Sunday, April 27, 2008
Movie Reviews: BABY MAMA & FORGETTING SARAH MARSHALL
Kate (Tina Fey) is a single woman with a successful career who is longing to have a baby. However, instead of putting her climb up the corporate ladder on hold to get pregnant, she hires a surrogate mom (Amy Poehler) to have the kid for her.
Cast Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Greg Kinnear, Dax Shepard, Romany Malco, Maura Tierney (more)
Director(s) Michael McCullers
Writer(s) Michael McCullers
Status In theaters (wide)
Release Date April 25, 2008
Running Time 96 minutes
MPAA Rating PG-13 - for crude and sexual humor, language and a drug reference
I had fairly low expectations coming into Baby Mama just because it looked like the paint by the numbers saccharine filled flick that I usually avoid. The only reason I decided to take a peek was because I'm a huge fan of Tina Fey. Fey didn't have anything to do with the writing here and it shows fairly quickly. The writing is generally safe and hardly what I'd call cutting edge. The plot moves along at a brisk pace and nothing is terribly surprising along the way. Needless to say there isn't anything shiny or new here and the film is directed with sitcom sensibilities. All that being said I laughed for the better part of the film's short run time. Fey and Poehler play off each other extremely well which comes as no surprise. I can't say they actually elevate the film to some great heights but they make the entire enterprise enjoyable and while you'll probably forget the majority of the film by the time you walk out, you won't mind having spent the time. This is mainly dude to Fey and Poehler's general likeability. You just like watching them on screen even if Poehler acts like an over grown 12 year old throughout. Romany Malco has a fun little supporting role as Fey's doorman. Greg Kinnear is there and pretty much serves as someone to match up with Fey's character, aside from that he's not given much too do in general. The movie has some big flaws and they are most apparent as the film heads toward its inevitable conclusion. Still, it's lighthearted safe comedy that keeps a smile and produces a chuckle throughout.
FORGETTING SARAH MARSHALL
Peter Bretter (Jason Segel), the loyal and adoring boyfriend of TV star Sarah Marshall (Kristen Bell), has his heart ripped from his chest when she unceremoniously dumps him for a trendy rock star (Russell Brand). After wallowing in his own misery for several months, Peter decides to take a trip to Hawaii to cheer himself up. Those dreams are dashed, though, when he finds out Sarah and her boy-toy are staying at the same hotel. But things aren't so bad once he starts dating one of the resort's hot employees (Mila Kunis).
Cast Jason Segel, Kristen Bell, Mila Kunis, Russell Brand, Bill Hader, Paul Rudd
Director(s) Nick Stoller
Writer(s) Jason Segel
Status In theaters (wide)
Release Date April 18, 2008
Running Time 112 minutes
MPAA Rating R - for sexual content, language and some graphic nudity
Forgetting Sarah Marshall combines the tried and now true Apatow formula of using outlandish bawdiness to deliver some really heart felt messages. While Forgetting Sarah Marshall doesn't top it's predecessors it does work better as a slow burn comedy. Nothing feels rushed or hurried and it all unfolds organically making it feel very authentic. Jason Segel doesn't try to be the super comedy leading man ala Steve Carrel or Seth Rogan, instead he just carries this perpetual face of sadness and depression for the better part of the film. He's pretty much the visualization of every broken hearted person dealing with being dumped. Segel lays it all on the line, in more ways than one, from very early on and he just creates such a wonderfully sad sack of pain that it's hard not to feel bad for the guy. Kristen Bell is adequately cold if not totally evil, thanks to the script, but she does seem a bit out of her element in comedy and doesn't ever really seem to get a firm footing on how to play Sarah. Mila Kunis on the other hand is great as the hotel employee sent from heaven. She's very comfortable in her role and none of her performance feels forced. Apatow production regulars Paul Rudd and Johan Hill flesh out the locale with fun little bit characters that actually did remind me of a few people I've met on the islands before. Jack McBrayer, for you 30 Rock Fans, has a great little role as a newly wed who can't quite make the best out his honeymoon, sadly he disappears from the movie in the second half of the film. While the Hawaiian resort is populated with wonder comedic actors, British comedian Russell Brand pretty much steals every scene he's in. His sexed up Bono like Aldous Snow is just a riot throughout. My complaints, typical of Apatow productions, Forgetting Sarah Marshall is over long and feels like it could be trimmed done a tad and made more streamed line. Minor complains aside, it's a fine addition to the relationship odyssey that Apatow and company started with 40 Year Old Virgin.