 31, 2022

Surprisingly not bad! And yeah, Segel's depiction of depression could be a big part of it.
posted by rhizome at 8:08 PM on July 31, 2022

I remember seeing this and thinking, wow Jason Segel is really talented.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 8:57 PM on July 31, 2022 [1 favorite]

Check out the decidedly anti-macho "I Love You, Man" for another good Segel role.
posted by rhizome at 1:36 AM on August 1, 2022 [2 favorites]

Really? I think Russell Brand kind of was the perfect person you wanted to hate but had no real reason to.

Ah, sorry. He is great in this and Get Him to the Greek. I meant too bad he became a whack job.
posted by Literaryhero at 2:04 AM on August 1, 2022 [5 favorites]

Hands down one of the best comedies of the 2000's. Pretty much every line from Paul Rudd's bit part is instantly quotable. The weather outside is weatherrr...
posted by windbox at 6:37 AM on August 1, 2022 [2 favorites]

I avoided this movie when it first came out, as it didn't sound appealing. I've since watched it many times, and it's on television a lot, so I also catch bits of it here and there. It holds up quite well, and it really just a nice movie to watch. The characters feel like real people doing the best they can at this point in time. Even Russell Brand's character is just living his best shallow life.

Yes, seconding I Love You, Man as well...
posted by hydra77 at 12:51 PM on August 1, 2022

I enjoy watching this film, and I think its pretty funny. I also think this piece from tiger beatdown is a very accurate summary of its issues. The portrayal of women in this film is pretty misogynistic.

This is, of course, not the only film of this style to suffer from this. I think Knocked Up is pretty bad, and 40 year old Virgin is probably worse when it comes to portraying women.
posted by Cannon Fodder at 2:58 PM on August 1, 2022 [1 favorite]

The tiger beatdown article came off as kind of creepy fawning for Kristen Bell. That said, while Apatowian (Aptadeluvian?) movies of that era all kind of came across as misogynist (and Knocked Up, 40 Year Old Virgin have separate problems), the premise of the movie is to get us to sympathize with Segel's character and hate Kristen Bell in span of a movie. It relied on some bad tropes to do so but pretty much all film and television has to rely on obvious things as the subtleties of why relationships fail frankly make for boring storytelling.

If the author doesn't like how Kristen Bell is treated in this movie he or she shouldn't watch Kristen Bell's role in Deadwood.
posted by geoff. at 4:25 PM on August 1, 2022 [2 favorites]

I'm not sure I agree with your premis Geoff; I think it would have been possible to make this film without Sarah being actually evil, as the film ends up characterising her, and having her humiliated. In fact, as Tiger Beatdown's article indicates, it actually gives her a line which points to actual problems in their relationship! It's a comedy, sure, but I don't really see the harm in a conclusion where both the protagonist and his ex end up coming to a healthy conclusion. I would have liked the film more if it has done so.
posted by Cannon Fodder at 8:39 AM on August 2, 2022

The breaker-upper usually ends up looking bad from the perspective of the breakup-ee.
posted by kirkaracha at 9:28 AM on August 2, 2022 [1 favorite]

Wow, that Tiger Beat article is such a specific strain of annoying 2009 blog post, in which every aspect of a movie is picked apart in the most uncharitable way possible masquerading as some kind of snarky feminist critique. I mean look, there's a valid point to be made about pretty much any Apatow production's portrayal of female leads, and that the movie definitely takes the easy road in casting Sarah Marshall not just as an ex girlfriend who broke things off for valid reasons, but also a cartoonish psycho cheater. But then there's just weird shit like this blog, which seems to be "SO MAD I THREW STUFF AT THE TV" because...Mila Kunis is not outright walking out on a date...with a music composer...because he harbors a dream to write a musical about Dracula? Mad because...Mila Kunis asks follow up questions rather than ask him if he "has back up plans" (also hey dumbass in the previous scene they talk about how he has steady work on a network TV show, why would she ask this?).

Dracula Musical is maybe my favorite part of the damn movie. The *whole point* of Dracula Musical is that a) it's a pretty weird Avenue Q style project that Peter is too scared to pull the trigger on because he's too depressed and too stuck to even realize it can be a comedy and b) The Dracula Musical is not for everyone! This is very clearly conveyed when he performs at the bar and it's received with confusion by almost everyone except for a few folks including Kunis, who seem to genuinely find it kind of rad, and funny! Mila Kunis eye's are not "fathomless pools of tolerance" for a "dumb idea", she just thinks it's genuinely kinda hot that this guy who hates his day job making ominous tones is being vulnerable and has some actual creative ambitions. Seems like pretty normal character development to's not like he ends up taking the Dracula Musical to broadway with universal acclaim and Sarah Marshall is the one dumb harpy who never believed him; it ends up being an alt-comedy at a little indie theater in LA. That's the whole point, Dracula Musical is not mainstream! It's a specific flavor and Peter was searching for approval on it from the wrong places.
posted by windbox at 1:20 PM on August 2, 2022 [5 favorites]

Apatowian (Aptadeluvian?)

posted by iamkimiam at 2:17 PM on August 3, 2022

every aspect of a movie is picked apart in the most uncharitable way possible masquerading as some kind of snarky feminist critique.

YES. Although if anything I think this sort of thing was just getting started in 2009 and has become much more widespread since. Bad faith, zero-empathy "feminist" snark is a boil on the internet's ass.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 4:11 PM on August 3, 2022 [2 favorites]

Ah, I am glad to read this thread. I am not overly enamoured with the way women are portrayed in Apatow movies but I think they are generally funny and well-made movies which leave you with a nice feeling and especially when the rest of your life is kind of stressful, those kind of movies are a balm. One thing I like about movies like this is that the side characters (protagonists' friends, family etc) are written with verve; the movies feel textured, like you're really entering into the main characters' lives.

There is a delicate balance the movie tries to tread between treating the side characters as stereotypes and treating them as real people. There's of course Sarah Marshall. And then there is Rachel. I really like Mila Kunis, I think she is a good comedienne and comes across as really likeable, but to me she came across as a tropey 'Cool Girl' character in a few key scenes (manic pixie dreamily jumping into the ocean; 'you don't have to dote on me, Peter, I'm not that type of girl'). But setting those scenes aside, Rachel is written as a real character with a solid backstory, who has taken her time to figure out what she wants from life, and I like how she and Peter bounce off each other. I would have liked her better without those scenes that paint her as a stereotypical 'Cool Girl'.
posted by unicorn chaser at 10:10 AM on August 4, 2022 [1 favorite]

Every time I talk to someone who enjoyed the movie, I try to inform them that on the 1000th episode of Craig Ferguson's talk show, a full version of the song Dracula's Lament (with puppet!) is performed by Jason Segel, backed by a professional band.

I love that song so much, because it's a full four minutes, but also it's a different version of the song.

To me it's so clear that this is the song one year later-- once he's climbing out of depression, and in a stable loving relationship. It's transformed from a song about pain where Jason Segel cries while singing it into just a straight-up sweet love ballad. To my own personal literary criticism/head canon mind, the narrative arc of the movie is completed by this scene that isn't even in the film itself. It's living proof of a happy ending that was earned.

Anyway, I love telling people about that performance. I even went to the trouble of obtaining an MP3 of it back in the days when that was easier to do. It is unironically one of my favorite love songs and has never been off of my phone/iPod/media system since the first day I heard it.
posted by seasparrow at 2:18 PM on August 4, 2022 [4 favorites]

Apatowian (Aptadeluvian?)


Please, let's stop this nonsense. Apatovian.
posted by rhizome at 3:37 PM on August 4, 2022

Apatosaurian, final answer.
posted by iamkimiam at 10:47 PM on August 4, 2022 [1 favorite]

Apatwegian. Like Glaswegian.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 6:10 AM on August 5, 2022 [1 favorite]

My god, seasparrow, I cannot express how much I love that Dracula's Lament video you linked to. I just listened to it at least ten times in a row. This may be my new favorite song of all time. I am jealous of your mp3 version!
posted by silverstatue at 3:18 PM on August 7, 2022 [1 favorite]

I've never seen the entire film, just extended bits on cable, but I saw the Dracula's Lament number on Craig Ferguson's show years ago and it absolutely blew me away. It's such a great performance, I don't even mind that the song has no chorus. (Or... is it all chorus?)

It's even better when you learn that Segel had earnestly wanted to make a Dracula puppet musical for a long time, but everybody he told about it (including Judd Apatow) told him it was a terrible idea. The man just would not let go of this weird, wonderful thing.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 3:56 PM on August 7, 2022 [1 favorite]

It's funny how different folks turned on Russell Brand at different times. Some folks are just getting around to it in the last couple years (like from him saying Alex Jones is "ahead of his time"), others were there eight or ten years ago. I posted Russell Brand's Parklife in 2014 and it made some MeFites big mad, taking potshots at a brave voice, etc.

I think, once upon a time, he mixed in enough things that ostensibly made sense that it was easier to cast a blind eye to the red flags. Definitely not possible to do that anymore.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:05 AM on August 16, 2022

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