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Saturday, May 21, 2016

Movie Review: Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008), Character Flaws and (500) Days of Summer

 
Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008)
Starring: Jason Segel, Kristen Bell, Mila Kunis, Russell Brand
Directed By: Nicholas Stoller
Written By: Jason Segel
Release Date: April 18. 2008
Rating: 5/5
Summary: When aspiring composer, Peter, is dumped by his superstar girlfriend, Sarah Marshall, he leaves for Hawaii to clear his head. However, what he doesn't know is that Sarah is also in Hawaii with her new boyfriend.
My Thoughts: Here we have a movie that plays out differently from most expect romantic comedies in today's times. Firstly, I personally love Judd Apatow and pretty much everything he does with the exception of Superbad and secondly, eI have the hugest crush on Jason Segel, the writer and star of this superb flick, but this movie is something different and stands alone from the likes of Apatow's previous works like the strictly comedic Superbad and the much heavier comedy that is "Knocked Up." Forgetting Sarah Marshall blends the heaviness and reality of your everyday drama and the hilarity and light-heated kookiness of your average comedy in a way that makes you feel like this movie was taken straight from your life.
I rank this movie high on my list of "Favorite Movies of All Time" and that's because, like I said before, it does something different with the romantic comedy genre that you don't see often.Take (500) Days of Summer, for example, another of my other favorite films because essentially, both of these movies tell the same tale. A guy can't get over his breakup, however, besides the setting, what aspect these two films differ in is that ofcharacter flaws. People are flawed, humans are, we are flawed, so it makes sense to have characters with flaws similar to what other people may have, no matter how irritating they make the character become as they're flaws for a reason. In this movie, we have Peter. He's insecure, somewhat lazy and even more so broken by his recent breakup and we see this kind of right off the back. There's nothing to hide and we have Peter as he is and we like him because of that. There's this hilarious scene towards the end where he's writing a song basically titled, "Peter, You Suck!" and as a viewer, you don't know whether to hate him for moping so much and not getting off his ass or just feel sorry for him, but even though you feel the need to hate him...You can't because we've all been in his situation where things are looking down and we ultimately hate ourselves because of it. In (500) Days of Summer, Tom's self destructive behavior and ultimate downfall isn't shown right off the bat and we ulimtately see Tom in the beginning as this wonderful, happy, seemingly perfect protagonist. His rut is constantly fueled by love and finding love and finding out where everything went wrong even though everything was literally right in front of his face as Summer told him what to expect. And even more so, we're told by the narrator what to expect, but as Tom did, we ignored the warnings and followed our expectations thinking everything was okay, eventually hating Summer because of it (Well the couple of times I watched it, I did), especially because of the way their breakup is presented.

Peter's is completely himself, trying to be okay and live his life without Sarah because deep down he knows where he went wrong, he just has to figure it out for himself and we, the viewers are along for the ride with him, as he slowly pieces it together. Sarah never told him until she was done that things weren't okay. And going along with Sarah, we have this character who we're supposed to hate because she's the one who set off this roller coaster of emotions within Peter and even cheated on him, but we don't hate her, unlike how we did with Summer. We can't, no matter what she does because she has her own demons and Peter was so self-involved that he didn't even notice them, just like Tom did, regardless of Summer's warnings. However, what we've got to remember is Peter was never told what was wrong, until the very end.
  Sarah is a TV start who wants to break into film, but she has this underlying fear about it. Peter wants to do a rock opera, but none of these fears are directly mentioned until we see him writing the rock opera or Sarah actually explains her fear to Peter after their breakup, they're merely hinted at throughout the movie and even when our focus should on these problems, the movie stays grounded enough to not make it the entire issue because there is so many other thing going on.
And then we have memories. They play a huge role in the movement of the plot and a lot of times when our main character isn't crying his eyes out or saying something inappropriate, we see flashbacks of his time with Sarah. However, what we see isn't a real representation of what their relationship is like and we only see from his perspective for the most part. There is a time towards the end where we do see Sarah's perspective on the relationship and it softens her character, making you not only understand why she broke up with Peter, but relate with her as well and even so, when we do see their relationship in this way, we don't see it all, we only see snip-its which is what (500) Days of Summer does not do. In that movie, we don't really get a sense of who Summer is, as we do with Sarah. We don't really know why she is the way she is and why she did what she did. and even so the plot revolves more around present day Peter and Sarah, rather than them in their relationship, which is opposite of (500) Days of Summer, which is why I love these two movies so much. They're so different, yet the plots are significantly similar to one another. Memories constructed (500) Days of Summer completely and in Forgetting Sarah Marshall, we get the snip-its, but just enough to get some background and move the story forward and build them in the present.
And so, in Forgetting Sarah Marshall, we have a hilarious, realistically fresh take on a male's perspective of a breakup. There's faces you'll definitely know like Jason Segel and Kristen Bell, but there are faces you'll definitely be surprised at as well, like Mila Kunis, who rocked her roll as Peter's rebound girl in a tasteful, naturally adorable and meaningful way. This movie is worth watching and for anyone who's been through a breakup, as you'll know the signs Peter is exhibiting well, or just anyone in general because it's just that good.
 

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