Forgetting Sarah Marshall (Universal, 2008) D: Nicholas Stoller, w/ Jason Segel, Kristen Bell. Rating: NNN; DVD package: NNN
The premise is great: a guy (Jason Segel) seeking relief from a bad break-up books into a Hawaiian hotel, only to find his ex (Kristen Bell) already ensconced with her new boyfriend (Russell Brand).
The execution provides half-a-dozen laugh-out-loud moments, many chuckles and lots of surprisingly well-rounded characters. Plus, the extended version (seven more minutes) contains some funny sex. It's more than enough to carry us past the slow start, so-so direction and, the movie's main problem, a nothing-special leading man.
Segel spends the first 40 minutes as an infantile depressive, whining and crying. It's not a pretty sight. Coupled with the actor's near-total lack of charisma, it almost kills the movie.
Segel wrote the movie, and in the extras we learn how very autobiographical it is. It's almost the only thing we learn in an extensive extras set effectively devoted to getting laughs. Check out the clips from Sarah Marshall's various TV shows.
Fortunately, Segel's mope is surrounded by very funny, well-drawn characters. Sarah Marshall, a driven type-A personality without a shred of self-awareness, is still sometimes appealingly vulnerable. Brand almost steals the show as her rock-star boyfriend, a narcissistic yet warm-hearted airhead.
EXTRAS Disc one: Director, producer, star and other cast commentary, deleted and extended scenes, gag reel, more, all with optional group commentary. Widescreen. English, French, Spanish audio and subtitles. Disc two: Deleted, extended, alternate scenes, group interview, more. Widescreen. French, Spanish subtitles. Disc three: Digital copy.