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Forgetting Sarah Marshall

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Forgetting Sarah Marshall
Theatrical release poster
Directed byNicholas Stoller
Written byJason Segel
Produced by
CinematographyRuss T. Alsobrook
Edited byWilliam Kerr
Music byLyle Workman
Distributed byUniversal Pictures
Release date
  • April 18, 2008 (2008-04-18)
Running time
111 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
Budget$30 million[2]
Box office$105.8 million[2]

Forgetting Sarah Marshall is a 2008 American romantic comedy film directed by Nicholas Stoller (in his feature directorial debut) and starring Jason Segel, Kristen Bell, Mila Kunis and Russell Brand. The film, which was written by Segel and co-produced by Judd Apatow, was released by Universal Pictures. 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 United Kingdom a week later on April 25, 2008.

The story revolves around Peter Bretter, who is a music composer for a TV show that features his girlfriend, Sarah Marshall, in the lead role. After a five-year relationship, Sarah abruptly breaks up with Peter. Devastated by this event, he chooses to go on vacation to Hawaii, in order to try to move forward with his life. Trouble ensues when he runs into Sarah on the island as she is on vacation with her latest boyfriend.


Composer Peter Bretter is devastated when his girlfriend of five years, TV actress Sarah Marshall, dumps him out of the blue. To get over Sarah, he decides to take a trip to Oahu. However, his hopes for a relaxing getaway are ruined when he learns that Sarah and her new boyfriend, British rock star Aldous Snow, are staying at the same resort as him. Rachel Jansen, a hotel concierge, takes pity on Peter's situation and offers him an expensive suite for free.

Peter's heartbreak is aggravated by awkward run-ins with Sarah and Aldous, along with seeing all the vacationing couples at the resort. Things improve when he begins spending time with Rachel and developing feelings for her. While hanging out one night, Peter confesses to Rachel that he hates his day job composing TV show music, and that his true passion would be writing a Dracula puppet comedy-rock opera. At a bar, Rachel volunteers Peter to sing a song from the opera and cheers him on as he performs the number.

On a day out hiking with Peter, Rachel dares him to jump off a cliff into the ocean. He makes the jump but is caught by some vines and is left dangling off the edge. With some prodding from Rachel, he lets go and safely lands in the water, after which she kisses him. Meanwhile, the relationship between Sarah and Aldous is showing signs of trouble. This is exacerbated by the news that Sarah's latest TV show has been canceled and that Aldous is about to embark on a world tour with his band, Infant Sorrow, for 18 months. At the same time, Peter's room is needed by new occupants and he is placed in the suite next door to Sarah's.

Aldous and Peter run into each other while surfing one day. During their conversation, Aldous reveals he and Sarah began having sex a full year before she broke up with Peter. When Peter later confronts Sarah about this, she tells him she began feeling disconnected emotionally from him and how she could no longer salvage their relationship.

Sarah becomes aware of the budding romance between Peter and Rachel and starts to feel jealous, while Peter begins to realize that his relationship with Sarah wasn't as good as he remembered. Sarah, Aldous, Peter, and Rachel later share an awkward, drunken dinner together. After the dinner, Peter takes Rachel back to his hotel room and they begin to have sex. Hearing them through the wall, Sarah tries to compete with the couple by initiating sex with Aldous and moaning loudly. When Aldous realizes Sarah is trying to provoke a reaction from Peter, he pushes her off and tells her she's clearly not over her ex-boyfriend. They bicker furiously, prompting Aldous to announce that the relationship is over.

The next day, Peter learns Aldous has broken up with Sarah and is flying back to England. Peter goes to Sarah's room to console her, which leads to Sarah admitting she still loves him and wants to reconcile. The two start to engage in sexual activity, but Peter abruptly cuts it off because of his feelings for Rachel. He immediately goes to Rachel to confess what happened, but she is hurt and demands that he leave and never contact her again. Before leaving, Peter goes to the bar they visited and removes a topless photo of her that was hung in the restroom's art collage without her consent. He returns the photo to her, bruised from a beatdown by the bar owner.

He flies back to Los Angeles and after a period of sadness and self-loathing, he begins working on his Dracula puppet 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 successful performance, Rachel congratulates Peter and tells him she's looking into staying 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. The film ends as they embrace and kiss.


In extended versions of the film, Kristen Wiig appears as Prana, a yoga instructor.[4]


The puppets seen in the film were created by Jim Henson's Creature Shop.[5]

The following animate the puppets in this film:


Judd Apatow was very involved in the casting process and the development of the script.[5][6] Regarding the nudity in the film, director Nicholas Stoller added that the first draft of the script called for Peter to get dressed after the breakup, but Apatow thought it would be funnier if the character stayed naked the entire time. Stoller confirmed the picture of Mila Kunis used in the film was created on a computer and not real.[7]


Filming was completed in Hawaii and Los Angeles. Filming in Oahu was done over 33 days.[5] Other filming locations included Laie Point (the cliff jumping scene), Mokuleia Beach, and Keawa'ula Bay.[5] The interior of Lazy Joe's bar was actually the bar Le Barcito in Silver Lake.[5]

While filming, lead actor Jason Segel told a New York Times interviewer that the naked breakup scenes were based on a real-life experience he had.[8] The film features a great deal of improvised dialogue; according to Stoller, it's "60 or 70 percent scripted and then 30 or 40 percent improv".[9]


Segel and Lyle Workman wrote music for the film, which includes music by Infant Sorrow and a song from the Dracula musical.[5] Eric Carmen, Blondie, and Kenny Loggins were also used in previews for the film.


Forgetting Sarah Marshall: Original Soundtrack
Soundtrack album by
Various Artists
ReleasedApril 22, 2008
LabelVerve Forecast/Capitol

The soundtrack of Forgetting Sarah Marshall was released on April 22, 2008.[10]

1."Love You Madly" (Cake)3:58
2."We've Got to Do Something" (Infant Sorrow)3:33
3."You Can't Break a Heart and Have It" (Black Francis)2:37
4."Get Me Away From Here, I'm Dying" (Belle & Sebastian)3:25
5."More Than Words" (Aloha Sex Juice)3:12
6."Dracula's Lament" (Jason Segel)1:23
7."Inside of You" (Infant Sorrow)2:50
8."Fucking Boyfriend" (The Bird and the Bee)3:14
9."Intensified '68 (Music Like Dirt)" (Desmond Dekker)2:43
10."Nothing Compares 2 U" (The Coconutz, a cover version translated into Hawaiian)5:58
11."Baby" (Os Mutantes)3:37
12."These Boots Are Made for Walkin'" (The Coconutz)2:52
13."A Taste for Love" (Forgetting Sarah Marshall Cast)2:04
14."The Secret Sun" (Jesse Harris)3:45
15."Everybody Hurts" (The Coconutz)6:03
16."Animal Instincts" (The Transcenders featuring J7 D'Star)1:14

Several songs are featured in the film that were not included on the soundtrack, including "Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now" by The Smiths and the version of "Nothing Compares 2 U" by Sinéad O'Connor, both of which are heard in the background during the scene in which Peter's brother deletes all of Peter's photos.[11][5] "Amber" by 311 can be heard in the background during the bar scene after Peter and Rachel's first date, as well as "Playa Azul" from Los Amigos Invisibles. "Move Your Feet" by Junior Senior is briefly played in background in the scene at the beginning when they are showing Access Hollywood clips. Another song not featured on the soundtrack is "Heavy Lifting" from New York band Ambulance Ltd.


The film was promoted with a "teaser" billboard campaign, featuring the text "I hate Sarah Marshall"[12] and the address of the film's website.[13] Promotion also included a mock website for a Sarah Marshall fan page[14] and a mock website from NBC of Sarah Marshall's fictional TV show Crime Scene: Scene of the Crime.[15]

In its opening weekend, the film grossed $17.7 million in 2,798 theaters in the United States and Canada, ranking No. 2 at the box office behind The Forbidden Kingdom, and averaging $6,335 per theater in the US and per theater in Canada.[16] It opened behind other Apatow productions such as Superbad, Knocked Up, The 40-Year-Old Virgin and Talladega Nights,[17] but ahead of contemporary Apatow films Walk Hard[17] and Drillbit Taylor.[18]

Forgetting Sarah Marshall grossed $105.8 million worldwide; $63.2 million in North America and $42.6 million in other territories.[19]

Home media[edit]

The DVD and Blu-ray editions were released on September 30, 2008. At the DVD sales chart, Forgetting Sarah Marshall opened at #2 and sold 652,000 units, translating to $12,905,492 in revenue. As of (November 2009) 1,785,744 DVD units have been sold, acquiring revenue of $29,145,295. This does not include Blu-ray sales/DVD rentals.[20]

It was released in a single-disc DVD edition, a three-disc collector's DVD edition, a two-disc Blu-ray edition, and the Ultimate Unrated Comedy Collection containing the collectors' editions of Forgetting Sarah Marshall, The 40-Year-Old Virgin, and Knocked Up on either DVD or Blu-ray Disc.[21] It was released on DVD in Australia (region 4) on August 20, 2008 in a single and 2-Disc Unforgettable Edition and was also released on Blu-ray in Australia on November 5, 2008.


Forgetting Sarah Marshall received positive reviews from critics. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports that 83% of 185 critics have given the film a positive review, with a rating average of 7.00/10. The site's consensus reads, "With ample laughs and sharp performances, Forgetting Sarah Marshall finds just the right mix of romantic and raunchy comedy."[22] Metacritic reported the film had an average score of 67 out of 100, based on 37 reviews.[23] Audiences surveyed by CinemaScore gave the film a grade B on scale of A to F.[24]

Matt Pais of the Chicago Tribune said it's "the kind of movie you could watch all day because, like a new flame, you can't get enough of its company and are just glad to see where it takes you."[25] Michael Phillips, also of the Tribune, wrote "this story of one man's rebound has a heart to go with its comic nerve", and "Segel (star of the TV series 'How I Met Your Mother') has what Nicolas Cage and Gene Wilder and a precious handful of other witty actors have: the ability to make egregious humiliation and painful neediness a source of limitless mirth".[5] Richard Roeper praised the film for its laugh-out-loud moments as well as its worthiness to be an instant classic and went as far as to say he would put it on his list of 50 favorite comedies of all time.[26]

Other positive reviews come from Entertainment Weekly who gave the film a B+ and applauded "Jason Segel's riff on varieties of male bewilderment,"[27] and Mick LaSalle of the San Francisco Chronicle, who wrote "Segel's breakthrough movie, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, deserves to ride the wave of the latest, hottest micro-trend in pictures: the romantic comedy for guys."[28]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Forgetting Sarah Marshall was nominated for five awards at the 2008 Teen Choice Awards, but did not win any of them. The nominations were:[29]

On The Comedy Festival Presents: Funniest Movies of the Year 2008 special on TBS, Forgetting Sarah Marshall was voted The Funniest Film of 2008.[30]

Follow-up spin-off[edit]

Get Him to the Greek is the spin-off/follow-up to Forgetting Sarah Marshall. The film was released on June 4, 2010, reuniting director Nicholas Stoller and producer Judd Apatow with stars Russell Brand and Jonah Hill. Brand reprises his role of Aldous Snow, while Hill plays an entirely new character. Bell also briefly reprises her role as Sarah Marshall, appearing in a promotion for NBC drama Blind Medicine where she portrays a visually impaired surgeon.


  1. ^ "Forgetting Sarah Marshall (15)". British Board of Film Classification. Retrieved January 22, 2024.
  2. ^ a b "Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008)". Box Office Mojo. July 20, 2011. Retrieved July 20, 2011.
  3. ^ "Meeting Kunu - Forgetting Sarah Marshall". EVTV1. Archived from the original on June 6, 2011. Retrieved July 18, 2009.
  4. ^ "Forgetting Sarah Marshall (5/11) Movie CLIP - Yoga Class (2008) HD". YouTube. May 27, 2011. Retrieved January 22, 2024.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h "Forgetting Sarah Marshall production notes". Universal Pictures. Archived from the original on May 11, 2008. Retrieved January 22, 2024.
  6. ^ Williams, Phillip (May 21, 2013). "The Fire Inside: Jason Segel Resurrects The Muppets". MovieMaker. Retrieved January 22, 2024.
  7. ^ Haramis, Nick (April 13, 2008). "The Unforgettable Nick Stoller". BlackBook Magazine. Archived from the original on February 15, 2021. Retrieved June 26, 2011.
  8. ^ Itzkoff, Dave (April 13, 2008). "A Young Actor With Nothing to Hide". The New York Times. Retrieved March 5, 2010.
  9. ^ Potosky, Mallory (April 14, 2008). "Nick Stoller Can't Forget Sarah Marshall". MovieMaker.com. Archived from the original on September 6, 2008. Retrieved March 5, 2010.
  10. ^ "Forgetting Sarah Marshall [Original Motion Picture Soundtrack]". AllMusic. Retrieved January 22, 2024.
  11. ^ "Soundtrack: Forgetting Sarah Marshall". Soundtrack Radar. Retrieved January 22, 2024.
  12. ^ "Ads give Sarah Marshalls some unwanted exposure". Los Angeles Times. March 27, 2008. Retrieved January 22, 2024.
  13. ^ "I Hate Sarah Marshall". ihatesarahmarshall.com. Archived from the original on May 26, 2008. Retrieved January 22, 2024.
  14. ^ "Sarah Marshall Fan Page". sarahmarshallfan.com. Archived from the original on May 15, 2008. Retrieved January 22, 2024.
  15. ^ "Crime Scene: Scene of the Crime". NBC. Archived from the original on May 23, 2008. Retrieved January 22, 2024.
  16. ^ "Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008) - Weekend Box Office Results". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved April 23, 2008.
  17. ^ a b "Box Office History for Judd Apatow Movies". The Numbers. Retrieved January 22, 2024.
  18. ^ "Drillbit Taylor (2008) - Weekend Box Office Results". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved April 23, 2008.
  19. ^ "Forgetting Sarah Marshall". The Numbers. Retrieved August 2, 2008.
  20. ^ "Forgetting Sarah Marshall - DVD Sales". The Numbers. Retrieved June 20, 2011.
  21. ^ "Forgetting Sarah Marshall - Releases". AllMovie. Retrieved January 22, 2024.
  22. ^ "Forgetting Sarah Marshall". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved November 30, 2021.
  23. ^ "Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008): Reviews". Metacritic. Archived from the original on January 25, 2010. Retrieved April 23, 2008.
  24. ^ "Cinemascore". Archived from the original on December 20, 2018. Retrieved August 20, 2019.
  25. ^ Pais, Matt (April 18, 2008). "Forgetting Sarah Marshall". Chicago Tribune. Archived from the original on May 11, 2008.
  26. ^ Roeper, Richard (April 19, 2008). "Forgetting Sarah Marshall". At the Movies. Season 22. Episode 42. Event occurs at 15:05. ABC. Retrieved January 22, 2024.
  27. ^ Schwarzbaum, Lisa (April 18, 2008). "EW review: Remember 'Sarah Marshall'". CNN.com. Retrieved May 2, 2010.
  28. ^ LaSalle, Mick (April 18, 2008). "Movie review: He can't forget 'Sarah Marshall'". San Francisco Chronicle.
  29. ^ "2008 Teen Choice Awards winners and nominees". Los Angeles Times. June 17, 2008. Archived from the original on September 12, 2008. Retrieved April 20, 2021.
  30. ^ "TBS Celebrates the Year's Best Comedy Movies with Funniest Movies of the Year: 2008". The Futon Critic. November 13, 2008. Retrieved January 22, 2024.

External links[edit]