Friday, April 18, 2008

Now let me preface this by saying this review was originally posted back in October based on an early screening of the film. Since then the movie was been recut and several scenes have been dropped (for the most part I've gone through and marked out references to scenes no longer in the final movie and made new comments in italics) but it should give you some guidance in what the movie is like. I'll be seeing the final version tonight and will try to have a review up this weekend, maybe I'll even get that promised review of Prom Night up as well!

I've been excited about seeing this film for some time because not only am I a fan of Kristen Bell, but it was produced by Judd Apatow, the creator of both Knocked Up and The 40 Year-Old Virgin, two of the funniest movies of the last few years. While both are pretty raunchy they are also full of heart, so I was anticipating another film that fits in that category. But possibly the most exciting part of the movie is that it was written by and stars Jason Segel, who has been in two of the most loved series in the CineManiac household, Freaks & Geeks and How I Met Your Mother.

Jason Segel plays Peter Bretter, a struggling musician who creates the music for the hit TV show, Crime Scene: Scene of the Crime. Peter's girlfriend the titular Sarah Marshall is the shows star, and her career has been rising because of it. The movie starts with "The Break-up Scene" as Sarah dumps Peter, telling him there's another guy. The scene plays out in a way that I don't think has been attempted before, so I don't want to ruin it, I'll just say it's funny. At this point everyone knows Sarah dumps Peter while he's wearing only a towel and leads to a quick nude shot. Devastated Peter tries to go on with his life, but quickly spirals into a depression he can't get out of. So on the insistence of his step-brother, Brian (Bill Hader) Peter decides to take a trip to get away from it all.

Peter winds up at an amazing resort in Hawaii, only to discover that his Ex is there with her new boyfriend, Brit Rocker Aldous Snow (Russell Brand). It quickly becomes clear that getting over Sarah is going to be much harder than he thought. As both decide to stay at the resort, they keep running into each other, At dinner Peter, seated alone, is given "the best table in the house" because it's facing Aldous and Sarah, the next morning non-flexible Peter runs into the duo at a Yoga class, where he tries to keep up, (Look for this scene on the DVD, hilarious!) and, being on an island, they can't get away from each other.

Luckily for Peter, he meets Rachel, the resort's Customer Service lady played wonderfully by That 70s Show's Mila Kunis. What starts as a simple flirtation quickly (very quickly) turns into a relationship over Peter's 4 days at the Resort. While somewhat fast paced, the relationship does seem fairly realistic.

I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the fantastic supporting cast. Jonah Hill plays a resort employee whose clearly obsessed with Aldous Snow, to the extent of baking him a cake. Paul Rudd is fantastic, as always, as the local Surfing Instructor with an awful memory. SNL's Kristen Wiig steals the show in her small scene as a Yoga instructor, who fawns over Aldous and Sarah and gives Peter a hard time. Her scene as said above has been completely excised, probably due to time constraints, so this DVD will be great!

But possibly the best of the supporting cast is 30 Rock's Jack McBrayer as one half of a Mormon newlywed couple, who's having trouble in the bedroom. McBrayer's scenes are hilarious and he constantly made me laugh. And to say he steals the show from Paul Rudd means a lot since I've recently decided that Rudd is the funniest member of the Apatow Acting Troop.

If there was any disclaimers about the movie it's the amount of sex. There are several sex scenes, each of which are played for laughs, which could turn some people off. The scenes are done in a way that there's no actual nudity, but instead implied nudity.

The cut we saw, while having some raunchy material, is definitely the cleanest of the Apatow movies so far. Pretty sure this no longer applies, but we'll see. The other difference is that this film does not throw out a joke a second. This doesn't mean it's not funny, to the contrary I laughed as much in these as I did at Super Bad or Knocked Up. It's just a different beast altogether, and I don't think it should be compared to those, although I'm sure it will be.

All in all it was a hilarious movie that I've waited a long 6ish months to see again. Hopefully the new cut is just as good as the old one. One other thing I wanted to mention, one really good scene featuring Sarah and Peter which wrapped up their story at the end was apparently cut from the film. This scene really was an amazing piece of acting, especially for Bell, so it's sad to see it go. But once again it just means the DVD will be amazing.


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