Ten years since its initial release and “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” remains as fresh and peppy as ever. This is a comedy that not only doses out ample amounts of laughs but makes you feel good and whole while watching it. It’s a deftly crafted comedy, something that feels expertly designed but as free-flowing as the pearl blue, Oahu waves.
Jason Segel stars as Peter, a television music composer who is shacked up with the star of his show, Sarah Marshall (Kristen Bell). They’re the cute couple you knew i college, the ones who host board game nights for their boring friends and wear extravagant and creative Halloween costumes every year. But Sarah drops an A-bomb on Peter’s heart by telling him she wants to break up, and that there’s someone else she’s fallen for. Peter is in a romantic fugue state until he takes a suggestion from his step-brother Brian (Bill Hader) to go to Hawaii to chill out.
As luck would have it, Sarah is already there with her new beau Aldous (Russell Brand). Peter’s peaceful voyage is shipwrecked, until a friendship blossoms between him and a hotel front desk girl Rachel (Mila Kunis). Peter then must navigate his new feelings for Rachel, dismember his old affections for Sarah, and balance a slew of warm, new friendships of locals and tourists under the Hawaii sunshine.
There’s a lot going on in “Forgetting Sarah Marshall,” so much that if there were one more awkward encounter or flashback sequence added, the film would feel overstuffed. The fact that “Marshall” succeeds is owed partly to director Nicholas Stoller and also to writer Jason Segel. The majority of the success, though, lies on the shoulders of “Forgetting Sarah Marshall’s” editing. The deleted scenes from this film were wisely chosen, and the cuts between scenes serve as natural stitches for this vessel of comedy.
Take for example Peter’s first post-breakup hookup with a girl he meets at a bar. The way we see it in the theatrical cut, Peter and the girl are having an awkward conversation and it immediately jumps to the two in bed together. Deleted scenes from “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” show that there was more to that sequence, expanding on Peter and the woman’s intimacy in a way that wasn’t required or wanted. Having those expanded scenes would have derailed the film. But by keeping things short ad sweet, “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” found it’s success.
Watching this movie is very much like taking an amazing vacation abroad, one that we desperately want to extend so we can see the Eiffel Tower or the Great Wall again. But granting that extension would spoil the fun and the magic we got from our 7 days in paradise, or our two hours with Peter and Sarah in this timeless comedic gem.