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A view from the Blu (-ray) on DVDBeaver by Leonard Norwitz


A Little Background     Openers     


    Modus Operandi     The Scorecard:     

Emotive Connection      Audio     Operations    Extras     The Movie     Equipment




Forgetting Sarah Marshall (Unrated) [Blu-ray]


(Nicholas Stoller, 2008)


Review by Leonard Norwitz



Theatrical: Universal Pictures

Blu-ray: Universal Studios Home Entertainment



Region: All

Runtime: 118 Min

Chapters: 20

Size: 50 GB

Case: Standard Amaray Blu-ray case

Release date: September 30, 2008



Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Resolution: 1080p

Video codec: AVC



English 5.1 DTS HD Master Audio; Spanish & French DTS 5.1



English, English SDH, Spanish & French



• Disc 2: Digital Copy

• Original & Extended/Unrated Versions

• Commentary for both Rated & Unrated Versions of the Movie by Director Nick Stoller, Producers Rodney Rothman & Shauna Robertson, Writer/Star Jason Segel & Cast Members Kristen Bell, Mila Kunis, Russell Brand & Jack McBrayer

• 11 Deleted & Extended Scenes (19:24)

• Line-O-Rama (same scenes with different jokes) (7:49)

• Gag Reel: Outtakes (5:44)

• A Taste for Love: A behind-the-scenes look at the puppets (6:17)

• Puppet Break-Up: Behind-the-scenes with Jason & the puppets (2:29)

• Sex-O-Rama: Unrated Montage of Jason's Sex Scene (2:42)

• Drunk-O-Rama: Montage of Jason's Drunken Hawaiian Night (2:29)

• Russell Brand: Aldous Snow, the British Rock Star (5:55)

• Music Video: We've Got To Do Something

• Crime Scene: Promos for Sarah's TV show

• Video Diaries: 20 days of shooting

• more . . .



Overview of the Ultimate Unrated Comedy Collection:
On September 30, Universal will release their "Ultimate Unrated Comedy Collection" (where "ultimate" modifies unrated, not comedy), comprising the raunchy work of Judd Aptow and friends: The 40 Year Old Virgin (2005), Knocked Up (2007), and Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008).

We might as well get this "Unrated" stuff out of the way first. You probably already know this but just to make sure: "Unrated" means just that: the film in this form has never been rated. What it does not mean is that you will see more of the luscious Miss Heigl in compromising or lascivious positions – with or without clothes, or anyone else of significance – unless Jason Segel's thing happens to be your thing. After all, these movies were only R-rated to start with - "for pervasive sexual content" among other things. (By the way, have you wondered what kind of nudity isn't graphic or how the unmodified term "language" is grounds for a rating of any kind?) With an eye to home video, more "R" material was shot, but you are likely to be disappointed if you expect titillation to be consummated.



The by now familiar faces of actors Paul Rudd, Seth Rogen and Jason Segel show up in two or more of these features as misguided nerds, dopeheads, narcissists and generally all-around losers. There are varying degrees of raunchiness and nudity – but the surprise of it all is that none of it is mean-spirited, and both sexes receive their share of demeaning stereotypes. The men are made much more the butt of raunchy humor of than the women, while the women seem to exist for the men to examine their existential problems. I think this is supposed to be funny, but for me – perhaps it's just my age – I simply find it trendy. I think my general objection is that once I am exposed to relatively uncharted images like a man pissing in his face because he can't get his erection to behave, I find no charm in revisiting them.

In the interests of full disclosure I must admit my default lack of interest in movies of this sort, so I was surprised that I not only was able to sit though them, but also found it easy to discriminate one from the other. I even found myself smiling now and then sometimes in recognition, sometimes at the outrageousness of it all, particularly evident in Knocked Up. But just because there exists in these movies a patina of sensitivity to real adult situations, doesn't in my view make them good movies. Forgetting Sarah Marshall is, I felt, the least guilty in this regard, partly because its writer and star, Jason Segel, doesn't attempt to examine the maturing process, or the lack of it, in such sweeping terms as Judd Aptow does in the other two movies.

What makes me want to watch even the loudest or silliest comedy over and over (think: Fawlty Towers, here) is that the audience learns the lesson, even if the character doesn't. Or, as in Valley Girl or The Sure Thing, the journey to change or acceptance is unclear. This was one of the things I admired about Mad About You: resolution came not from insight, but perspective. The same could be said for Some Like it Hot. In raunchy comedy, even these relatively good ones, I don't believe enough in the characters' journey. Perhaps it's because there are so many distractions – the very things that make them special, I imagine – that get in the way of my caring as much about them as I'd like.

The Movie:
Jason Segel, who has a small role in Knocked Up, wrote and stars in this romantic comedy about a schlub named Peter – a decent enough but lazy as hell chap, who lives off his fantasy of being the boyfriend of TV star, Sarah Marshall. The only problem is that he really is the boyfriend of TV star, Sarah Marshall, and has been for the past five years. Peter is your basic couch potato – or, maybe in his case, couch doughboy, for when we see him pressing his fully naked person against the likes of Miss Slim Kristen Bell we can only scratch our heads at the galactic comedy unfolding before us.

But Sarah has only dropped in to break up with Peter, having found someone else – and not recently, it turns out. The movie, as we could surmise from the title, consists of Peter's experiments in getting over his having been unceremoniously dumped. . .all of which could have easily devolved into porn or its drunken equivalent if it weren't for the lucky chance that he decides to go to Hawaii - to a favorite haunt of his and Sarah's to drown his sorrows – only to discover Sarah and her boyfriend at the same hotel. It's the completely and carelessly self-absorbed boyfriend – Aldous Snow, played by British comedian Russell Brand - more than anyone else, who makes FSM the kick in the delights that it is.

I had some trouble accepting how Peter manages to complete his transformation, which struck me as patently immature (and, God bless him – familiar). So, to paraphrase Col. Kurtz: Ah, la rondine. La rondine. La rondine. Jason Segel, seems an unlikely physical type for a leading man. Unlike Seth Rogen from Kocked Up, who seems to have almost nothing going for him out of the box, Jason reminds me in his expression and manner of the all too short-lived and underappreciated Victor Buono. Even though Segel has obvious talent beneath that marshmallow exterior, especially in the musical parts of the show, it remains to be seen what his future holds for him.



Image: 6/7.5
The first number indicates a relative level of excellence compared to other Blu-ray video discs on a ten-point scale. The second number places this image along the full range of DVD and Blu-ray discs.

I can't say this movie impresses on the visual level. The image isn't particularly sharp, though perhaps it doesn't need to be. I suppose it is helped by a high def presentation, but it's still kind of flat and not much to behold. Contrast is all over the map, and color seems to shift from greenish to reddish, mostly the former. These aren't dramatic problems, just a symptom of some kind of instability or carelessness.














Audio & Music: 7/6
Not much to brag about here either: I imagine that the dialogue is helped by its being uncompressed, but I wasn't able to make the comparison since here, as in other Universal Blu-rays, the 5.1 DD or DTS track is not included. Being the sort of movie that it is we wouldn't expect much more than clarity of dialogue and music (on and off screen), both of which are good.


Operations: 9
The menu is laid out like other Universal Blu-rays I have seen so far – and they are all very cleverly laid out, indeed. I like the arrows that tell you which way to direct you remote, and the bonus feature instructions are detailed and intuitive. High marks here. The chapter menu includes buttons for U-Control in case you want to approach those functions from that point. And there is also a way to adjust the PIP volume in the set-up menu.




Extras: 8
Like the other two movies in Universal's Ultimate Comedy Collection, this Blu-ray has an astonishing number of bonus features of various lengths, all in standard definition. Unlike the other two, however, it includes a Digital Copy disc to load into your PC, Mac or laptop. It also includes the 111-minute R-rated theatrical cut. Most of the extras are pretty self-explanatory and of variable interest. I liked most anything with Russell Brand, even in his own right as a TV host for the kiddies. Sex-O-Rama and Drunk-O-Rama montages are somewhat extended versions of what appears in the extended version of the movie. There's even a bit of skin in the sex-o-rama. The main audio commentary is more entertaining than informative, but I wouldn't have expected else. None of this is rolling in the aisles funny, but there's so much of it. Also, with a 2.0 player, you will be able to download stuff via BD-Live.



Bottom line: 7
FSM was written by one of the most unlikely actors to star in his own movie, Jason Segel, who reminds me in his expression and manner of the all too short-lived and underappreciated Victor Buono. Even though Segel has talent, especially in the musical parts of the show, it remains to be seen what his future holds for him.

Leonard Norwitz
September 28th, 2008




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