Forgetting Sarah Marshall (UK - DVD R2)
Forgetting Sarah Marshall on DVD won't be easy for our reviewer Marcus Doidge
Forgetting Sarah Marshall, the latest comedy from super-producer Judd Apatow, tells the story of Peter Bretter (Jason Segel), a composer for girlfriend Sarah Marshall’s (Kristen Bell) hit TV show. Peter’s life love life takes a down turn when Sarah Marshall splits up with him, leaving Peter devastated.
After having problems moving on with his life, Peter’s half brother Brian (Bill Hader) convinces him to take a break to Hawaii to get away from it all, only to discover that the Sarah Marshall that he’s gone away to forget is also holidaying there with her new English rock star boyfriend Aldous Snow (Russell Brand).
The writer and star of Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Jason Segel, has been part of the Apatow crew for quite a while now, appearing in the short lived Apatow TV shows Freaks and Geeks and Undeclared. He’s also played some cracking support roles in the much under-loved Slackers and more recently Knocked Up. Being a big fan of his work in all of the above, it’s great to see Segel step into the limelight and get the chance to prove his talent in both writing and in the leading role. He’s very likable as Peter; he’s funny, natural and has a great sense of what makes even the smallest things funny and whilst his being the leading man isn’t quite as effective as the smaller support roles he’s done in the past, he still does a great job here.
Of course he’s not alone; the cast that surround him here are all fantastic. Kristen Bell is very likable despite playing the girl that dumped the lead, while Russell Brand’s first big showcase of his talents on screen (I’m not counting St Trinians, I’d prefer to forget it happened frankly) is also a solid one. As a big fan of ol’ Russ, it was good to see he had the smarts to comfortably fit into the very talented crowd, rather than muscle his way to the front and become overblown and un-likable like some comedians try to do in their first big movie, especially if they are as well known as Brand is in the UK. This was as much a relief as it was delight and I look forward to see what Brand can do next now he has his foot in the door.
The other big co star is Peter’s love interest, Rachel (Mila Kunis). Kunis plays one of those movie gals that I couldn’t help falling in love with (oh my god I’m in love with Meg Griffin!) She’s adorable here. She gives a great performance that‘s cute as well as realistic—she totally fulfils the task of making you want this to be the girl for Peter to end up with and she looks bloody great whilst doing it. Add to all of this, the smaller, but still comedy gold support roles by Jonah Hill, Paul Rudd, Bill Hader and Jack McBrayer, and what you get is all the ingredients you’ll ever need for a great comedy.
Forgetting Sarah Marshall has its fair share of laughs and fits snugly alongside the recent Apatow movies such as Knocked Up and Superbad. It has some fantastically funny moments with its enjoyable characters and it never shys away from the comedy in its sex scenes which are as funny as they are awkward. Forgetting Sarah Marshall may not be as sharp as the aforementioned comedies, but it’s got a lot of heart and it’s still a hell of a lot more rewarding than a lot of the dross comedies that came along this year.
Despite being mostly set in a Hawaiian paradise, Forgetting Sarah Marshall’s transfer is pretty dull. Some of the colours are rich and some of the sunny resort shots are noticeable sharp but it’s all coated with quite a bland layer of grain that just seems to mute everything.
I noticed much the same thing on the DVD for Universal’s release of Knocked Up when that came out, but was later very impressed with its HD DVD release, so I’m hoping that the Blu-ray release of Forgetting Sarah Marshall will take advantage of the sunny skies and natural beauty of the Hawaiian setting. Here’s hoping.
Basically just a pretty standard 5.1 mix really. It’s does close to nothing note worthy outside of hearing the pretty cool soundtrack the movie has, handled nicely, but outside of that there’s not really anything to say. It does was 5.1 surround does and there’s no complaints, it’s crisp, it’s clear, but at the end of the day it’s a no thrills comedy sound mix and that just does its job.
The English version of Forgetting Sarah Marshall is a slightly watered down affair. It still has the original cut (1 hr 46) and extended cut (1 hr 52) and it still has the commentary, a few deleted scenes, a gag reel, a short table read, an Aldous Snow music video and some other little bits from the production, in fact it’s quite adequate for a comedy release. However, compare that to the US two disc offering which has a whole second disc worth of extras on top of those included here and even a visual commentary on the Blu-ray release, it seems a bit unfair, especially for the ever growing fans of these Apatow comedies.
Initial disappointment aside, this is still a nice set of features. The Commentary is an easy one to listen to, with it almost coming off as a group of friends talking about that holiday they had in Hawaii where they happened to make a movie. It’s very much driven by Nick Stoller, Jason Segal and the producers, but there are a few gems from Mila Kunis, Jack Brayer and of course Russell Brand, but they are hardly at the for forefront of the conversations.
The rest of the features clock up to around fifty minutes and if you’ve watched the Superbad or the Knocked Up DVDs you’ll know the routine by now - lot’s of alternative takes and lines, some deleted scenes that are mostly brilliant and a fun gag reel which all amount to some more laughs from the cast.
Forgetting Sarah Marshall could have been one of those comedies that was easily overlooked. It hasn’t got any genuinely big movie stars in it, well none that have yet proved to be consistent crowd pullers at the cinema anyway (despite every one of them being well known in their own field). Also whenever a movie screams ‘from the producers of those other comedies that did really, really well’, it more often than not just ends up being a real turkey. Thankfully that isn’t the case here.
I enjoyed Forgetting Sarah Marshall when I first saw it on the big screen and predictably I enjoyed it once again on DVD. It’s got a lot of heart, a lot of great characters and more importantly a lot of laughs and despite the fairly standard presentation of this DVD, I whole heartedly recommend it.
Review by Marcus Doidge
Suitable only for persons of 15 years and over
Release Date: 15th September 2008
Disc Type: Single side, dual layer
Audio: Dobly Digital 5.1 English
Subtitles: English, Magyar, Dansk, Suomi, Islenska, Norsk, Svenska
Extras: Commentary with Director Nick Stoller, Producer's Rodney Rothman & Shauna Robertson, Writer/Star Jason Segel, and cast memebers Kristen Bell, Mila Kunis, Russell Brand and Jack McBrayer, Deleted Scenes, Line-o-Rama- Gag Reel, Table Read: Dracula's Lament, A Taste of Love, Raw Footage, Red Band Trailer.
Easter Egg: No
Director: Nicholas Stoller
Cast: Jason Segal, Kristen Bell, Mila Kunis, Russell Brand, Bill Hader, Johan Hill, Paul Rudd, Jack McBrayer
Genre: Comedy and Romance
Length: 106 minutes
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