is a pretty terrible name for a movie. Few good movies have
a gerund or dangling participle in the title. I can't remember
which this is, and I don't really care. That won't stop people
who do know from e-mailing me. Apparently, the Kinko's or Barnes
& Noble they work at don't keep them busy enough.
The point I started out making is that gerund movies are generally
too fucking full of themselves. Forgetting Sarah Marshall
isn't. Actually, it's nearly the opposite. Jason Segel wrote
and stars in it. He's part of Judd Apatow's stable of friends
and colleagues and played Nick Andopolis, a gangly, stoned-out,
naive and overly romantic dope on the old NBC show Freaks
and Geeks. That show is easily among my all-time favorites,
right up there with SCTV, Mr. Show and Cinemax's
Hotel Erotica. On Freaks and Geeks, Segel's character
was so vulnerable and raw that he constantly made me wince at
the pain from his embarrassing displays of affection and real
feelings. That's just something nobody should ever, ever express
in high school. Telling people how you really feel is like cutting
open your chest and inviting assholes to poke your heart with
Sarah Marshall is a continuation of that lovelorn character.
Segel plays a dope, now in his 20s, who believes in true love
and takes it hard when his TV star girlfriend (Kristen Bell)
dumps him while he stands (literally and figuratively) naked
in his living room. Overwhelmed by depression and obsession,
Segel escapes to Hawaii. Except, he chooses the resort that
Bell talked about, and has also headed to with her new boyfriend,
a coolly oblivious English pop star (Russell Brand).
from there moves along with standard romantic comedy plot points.
There is another, even hotter, girl in Hawaii (Mila Kunis) who
takes a sympathetic shine to Segel. Bell realizes that the shiny
bauble of a sexy pop star loses its luster over time, and that
a decent, sincere and monogamous guy like Segel is what she
really needs. It's too late, of course, because Segel discovered
that he never needed Bell anyway. There are mishaps and misunderstandings
along the way, of course, but nothing significantly elevated
over sitcom crap. Even the comedic side characters like Paul
Rudd as a clueless surf instructor and Jonah Hill as an aspiring
musician are largely wasted.
is about as predictable as the outcome of a Harlem Globetrottters
game. You can pretty much guess who Segel ends up with the moment
he meets the hot hotel desk clerk in Hawaii. That is in direct
contrast to when I meet a hot hotel desk clerk. In his case,
she travels across the sea to reunite with him after realizing
she loves him. In my case, it ends with me slamming my head
into a concrete column in a parking garage while she drives
away with her boyfriend. I suppose Segel's version makes for
a better movie. Mine makes for a hell of an emergency room visit,
A few elements
elevate Forgetting Sarah Marshall out of the usual pile
of romantic comedy crap. That is, the crap pile that so many
women seem to happily feast from, so long as the girl ends up
with the "good" guy, and so many dickless men go to with their
women. The first element is that in this case, the guy is the
vulnerable dupe who gets knocked around, but whose goodness
wins in the end. Usually, the woman is the victim because the
Hollywood grassfuckers are too afraid to show a woman have 1)
a personality, 2) be anything but a victim.
that a hell of a lot of the movie feels like it is real life
transcribed to the screen. I can relate to Segel's obsession,
and I think most guys can. We just don't talk about it much.
Well, most guys don't. I talk about it all the fucking time.
Every guy has a girl in his life that he's gotten so twisted
and knotted over that he can't even remember why he liked her.
Everyone has someone they would have dropped everything and
moved to China with, even though they knew it was a really bad
idea and the relationship was destined for sure and violent
failure. I knew a girl my friends nicknamed "Punishment". It
wasn't because she punished me, but because she was my way of
punishing myself. Holy shit was I sweet on her. She was never
terribly into me, but we did go out and I was as soft and doughy
as some Tollhouse batter, but with fewer chocolate chips. I
went gooey and undemanding, trying to become as bland and pliable
as possible just to stay in her sphere. I was so afraid of rejection
that I just bent and bent for her. When she finally got bored
with me, I collected pictures of her, connected with mutual
friends, kept tabs on her sex life and prayed for some miracle,
like a coconut to her head, that would make her finally want
me, and give me my dick back so I could tell her how badly I
wanted to rub my dick on her tits and watch her play with herself.
Never happened, and she never knew how much pain I was in. If
she did, she probably would have been even more creeped out
than she was when my roommate--drunk--ran into her and told
her I had a wall of photos of her at the apartment. That incident
pretty much ended my hopes of every marrying her and living
miserably as her timid and kowtowing husband. After that I just
prayed I didn't run into her again so as not to see firsthand
how creepy she thought I was.
again. This time my point is that Segel's reactions and actions
feel real. He acts like a dope and puts himself out there because
of an irrational infatuation for someone above his station in
life. It's a series of emotions I know well, and that should
be shown more in movies. It makes guys like me feel like we're
part of an army, not loners.
best of all about Forgetting Sarah Marshall is that Segel
is never more than a moderately-talented everyman. His dream
is to quit his job writing background music for TV dramas and
produce a puppet vampire musical. It's a stupid idea, but it's
his, and there's nobility in his seeing it through to completion.
Nobody in the movie pretends it's great. And nobody pretends
it's brilliant in a campy way. I respect anybody for pursuing
their goal, so long as nobody gets hurt and it doesn't limit
the availability of porn. Segel pulls himself out of his mess
by focusing on his dreams
should be about pursuing modest goals. Of course, it would be
nice if we all got Mila Kunis as the prize for being decent,
too. But, as decent as Segel is, he's still in a Hollywood movie,
where ugly good guys get hot chicks. Three Fingers for
Forgetting Sarah Marshall.
to tell Filthy Something?