Film Highlight: Forgetting Sarah Marshall

Glen Wilson

area theaters, starts Friday

Jason Segel puts it all out there in Forgetting Sarah Marshall. It takes all of five minutes for Segel, who wrote and stars in the movie, to drop towel. His character, Peter Bretter, is on the verge of being dumped by his longtime girlfriend, middlebrow-TV actress Sarah Marshall (Kristen Bell), but she won't actually break up with him until he puts on some clothes, and so...he doesn't. The way Peter figures it, the moment he puts on some clothes, "it's over." The scene elicits big, dumb laughs—That dude's naked, haw haw. But there's also some sad, sweet truth to it that carries over throughout the movie. Peter fits neatly into producer Judd Apatow's now-familiar catalog of screwed-up, stunted crybaby man-boys—nothing more, or less, than a misfit and a mess. Several members of Apatow's troupe of regular irregulars also show up: Paul Rudd, Jonah Hill, Bill Hader, and Jack McBrayer—but without Segel bravely channeling "his own anxieties and obsessions into his clowning," as Pauline Kael wrote about Woody Allen 24 years ago, Forgetting Sarah Marshall would have been easily forgettable and, one might even say, limp.

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