Dan’s Top 100 Everything: #55 Forgetting Sarah Marshall

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Forgetting Sarah Marshall is a very funny movie. I don’t think that is heavily disputed by too many people. Humor is also very, very subjective. I personally think Forgetting Sarah Marshall is an absolutely HILARIOUS movie. I love how quotable it is. Some hilarious movies (I’m thinking of Superbad right now) have great joke-packed scripts, but few lines that you can bring around with you in everyday life. Not Forgetting Sarah Marshall. I’ve adapted so many of its better lines into my everyday lexicon:

When forgetting or deciding not to do something:

”I was gonna ____, but then I just carried on living my life.”

When someone is saying something ridiculous:

[fake British accent] “Bull-sheet, bull-sheet, bull-sheet”

When someone does something cool:

“He’s like Gandhi, but better!”

When reflecting on something bad that happened:

”When life give you lemons, just say ‘fuck the lemons,’ and bail.”

When watching a bad movie, especially if somebody is defending it (replace the word “movie” to make this even more general):

”It’s a metaphor for a crap movie.”

When enjoying a nice day:

[singing] ”Oh, the weather outside is weather.”

When witnessing something awesome/attractive:

”I just went from six to midnight.”

When bumping into someone at an unlikely spot:

[with a shrug] ”Came here to murder you!”

When someone goes through something arduous:

”You deserve a medal, or a holiday, or at least a cuddle”

When a male is wimping out of something:

”Come on, I can see your vagina from here!”

When listening to someone with a ridiculous accent:

“You sound like you’re from Lon-don”

When ignored or insulted:

“Oh okay, I’ll just go fuck myself, then”

When eating cereal:

“…and now I have the freshest cereal.”

Okay, so that last one hasn’t come up since I switched from cereal to frozen waffles as my routine breakfast. But, still, I don’t think there’s another comedy with a better arsenal of lines that are so broadly applicable.

And that alone would have carried the movie for the first two or three times I watched the movie.

But here’s the thing. I actually LIKE this movie beyond the jokes. True, I’m more on Jason Segel’s wavelength than most people, but I think this is an engaging, heartfelt movie.

fsm-burnNormally breakup comedies paint a specific party as a broad bad guy. Forgetting Sarah Marshall makes sure that nobody is outright evil. We don’t get much of Sarah’s perspective, but we get enough to see that she’s justifiably frustrated with Peter’s lazy, strange ways. (Of course, she’s a little harder to defend once we learn that she cheated on Peter for a year…)

There are so many little pieces that add up to this being a great comedy. The build of Peter and Rachel’s relationship is enjoyably written, and you can almost-maybe-sorta buy that someone who looks like Mila Kunis would fall for someone who looks like Jason Segel.

Oftentimes, the success of comedy comes down to the charm and delivery of its cast as much as the script. This movie hits a home run in that category, too. As already mentioned (and to be discussed in more detail later in the countdown), I’m a devoted Jason Segel fan. Mila Kunis, too, delivers a performance equal parts hilarious and ridiculously hot.

Forgetting Sarah Marshall movie image Kristen Bell and Russell BrandThe breakout winner has to be Russell Brand as Aldous Snow, though. He didn’t need a spinoff… but I can see why they gave him one. He has perfectly dry delivery of hilarious lines (an early speech about his missing shoe is a particular highlight).

Just as much as the leads, the supporting cast provides a ton of character to the film. Paul Rudd has a heroic turn as a super-stoned surfing instructor, Jack McBrayer is great as a sexually frustrated honeymooner, Jonah Hill steals every scene as a loser hotel worker — and that only scratches the surface. There are some great runners with the hotel’s staff and Asian tourists.

It’s also a little bit weird how much I loved the plot thread about Peter’s dream to make a Dracula musical. “Dracula’s Lament” will forever be on mixes I make, and “A Taste for Love” is an appropriately exciting payoff.

There are so many nice twists and moments that make this movie stand out: The use of male nudity as a comic and thematic tool — and the avoidance of female nudity — is a fresh, if ultimately insignificant, change from the norm. (The unrated version did include some female nudity.)

If I put clothes on, it's over.

If I put clothes on, it’s over.

It’s also kind of cool how autobiographical this movie is. Jason Segel was dumped by Linda Cardellini (stay tuned for a couple weeks to see her on the countdown again!) while in the nude, and he once dreamed of writing a puppet musical… which eventually came true.

I also simply love that this movie takes place in a beautiful tropical setting. It makes it fun to just look at this film. The setting is warm and inviting. I want to come to these cookouts and karaoke bars. I want to go swimming with Mila Kunis and Jason Segel. I want to enjoy these beaches and yoga classes and fruity drinks.

Again, I openly admit that I’m okay with others taking issue with this movie. Jason Segel is mopey (in an amusing way) and it’s hard to buy he’d so easily win over such beautiful girls. There’s a lot of wish fulfillment at play here, a cheap way to win appreciation.

But I love this movie. I watch it frequently. It makes me happy. It makes me laugh. It reminds me of my one hard breakup ever (okay… we eventually got back together and got married). It’s a good movie to get drunk to. I love Forgetting Sarah Marshall, and I happily rank it as one of my favorite comedies. And if you have a problem with that, then… oh, okay, I’ll just go fuck myself, then.

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Dan S.

Dan is the editor of Earn This. He co-founded the site in 2009.

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