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Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008)

You know, there was a time, in the late nineties and early aughts when it just honestly looked to me like there was nothing really new and original in quote-unquote “mainstream” movies. Not that everything was universally bad, it was just universally been-there-done-that. Even comedies. Especially comedies. But the best of the recent Judd Apatow-produced comedy mill — The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Knocked Up, Superbad and now Forgetting Sarah Marshall — have managed to make a whole new genre out of what should have been there all along. Comedies about awkward social/dating/sex situations in which everybody’s more-or-less a real person, and nobody’s really a “good guy” or “bad guy”, they’re all just people, who sometimes do or say the wrong thing or act at cross purposes. And are really fucking hilarious. Case in point: the douchebag rock star romantic rival. In any other movie, that’s all he would be. In Forgetting Sarah Marshall, he’s a douchebag rock star romantic rival who also turns out to be a cool, likeable guy. And who gets some of the best lines.

Only problem is, movies like this make it hard to watch funny but lesser comedies like Tropic Thunder and not feel like something’s missing. But that’s a price I’m willing to pay.


  1. tyler wrote:

    I have not seen this particular movie, but I had the opposite reaction to Tropic Thunder. Having watched Pineapple Express the week before, I found it to be a nice change – jokes that were actually written. I love the Apatow-ian stuff but it is becoming just as predictable as any other genre.

    Sunday, October 19, 2008 at 9:15 am | Permalink
  2. Hey, Tyler, I keep hoping you’ll reply to my movie posts, they don’t get a lot of comments.

    I don’t know if I’d agree about the predictability. I had no idea what was going to happen in Sarah Marshall, but really enjoyed where the story went (case in point is the afore-mentioned rock star character). I do think the Apatow films have a lot of similarities with each other, but (at the risk of getting all film-school), I kind of read this more as an auteur revisiting themes. Kind of like how in Hitchcock films, the characters and situations are always part of Hitchcockland (not that Apatow is Hitchcock, but you know what I mean). I think I did make a mistake, though, which was to look at it as a new genre, instead of a single director-producer putting a unique stamp on a genre.

    (And I really did dig Tropic Thunder, it just didn’t stay with me as much as SSM.)

    Sunday, October 19, 2008 at 8:56 pm | Permalink
  3. Jesus, I really did go overboard with the parentheses there, didn’t I? I blame Pauline Kael.

    Sunday, October 19, 2008 at 8:58 pm | Permalink
  4. tyler wrote:

    I, myself, also adore parentheses. Like, really a lot. Also, commas.

    Monday, October 20, 2008 at 12:35 pm | Permalink