All that praise that was geared toward directed Judd Apatow’s flabby guy comedy “Knocked Up” last year was more deserved by one he merely produced: “Forgetting Sarah Marshall.”
Long an underrated performer, writer and star Jason Segel (TV’s “Undeclared” and “How I Met Your Mother”) outshines Seth Rogen by a mile in the real-guy leading-man department as Peter, a slacker composer who becomes an emotional wreck when his longtime hot actress girlfriend (Kristen Bell, TV’s “Heroes”) leaves him for a bratty British rocker (UK comic Russell Brand).
A string of one-night stands proves no solution so his stepbrother (Bill Hader, “Saturday Night Live”) tells him to take a solitary vacation to Hawaii. He does, and who should show up but his ex and her current boy toy? Can Peter win her back against all odds?
Sounds formulaic, but “Forgetting” is smarter than that. The jokes are pretty solid, keeping the gross-outs to a bare minimum (and we do mean “bare,” if you count the quick frames of Segel’s member hanging in the breeze). Like the very best Apatow comedies (“The 40-Year-Old Virgin”), there’s a true sweetness at play that never devolves into sappy.
Although he gets great support from the likes of Mila Kunis, Jonah Hill and the unbeatable Paul Rudd, Segel is rock-solid as the film’s center. I expect big things from his future.
Speaking of, the unrated DVD is jam-packed with deleted scenes, alternate takes and, best of all, footage from “Crime Scene, ” the faux “CSI”-esque series in which Bell’s character stars.