We can either laugh or weep at man's infinite capacity to do stupid things. Which is why guffawing at the naked guy flexing his breasts in "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" is not only time enjoyably spent, but philosophically cathartic.
"Good for you, dude," 20-something Peter (Jason Segel) says to himself, delighting in his own dorky ritual. "Good for you."
Welcome to another romantic comedy from producer Judd Apatow, creator of "The 40-Year-Old Virgin" and "Knocked Up," who has clearly discovered that man's cluelessness is a bottomless reservoir. This time, the male of the species -- amusingly hapless Peter -- retreats to Hawaii, trying to get over a traumatic breakup, only to find himself in the same hotel as his recent ex, TV actress Sarah Marshall (Kristen Bell).
Directed by first-timer Nicholas Stoller and written by Segel, "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" is a refreshingly tender treatment of love gone wrong -- we mean, for a movie that's got enough lowdown sexual content to start its own Kinsey Report. As such, the movie follows the Apatow doctrine perfectly, which is to use semi-improvisational scenes -- usually between male performers -- to find the hilarious interface between man's vulnerability and dorkability. Segel's lovably sincere and blundering character is amusingly supported by a cast that includes British stand-up comedian Russell Brand as a self-absorbed rock star who could have wandered off the set of "This Is Spinal Tap," and "SNL" star Bill Hader, who plays Segel's manic, slightly off-kilter older brother.
-- Desson Thomson (April 18, 2008)
Contains nudity, profanity, slapstick violence and sexual situations.