Gleefully uproarious sex comedies have become the bawdy province of Judd Apatow (The 40 Year-Old Virgin, “Knocked Up”), who stretches farcical, vulgar silliness into outright hilarity.
Since struggling musician Peter Bretter (Jason Segel) is wildly in love with his girlfriend, “Crime Scene” television star Sarah Marshall (Kristen Bell of “Veronica Mars”), he’s utterly shattered when she unceremoniously dumps him for an egotistical British-rocker, Aldous Snow (Russell Brand).
Following the advice of his well-meaning stepbrother (Bill Hader), Peter books a 4th of July trip to Hawaii, checking into the posh Turtle Bay Resort, not realizing that Sarah and Aldous are there too. Saved from mortification by a compassionate front desk clerk, Rachael (smoldering Mila Kunis), he awkwardly tries to heal his broken heart with some new friends and to complete his great opus: a dark, Gothic “Dracula” rock opera with vampire puppets.
Insightfully scripted by Jason Segel (yes, he wrote himself the pathetic leading character) and sensitively directed by Nicholas Stoller, it plumbs all the laughter inherent in an emotional disaster while skillfully tweaking formulaic romantic comedy cliches. Plus, the lusty women are bright as well as beautiful-and that counts.
Remember how taboo full-frontal male nudity once was? Forget it. From the getgo, Jason Segel is in the altogether-and he’s altogether likeable-as is the rest of the cast, including fresh funny folk like Paul Rudd (as a surfing instructor), Jonah Hill (as a star-struck waiter) and Jack McBrayer (as a sexually naive newlywed). But it’s droll Russell Brand’s hedonistic bravado that steals the show!
On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” is an outrageous 8, a raunchy romp that turns into a real audience-pleaser. And linger for an amusing epilogue in the final credits.