It’s hard not to notice that “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” is one of those movies where lazy, mediocre-looking stoners (in this case, Jason Segel) learn that their extended arrested development from adolescence has grown weary to those around them (in particular their improbably drop-dead gorgeous girlfriends), and must learn to take responsibility for themselves without necessarily changing who they are (much like “Knocked Up” or “Get a Job”). Once you get past the familiarity of it all (not to mention an icky, blame-the-bitch undercurrent with Kristen Bell’s character), it’s actually a lot of fun. The cast seems to be having a great time, which is partially why the movie works as well as it does: Everyone here seems to be genuinely friendly towards one another, whether it’s the aforementioned leads, or Russell Brand in a star-making performance that’s essentially a riff on his own persona, or Paul Rudd hanging around as a hazy beach bum, there’s always a livewire performer just outside the frame of the screen waiting for a chance to saunter in and steal scenes left and right. That camaraderie extends to the audience, where we feel like we’re being invited to the party as opposed to being asked to watch it, and there are always big laughs around every corner. Siegel and a winning Mila Kunis share warm, lived-in chemistry and their burgeoning romance is believable enough to keep you engaged. It’s a great flick to put on when you need something to distract you or you need a big laugh.
Rating: ★★★★ (out of 5)