Ruddtrospective #13: When Life Gives You Lemons

Some spoilers for the movie Forgetting Sarah Marshall, as well as some questions as to why anyone would ever think the spin-off, Get Him To The Greek, was a good idea

I’ve mentioned before what an insane year for movies 2008 was. Hollywood managed to reach a perfect ratio of great films and terrible films that we now make fun of. Comedies in particular seemed to reach a brief renaissance. In the span of one year, we got Role Models, Mike Myers’ The Love Guru, Mamma Mia!, Adam Sandler’s You Don’t Mess With The Zohan, Kung Fu Panda, Larry the Cable Guy’s Witless Protection, Pineapple Express, Bedtime Stories, Step Brothers, Baby Mama, Kit Kittredge, Space Chimps, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, The Happening, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2, Definitely, Maybe, 27 Dresses, Zack and Miri Make a Porno, Tropic Thunder, Twilight, Yes Man, and, of course, The Pirates Who Don’t Do A Thing: A Veggie Tales Movie. You can tell it was a good year because I just listed 22 movies, and only 10 of them were jokes. And in this year of excellent comedies, Paul Rudd managed to put forth two beloved comedic performances. I understand why Role Models has endured. It’s very funny, and he’s very good in it. But somehow, despite only being in the movie for ten minutes, his role in Forgetting Sarah Marshall has become one of his most iconic and beloved performances. People are still quoting his character, Kunu, 14 years later. And he’s in maybe three scenes. I’m obviously not complaining. He’s funny in this. But I thought I should point that out before I get into the review. Oh, and Over Her Dead Body came out in 2008 as well. I’ve reviewed it already. It’s fine.

Forgetting Sarah Marshall stars Jason Segel, Kristen Bell, Mila Kunis, Russell Brand, Bill Hader, Liz Cackowski, Jack McBrayer, Taylor Wily, Da’Vone McDonald, Jonah Hill, and Paul Rudd. There are also cameos from Kristen Wiig, Billy Baldwin, and Jason Bateman.

Jason Segel plays a composer named Peter Bretter, who is dating Sarah Marshall, a famous actress from a popular TV police procedural called Crime Scene: Scene of the Crime(I love when people make light of the absolute lack of creativity it takes to make a police procedural. Even the beloved ones. Criminal Minds, for instance, seems like yet another copy of a copy of a copy of something that wasn’t that good to begin with. I’m not watching it.). Right at the beginning of the movie, Sarah Marshall dumps Peter, because she has begun an affair with pop star Aldous Snow(Russell Brand). Oh and he gets dumped while naked. For a while Peter is really sad about this, and exhibits some classic patented Jason Segel depression. There are few people better than him at being miserable and making it super funny. He quits his job as composer for Sarah’s show. He didn’t really like it anyway, since it’s mostly just playing the same ominous notes over and over. I think at some point he talks about working on his passion project, which we’ll get to later. After a montage of him doing a bunch of dumb stuff, Peter’s step brother(The wonderful Bill Hader) convinces him to go on vacation.
Peter makes a dumb move and decides to go to a Hawaiian resort that Sarah Marshall mentioned at one point. So she is also at the same resort when he arrives. Twist! Right when he arrives he meets Rachel(Mila Kunis), a very kind woman who works at the resort. I’m rewatching this right now, by the way. This is a very funny movie. I knew I liked this movie, but I forgot how funny it is. Jonah Hill also shows up a lot as a very funny waiter/drug dealer who is in love with Aldous Snow. He also went on to costar with Russell Brand in Get Him To The Greek, the pseudo follow up to this movie. Russell Brand plays the same character, but Jonah Hill apparently plays someone else. I didn’t watch it and I don’t plan to because it looks horrible.
Hell yeah!!! I am now 31 minutes in, and my reason for reviewing this has arrived. Peter has just gone to take surfing lessons from a mysterious man named Koonu…

PETER: Hey. Are you Chuck?
KOONU: Oh, man. You know, they won’t change that flyer. That’s my mainland name. My Hawaiian name is Koonu.
PETER: Oh, cool. Sorry.
KOONU: No, it’s all good.
PETER: Does Koonu have some, like, cool Hawaiian meaning?
KOONU: It means Chuck. I plugged it into a database. There’s a thing you can go on, on the internet. You just type in your name. And it, it just says it. What’s your name?
PETER: I’m Peter.
KOONU: Peter. I’m gonna give you a Hawaiian name.
PETER: Oh, great.
KOONU: Pepiopi.
PETER: Great.
KOONU: Pepiopi, looks like you’ve got a little pain behind those eyes.
PETER: Yeah, maybe a little.
KOONU: There’s really only one cure for that.
PETER: What’s that?
KOONU: Weed. You got any?
PETER: No.
KOONU: Oh. Well then let’s go surfing.

I don’t know how he managed to make this role so funny. Because everything about the way he plays this character is funny. The physicality, the way he says the lines. It’s so good. Some other great Koonu moments:

KOONU: The weather outside is weather.

PETER: How long you lived out here?
KOONU: Man, I don’t know. I quit wearing a watch when I moved out here.
PETER: Wow, that’s so cool.
KOONU: Yeah. No, like my cell phone has a clock on it. So I don’t really need it.

KOONU: Hey, here’s the deal. When life gives you lemons, just say “Fuck the lemons”, and bail.

There’s a really funny scene where Peter helps this guy named Kemo kill a pig. I know I’ve mentioned it, but I really like this movie. Jason Segel also wrote the movie, which is cool. For the rest of the movie, Peter has a lot more awkward encounters with Sarah and Aldous while he falls in love with Rachel. Eventually Sarah starts to like Peter again, which leads her and Aldous to argue and then break up. Sarah then tries to have sex with Peter and get back together with him. And when Peter tells Rachel what happened, she dumps him and says she never wants to see him again. So Peter goes back home and finishes writing his Dracula rock opera with puppets. That’s actually what happens. And we get to see the final scene. Insane, I know. And I’m pretty sure the puppet bit is the reason Jason Segel ended up in The Muppet Movie. I think he’s a big muppet fan. So what happens in the end? Does Peter end up with Rachel? I’m not gonna say. I didn’t talk about a lot of other great scenes and side characters in this movie and everyone should watch this. It’s very funny.
And every actor in this is also just really great. Kristen Bell is funny, sad, and mean, all at the same time. Which is no surprise. She’s very talented and awesome. Mila Kunis is also super funny and charming. I don’t usually like Russell Brand in things, but he’s awesome in this. He seems like an absolute asshole, but he’s also really charming and funny at the same time. Just watch this movie. It’s very, very funny.

Overall Rating: 8.5/10(It’s just much better than a normal romantic comedy. And much weirder, too. It’s insane that this came out the same year as Role Models. They’re very different in tone, but both great.)
Rudd Rating: 11/10(If done right, a supporting comedic role could make your movie so much better. Like Fogell/McLovin in Superbad. This is another good example. He’s great in this, and everything else.)

I hope you enjoyed this! Next time I think I’m going to talk about everyone’s favorite Paul Rudd movie, Dinner for Schmucks! So come back for that.

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