Nicholas Stoller’s 2008 film “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” follows a script from Jason Segal and was produced by Judd Apatow. It captures the late-2000s humor of Apatow and Segal while also examining the incestuous nature of Hollywood relationships, where everybody knows everyone else and may have at one point dated them.
The story begins with actress Sarah Marshall (Kristen Bell), who appears in a CSI-style show, breaking up with her composer boyfriend, Peter Bretter (Segal). Bretter begins a slow decline into depression until his step-brother, Brian (Bill Hader), convinces him to take a vacation. He goes to Hawaii where he runs into Sarah. Rachel Jansen (Mila Kunis), a hotel receptionist, takes pity on him after Peter discovers that Sarah has been seeing Aldous Snow (Russell Brand), a self-involved singer, since before they were technically broken up. Peter begins working on rediscovering a sense of joy, befriending Jansen and a waiter named Matthew Van Der Wyk (Jonah Hill), who’s a fan of Aldous, a bartender named Dwayne (Da’Vone McDonald), and Chuck/Kunu (Paul Rudd), a surf instructor. He also helps a newlywed couple (Jack McBrayer and Maria Theyer) who struggle through their intimacy issues.
The film epitomizes comedy from this era while Segel’s interest in muppets (his character wants to make a Dracula-themed rock opera with puppets called “A Taste for Love”) is a clear forerunner to his work on “The Muppets” (2011), even singing the Muppet theme at one point. This unrated version includes more of Peter’s efforts to move past Sarah by hooking up, an extended scene with Kristen Wiig as a yoga instructor, and more explicit language. Very little of the story itself is changed, however, so those who enjoy Segal’s humor will find this more of the same.