Smother.

Starring Jason Segel, Kristen Bell and Mila Kunis. Directed by Nicholas Stoller.
Running Time: 112 minutes
Rated: Rated MA 15+ (sex scenes, nudity, medium coarse language)

For many US comedy fans, it is now simply enough to invoke the name of Judd Apatow. As writer, producer and director in recent years, he has built up quite a reputation. He has also built up a group of actors who appear in many of his films like Jonah Hill, Bill Hader and Paul Rudd who do cameos in this one. Jason Segel appeared in Knocked Up and this time is writer and star.

Some of Apatow's films are very funny - but, on checking out with friends and reviewers, different films have very different impact. This reviewer enjoyed The 40 Year Old Virgin and Knocked Up but found Superbad far too crass. Forgetting Sarah Marshall is somewhere in between - with more moments to the good than the bad or superbad. They are raunchy. The makers are certainly not afraid of making jokes about sex. The film's are usually about gawky and awkward men (gawkward) who are either inhibited in their relationships with women or are too crass and need to learn respect which can move into friendship and love.

Segel, a tall and biggish man, plays a song-writer who is in love with a TV series star (Kristen Bell - who has been in several TV series so knows how to spoof them - along with some help at the beginning with William Baldwin and at the end with Jason Bateman). When she breaks with him for a British singer (Russell Brand doing his uninhibited and often hilarious schtick from his TV appearances in the UK), Segel goes into downward spiral of lack of self-image, desperation and a whole lot of poor-me male clichés. Mistaking the attentions of the courtesy officer at the Oahu hotel where he is advised to take refuge as a date, he becomes infatuated with her. This is not difficult as she is played with some verve by Mila Kunis (who is also a face from television having appeared in 200 episodes of The 70s Show and 92 of Family Guy).

This is more of a hit-and-miss comedy since Segel does not have the please-like-me charm of Steve Carell or the crass-but-reformable Seth Rogen. But, as in the Apatow comedies, despite the moments of crass and gross, the men have to grow up and discover both responsibility and love.

Out Now Universal

Fr Peter Malone MSC directs the film desk of SIGNIS: the World Association of Catholic Communicators, and is an associate of the Australian Catholic Office for Film & Broadcasting.

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