Forgetting Sarah Marshall

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Forgetting Sarah Marshall
Forgetting sarah marshall ver2.jpg
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 comedy film directed by Nicholas Stoller 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 happens to feature 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 his ex on the island as she is on vacation with her new boyfriend.


Composer Peter Bretter is in a five-year relationship with actress Sarah Marshall, who stars in a CSI-like television show titled Crime Scene: Scene of the Crime. One day, as Peter stands stark naked in their apartment, Sarah abruptly announces that she is breaking up with him. Devastated and unable to banish his grief through one-night stands, Peter, against the advice of his ex-stepbrother and best friend Brian, takes a trip to Hawaii and stays at Turtle Bay resort. However, the vacation is ruined when he learns that Sarah and her new British rock star boyfriend Aldous Snow are also guests of the resort. Taking pity on him, hotel concierge Rachel Jansen offers him an incredibly expensive suite for free in exchange for cleaning up the room himself.

Peter begins spending time with Rachel and starts to develop feelings for her. Meanwhile, the relationship between Sarah and Aldous begins to falter. Much of the discord is triggered by the news that Sarah's TV show has been cancelled and that Aldous is about to embark on a world tour with his rock group, Infant Sorrow, for 18 months. Peter is later forced to move to the room next to Sarah's after Dakota Fanning and her team book the suite. During a day of surf and sand, Aldous and Peter run into each other and begin talking. Inadvertently, Aldous informs Peter that he and Sarah began having sex a full year before she broke up with Peter. When Peter confronts Sarah, she tells him she began feeling disconnected emotionally from him, and she couldn't do anything to make their relationship work. Further exacerbating the situation is Sarah's obvious jealousy of the budding relationship between Peter and Rachel, while Peter (through observing Sarah's relationship with Aldous) begins to realize that his relationship with her wasn't as great as he remembered.

Sarah, Aldous, Peter, and Rachel share an awkward dinner. After dinner, Peter takes Rachel back to his hotel room, and they begin to have sex. Sarah hears them through the wall and initiates sex with Aldous, moaning loudly for the benefit of the couple next door, and Rachel and Peter turn the situation into a competition and become even louder. When Aldous realizes Sarah is clearly putting on a performance to provoke a reaction from Peter, he pushes her off and tells her the trip was a mistake as she's clearly not over Peter. They bicker furiously, prompting Aldous to announce that the relationship is over and that he has been cheating on her. The next day, Peter encounters Aldous and learns that he and Sarah have broken up and that he is returning to England alone. He and Peter part amicably. Peter goes to Sarah's room to console her, where she admits she is still in love with him and tries to rekindle their romance. The two start to engage in sexual activity, but Peter is unable to achieve an erection due to his ambivalent feelings towards Sarah, despite her performing oral sex on him. He realizes that he has become much happier with Rachel and berates Sarah for treating him badly in the first place. Peter 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 takes down a picture of Rachel flashing her breasts that is on the wall of the men's room at a local bar. He returns it to her, fulfilling her wish, despite enduring a beat-down from the bar's owner.

He flies back to Los Angeles and, after a period of sadness and self-loathing, begins working on his Dracula puppet comedy-rock opera, A Taste for Love. He sends an invitation to Rachel for the opening night performance. Although hesitant at first, Rachel eventually decides to attend. After the successful performance, Rachel congratulates Peter and tells him she's looking into attending college 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, where she finds him stark naked, just as he was when Sarah dumped him. The film ends with a mid-credits promo of Sarah starring in a new television show titled Animal Instincts where she plays a character who can read animals' minds, meaning that she couldn't fulfill her dream of being a movie star and is still working on critically panned projects.


  • Jason Segel as Peter Bretter: A slobbish but well-meaning composer for the TV show Crime Scene: Scene of the Crime. On the side, he is working on a Dracula-based rock opera involving puppets called A Taste for Love in which he performs as Count Dracula.
  • Kristen Bell as Sarah Marshall: A famous actress on the TV show Crime Scene: Scene of the Crime who dated Peter before leaving him for rock star Aldous Snow.
  • Mila Kunis as Rachel Jansen: A receptionist for the Hawaiian resort Turtle Bay with whom Peter forms a relationship during his stay at the hotel.
  • Russell Brand as Aldous Snow: Sarah Marshall's charismatic British rock star boyfriend, lead singer of the group Infant Sorrow. The same character is later seen in Get Him to the Greek, also portrayed by Brand.
  • Bill Hader as Brian Bretter: Peter's stepbrother and best friend who usually criticizes him for the better. He helped out in his stepbrother's A Taste for Love opera where he performed Van Helsing.
  • Jonah Hill as Matthew Van Der Wyk: A waiter at Turtle Bay and obsessive fan of Aldous.
  • Liz Cackowski as Liz Bretter: Brian's wife, who was his one and only girlfriend and who usually sneaks in on Brian's computer conversations.
  • Da'Vone McDonald as Dwayne: A bartender at Turtle Bay. Dwayne was originally from South-Central Los Angeles, and hated it there, until he moved to Oahu, where he learned to name over two hundred different kinds of fish.
  • Jack McBrayer as Darald Braden: A guest at the resort who does not know how to satisfy the sexual desires of his new wife.
  • Maria Thayer as Wyoma Braden: Wife of Darald.
  • Paul Rudd as Chuck / Kunu:[3] An air-headed surfing instructor who is 44 years of age by his own estimate.
  • Jason Bateman as Animal Instincts Detective: A character on Sarah Marshall's latest show, Animal Instincts.
  • William Baldwin as Himself / Det. Hunter Rush: In the film's universe, Baldwin is the "hard-to-love" co-star on Sarah's show. He is referred to as "Billy Baldwin" and Peter briefly suspects him of having an affair with Sarah.
  • Teila Tuli as Kimo: A cook at Turtle Bay.
  • Branscombe Richmond as Keoki: The bartender who beats up Peter when he takes down Rachel's picture from the bar.
  • Kristen Wiig (unrated version) as Prana: A yoga instructor.


The puppets seen in the film were created by Jim Henson's Creature Shop. The following animate the puppets in this film:[4]


Stoller stated that Judd Apatow was very involved in the casting process and the development of the script. Regarding the nudity in the film, 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.[5]


Filming was completed in Hawaii and Los Angeles. 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.[6] The film features a great deal of improvised dialogue; according to director Nicholas Stoller, it's "60 or 70 percent scripted and then 30 or 40 percent improv".[7]


Segel and Lyle Workman wrote music for the film, which includes music by Infant Sorrow and a song from the Dracula musical. 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.

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. "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" and the address of the film's website.

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.[8] It opened behind other Apatow productions such as Superbad, Knocked Up, The 40-Year-Old Virgin and Talladega Nights,[9] but ahead of contemporary Apatow films Walk Hard[9] and Drillbit Taylor.[10]

Forgetting Sarah Marshall grossed $105.8 million worldwide; $63.2 million in North America and $42.6 million in other territories.[11]

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.[12]

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. 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."[13] Metacritic reported the film had an average score of 67 out of 100, based on 37 reviews.[14] Audiences surveyed by CinemaScore gave the film a grade B on scale of A to F.[15]

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."[16] 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.[17]

Other positive reviews come from Entertainment Weekly who gave the film a B+ and applauded "Jason Segel's riff on varieties of male bewilderment,"[18] 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."[19]

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:[20]

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

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. March 3, 2008. Retrieved July 17, 2015.
  2. ^ a b "Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008)". Box Office Mojo. July 20, 2011. Retrieved July 20, 2011.
  3. ^ "Meeting Kunu - Forgetting Sarah Marshall". Archived from the original on June 6, 2011. Retrieved July 18, 2009.
  4. ^ "Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008)". IMDb.
  5. ^ Haramis, Nick (April 13, 2008). "The Unforgettable Nick Stoller". BlackBook Magazine. Retrieved June 26, 2011.
  6. ^ Itzkoff, Dave (April 13, 2008). "A Young Actor With Nothing to Hide". The New York Times. Retrieved March 5, 2010.
  7. ^ Potosky, Mallory (April 14, 2008). "Nick Stoller Can't Forget Sarah Marshall". Archived from the original on September 6, 2008. Retrieved March 5, 2010.
  8. ^ "Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008) - Weekend Box Office Results". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved April 23, 2008.
  9. ^ a b "Judd Apatow Movie Box Office Results". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved April 23, 2008.
  10. ^ "Drillbit Taylor (2008) - Weekend Box Office Results". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved April 23, 2008.
  11. ^ "Forgetting Sarah Marshall". The Numbers. Retrieved August 2, 2008.
  12. ^ "Forgetting Sarah Marshall - DVD Sales". The Numbers. Retrieved June 20, 2011.
  13. ^ "Forgetting Sarah Marshall Movie Reviews, Pictures - Rotten Tomatoes". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved November 30, 2021.
  14. ^ "Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008): Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved April 23, 2008.
  15. ^ "Cinemascore". Archived from the original on December 20, 2018. Retrieved August 20, 2019.
  16. ^ Matt Pais (April 18, 2008). "Forgetting Sarah Marshall". Metromix Chicago. Archived from the original on May 11, 2008.
  17. ^ Ebert & Roeper review of Forgetting Sarah Marshall[dead link]
  18. ^ "EW review: Remember 'Sarah Marshall' -". CNN. April 18, 2008. Retrieved May 2, 2010.
  19. ^ Mick LaSalle (April 18, 2008). "Movie review: He can't forget 'Sarah Marshall'". San Francisco Chronicle.
  20. ^ "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.

External links[edit]