Last year, between the two of us, we watched an average of 317 movies.
This year our goal is to top that by watching at least one a day.
And as an extra special torture, we've decided to write about all of them.

03 July 2008

Forgetting Sarah Marshall, dir. Nicholas Stoller (2008)

STEVE says:
Oh my God, it's the end-times! Here is a movie with Judd Apatow's name on it that I not only did not completely abhor, but managed to come away from liking. And not "kind of" liking, but liking in the way that I'll likely buy it, and definitely watch it again in the future.

This is right up there with those prophecies about the devil ice-skating to work, or ice being served in the drinks in the cocktail lounges of Hell. I never thought it was possible.

Someone once wrote of Pauly Shore's Bio-Dome, "bodily function jokes rescued from Jim Carrey's wastebasket masquerade as a script," and that's pretty much how I've felt about the Apatow-produced movies in the past. It seems, though, that someone in that camp has learned how to write, and that someone is Jason Segel. Rather than string a series of sketches together to serve a single-joke premise (Superbad, Knocked Up, Taledega Nights, Anchorman, etc.), Segel wisely uses his talents to tell a story. A bold move, and one I hope catches on.

I really did suspect I'd hate this movie, or at the very least find it "dumb but funny", which is just as irritating, but there was nothing to hate here. Each scene was built on the last; each joke helped build character (and even the "dumb" jokes were smarter than any of the shite that passes for humour in Superbad), and all the characters - including the cheating Sarah Marshall and her Eurotrash rocker boyfriend - were likable. If not for his name in the credits, I'd argue that Apatow had anything at all to do with this.


NIKKI says:
Do you know how long it's been since I watched the same movie twice in one day? The last time I think was back in 1998, when I saw Good Will Hunting back-to-back at the Capri. I think saw Go twice in one day, too.

Over ten years ago.

Well, today it happened with Forgetting Sarah Marshall of all movies. I finished it up, free of Steve, who was against watching it for reasons you read about above. I wasn't so against it, though I did expect to absolutely loathe the thing. I was drawn to it for two reasons: Because people I respected were saying how brilliant it was; and because I like to see as many films as I can before they arrive in the store -- I like to be informed (but I'm still not watching Fool's Gold). It started, and I started to hate it. Then it kept going, and I started to love it in ridiculous ways.

Where did this movie come from, and what gives it the right to be an Apatow Production and almost scare me away?

So many scenes I wanted Steve to see, so I risked doing that thing we hate where someone makes us check out little snippets of movies because it might make us like it... I showed him Billy Baldwin as David Caruso in a bad TV crime show. And the scene in which our hero confesses he wants to do a Dracula musical with puppets. If anything was going to get Steve interested, it was that.

And then I told him the whole situation with Apatow and Jason Segel (the writer/star here) was like Kevin Smith putting Affleck in his movies back in the day, and then Affleck writes a movie and wins an Oscar, while Smith's movies still reek with pretentiousness and problems. (We like them, but they suck.) Segel was a break-out writer, who could actually write.

Steve was skeptical, but watched it, and felt as I did. His review mirrors my exact feelings. This is just a really good movie. It's well-written, well-structured. It's funny, it makes sense, it's free of meaningless random gags, it's emotional, heartfelt, and realistic. And it has puppets. I adored it as much the second time as the first. And here's something cool -- I'd have no qualms watching it again.