Forgetting Sarah Marshall
From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
Forgetting Sarah Marshall is a 2008 American romantic comedy film directed by Nicholas Stoller and starring Jason Segel, Kristen Bell, Mila Kunis and Russell Brand. The film, which was also written by Segel and co-produced by Judd Apatow, was released by Universal Studios.
The story revolves around Peter Bretter, who is a music composer for a TV show that happens to feature his girlfriend, Sarah Marshall, in the lead role. After a 5 year relationship Sarah abruptly breaks up with Peter. Devastated by this event, he chooses to go on a vacation in Hawaii to try and move forward with his life. Trouble ensues when he runs into his ex on the island as she is vacationing with her new boyfriend.
Filming began in April 2007 at the Turtle Bay Resort on the North Shore of Oahu Island in Hawaii. The film was released for North American theaters on April 18, 2008 and in the UK a week later on April 25, 2008.
Composer Peter Bretter (Jason Segel) is in a five-year relationship with actress Sarah Marshall (Kristen Bell), who stars in a CSI-like television show, Crime Scene: Scene of the Crime. One day, as Peter stands naked in their apartment (after dropping his towel from showering), Sarah announces that she is leaving him for someone else. Devastated, and unable to banish his grief through one-night stands, Peter takes a trip to Hawaii. The vacation, however, is ruined when he learns that Sarah and her new boyfriend, (lead singer of the English rock band, Infant Sorrow), Aldous Snow (Russell Brand) are also guests of the resort. Taking pity on him, hotel concierge Rachel (Mila Kunis) offers him an expensive suite for free in exchange for cleaning up the room himself.
Peter begins spending time with Rachel and starts to develop feelings for her. Meanwhile, the relationship between Sarah and Aldous begins to falter. Much of the discord is triggered by the news that Sarah’s TV show has been cancelled, and Aldous is about to embark on a world tour. During a day of surf and sand Aldous and Peter run into each other and begin talking. Inadvertently, Aldous informs Peter that he and Sarah began having sex a full year before she broke up with Peter. When Peter confronts Sarah, she tells him she began feeling disconnected emotionally from him and she could not do anything to make their relationship work. Further exacerbating the situation is Sarah's obvious jealousy of the budding relationship between Peter and Rachel.
The situation comes to a head when Sarah, Aldous, Peter and Rachel share an awkward dinner together. Peter takes Rachel back to his hotel room and they begin to fool around. Sarah hears them through the wall and initiates sex with Aldous, moaning loudly for the benefit of the couple next door, and Rachel and Peter turn the situation into a game and become even louder. When Aldous realizes Sarah is clearly faking orgasms to try to get a rise out of Peter, he stops the sex and tells her the trip was a mistake as she's clearly not over Peter. They bicker furiously and cruelly, prompting Aldous to announce that the relationship is over. In the other room, Peter and Rachel discuss how much they have enjoyed each other’s company and how the feelings have grown strong between them in such a short period of time.
The next morning, Peter encounters Aldous, and learns that he and Sarah have broken up and that he is flying back to England. Peter goes to Sarah's room to console her where she admits she still loves him and tries to rekindle their romance. The two start to engage in sexual activity, but Peter abruptly cuts it off because of his feelings for Rachel, and his now ambivalent feelings towards Sarah.
Peter immediately goes to Rachel to confess what happened, but she is hurt and demands that he leave and never contact her again. Obviously upset over the fight, Peter goes to a bar they frequented together and steals a humiliating topless photo of Rachel, posted in the men's room, taken while she was too drunk to consent and which the bar owner refuses to remove. Peter endures a beating from the bar's owner, but returns to the hotel and wordlessly gives her the photo before leaving again.
He then flies back to Los Angeles. After a period of sadness and self-loathing, he begins working on his Dracula puppet rock opera, A Taste for Love. He sends an invitation to Rachel for the opening night performance. Although extremely hesitant at first, Rachel eventually decides to attend. After the performance Rachel congratulates Peter and tells him she's looking into attending school in the area. She leaves so Peter can bask in the success of his show, but quickly returns to Peter's dressing room to tell him she misses him. Peter is in the midst of changing his clothes, and stands naked, while also in the process of trying to call Rachel on her cell phone. Surprised to see her, and naked and embarrassed (mirroring the beginning of the film) Peter tells her that he has missed her too. The film ends as they embrace and kiss.
- Jason Segel as Peter Bretter: A slobbish but well meaning composer for the TV show, Crime Scene: Scene of the Crime. He is working on a rock opera involving puppets and based on Dracula called A Taste for Love.
- Kristen Bell as Sarah Marshall: A famous working actress for the TV show, Crime Scene: Scene of the Crimewho used to date Peter before leaving him for Aldous.
- Mila Kunis as Rachel Jansen: A receptionist for the Hawaiian hotel Turtle Bay.
- Russell Brand as Aldous Snow: The eccentric rock star, who is Sarah Marshall's new boyfriend. He is seen later in Get Him To The Greek.
- Bill Hader as Brian Bretter: Peter's stepbrother and best friend who usually criticizes him for the better.
- Liz Cackowski as Liz Bretter: Brian's wife who was his one and only girlfriend and who usually sneaks in on Brian's computer conversations.
- Jack McBrayer as Darald Braden: A religious, effeminate man who does not like certain aspects of sexual intercourse and is having trouble satisfying his new wife.
- Maria Thayer as Wyoma Braden: The sex-hungry wife of Darald.
- Jonah Hill as Matthew Van Der Wyk: A waiter at Turtle Bay and obsessive fan of Aldous who constantly does strange and random things. Aldous describes him as "an eccentric and confident young man."
- Paul Rudd as Chuck / Kunu<ref>Meeting Kunu - Forgetting Sarah Marshall</ref> A strange surfing instructor who often forgets people and who is 44 years of age by his own estimate.
- Jason Bateman as Animal Instincts Detective: A character on Sarah Marshall's latest show, Animal Instincts
- William Baldwin as Himself / Det. Hunter Rush: In the film's universe, William Baldwin is the "hard-to-love" co-star on Sarah's show. He is referred to as "Billy Baldwin" and Peter briefly suspects him of having an affair with Sarah.
- Kristen Wiig as Prana: A Yoga Instructor (Unrated Version)
- Da'Vone McDonald as Dwayne: A bartender at Turtle Bay. Dwayne was originally from South-Central Los Angeles, and hated it there, until he moved to Oahu, where he learned to name over two hundred different kinds of fish.
- Taylor Wily as Kemo: A cook at Turtle Bay.