Thursday, September 04, 2008

Forgetting Sarah Marshall

Hell Yeah I Forgot Her Already

Written by and starring a very naked Jason Segel, I thought this film would be incredibly easy to identify with, given that it dealt with a man who didn't see his breakup with his hot girlfriend coming in close on the horizon, until the very last minute. Starring as musician Peter Bretter, his relationship with the titular Sarah Marshall (Kristen Bell) came to an unexpected end with her cheating on him and moving on with new beau, rocker Aldous Snow (Russell Brand).

And for the most parts initially, it was easy to identify with, really, what with his failure to accept reality, and his brooding and incessant whining to friends and family, which are primarily set up for laughs. But the best bits of the comedic aspects of the story were included in the trailer, leaving only but the bland and tired one liners in the movie that failed to elicit laughter. You can almost predict how scenes are engineered toward a certain punchline, and that expectation drew away any semblance of a genuine ha-ha. The usual pop cultural references were just there, but gone are the honestly sincere approach at making a mickey out of them.

So what did Forgetting Sarah Marshall really get at? It was actually more of a classic romantic story instead, and brings to the screen very vividly, relationship challenges and issues in today's world, coupled with basic bugbears like Expectations. In a Hawaii getaway, nothing's worse than spending a vacation alone in a romantic location and bumping into your ex with her new beau in tow, living in the, horrors, next room. But Peter's luck took a change with the opportunity presented in a pretty hotel staff Rachel Jansen (Mila Kunis), who in movie land would be single and available and just about finds him attractive in a certain way too. So here the dynamics get set up as we play observers to two pairs of relationships in parallel - one where sex rules above all, the other just budding with almost everything being fine and dandy.

Until of course one looks back constantly over the shoulder at what was, and almost always start to appreciate things that once were. While it's always easy to do that and mope, it takes a lot of strength to be able to say no, and move on. We take comfort in the things tried and tested and sometimes lack the courage to venture out and take on life's challenges head on, but have to realize that moments that are past should stay buried in the past, and not forgo and give up opportunities to start afresh. And when you do, treasure it, and not be a dick. What I truly enjoyed in the movie, is how perceptions of oneself are likely to be skewed, where in many scenes we may sympathize with certain characters for being receiving the short end of the stick. But like how it takes two hands to clap, we're also presented the larger picture through revealing flashbacks, and realize that hey, sometimes we are selfish to always think about ME, and fail to see things from the other person's perspective, especially of loved ones whom we tend to lapse into taking for granted.

Never mind if supporting cast from the Apatow Clan like Paul Rudd and Jonah Hill are here to lend comedic support to the film. Forgetting Sarah Marshall triumphs for its earnest reminder about the basic things that make a relationship, and the easiest ways to break one stemming from complacency and the lack of honesty.

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