The Red Right Hand
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FORGETTING SARAH MARSHALL
The Ultimate Romantic Disaster Movie

Director
Nicholas Stoller

Starring
Jason Segel
Kristen Bell
Mila Kunis
Russell Brand

God, it's bloody Juno all over again; a popular comedy gets released, receives critical acclaim and because I don't like it I am instantly dubbed a grumpy, heartless bastard. The premise is very simple, a lazy musician/TV composer, Peter [Segel], is dumped by his TV actress girlfriend, Sarah [Bell], for eccentric Brit-rocker, Aldous Snow [Brand]. In a drastic attempt to forget his ex, Peter vacates to Hawaii, only to be stuck in the same hotel as his ex-girlfriend and her new bloke. Comedy ensues. To be honest, I'm a little surprised this film is doing so well in America, considering the plot is so tired and dull; granted, it's fairly well acted in places but this is essentially a tacky version of The Heartbreak Kid.

The whole film is incredibly stale and littered with stereotypical sub-characters; the comical fat guy, the obsessive fan, the stoner surfer dude, the stuffy Christian, etc. Furthermore, the leads simply do not gel at all. Kristen Bell's portrayal of Sarah Marshall is a little flimsy but the problems can be found in the dramatic emotional swerves between point of audience sympathy and ditzy, selfish, socialite blonde. The competing female lead is Mila Kunis, the hotel concierge, Rachel. She was probably the most difficult to read as her character has little focus or drive and her objectives are never really that clear.

Sex and sexuality are a big message behind this film. Unfortunately, I couldn't exactly translate what that message was. It might have had something to do with one night stands or trust or some crap but other than that, I was a little lost. I could clearly see the fact that because a guy feels anxious about sex, he should instantly fear that his marriage is on the rocks and that sex is the eye-opening turning point of a relationship but other than that, your guess is as good as mine. Having said that, I don't want to leave you with the impression that I'm a stuffy old man who complains at every ounce of sex in a movie but I have a point to mention about the nudity. Rather than direct this at the film, I would like to address the astonishing reaction of the general public. If you don't already know, Jason Segel exposes his flaccid penis for 2-3 seconds, nearly five times in the movie. Such a simple thing has caused such a wave of controversy and debate that I am genuinely surprised: an exposed female is now the standard in films but it is still largely taboo to show a whang. But that's beside the point, what I'm getting at is that it in no way affected or altered my perception of this film and that's all I have to say on the matter.

There are, however, a few notes to highlight. First of all the editing is done well, focusing largely on Peter's memories of Sarah at the most inappropriate of times. That and the laughs are quite steady and fairly funny. However, there were moments of complete surreal pointlessness - a certain conversation between Sarah and Rachel comes to mind - that could have easily been reworked or cut completely. By comparison, the Farelly brothers are the uncrowned kings of gross-out adult humour but this feature feels a little lost, hollow and devoid of substance, wishing it was half as entertaining or memorable as There's Something About Mary or Kingpin.

Release Date:
25th April 2008

The Scene To Look Out For:
I'm not a big fan of the many derivations of CSI so the pot-shots at the formulaic layout, cheesy one-liners and ridiculous scenarios of the series greatly amused me.

Notable Characters:
Russell Brand? I have attached a question mark to the end of that because I am genuinely quite confused by my choice; it's like Clive Owen all over again. I used to really hate Russell Brand, I felt he was a pretentious, over-rated, over-sexed moron but having sampled his stand-up routines and witnessed his performance in this film I'm actually starting to like him. He literally plays himself in this film, an odd looking London boy who ponces around saying and doing as he pleases but you can't help but like the bastard. The obscure truth is that he successfully steals almost every scene he is in and demonstrates that he is a very capable actor.

Highlighted Quote:
"Let's just go with something dark and ominous... like getting your penis cut off is a bad thing"

In A Few Words:
"I honestly don't see what everyone is raving about, this film is pretty mediocre"

Total Score:
5/10


Matthew Stogdon