Forgetting Sarah Marshall is the latest blokey sex comedy to be produced by Judd Apatow, the mastermind behind last year's Knocked Up, and again it features a slob in a crumpled T-shirt, and a successful blonde in the television industry. The slob is Jason Segel (also the screenwriter), a composer who lives with a cop-show actress played by Kristen Bell, pictured. At the start of the film – that is, before we've had the chance to care about whether or not they're a couple – Bell breaks up with Segel, leaving him even more of a wreck than he was before.
In an attempt to get her out of his head, he flies to a Hawaiian resort, only to find that Bell is staying at the very same hotel with her priapic new rock star boyfriend, Russell Brand. A perfect opportunity for Segel to win back his true love, you might think, or else to get his revenge on her. But no. Instead we have a romantic comedy hero who doesn't want to do anything except go surfing and drink pina coladas. It's a bit like last year's superior Farrelly brothers comedy, The Heartbreak Kid, which had an almost identical setting and several similar characters. It's also a bit like watching a video of someone's luxurious beach holiday while they whine about how miserable they were.
The aspects of Knocked Up and The 40-Year-Old Virgin which annoyed some people are twice as annoying here. First, there's the sexism which requires the hotel's stunning receptionist (Mila Kunis) to gaze adoringly at the pasty hero for no reason except that that's what stunning women always do in Judd Apatow films. And second there's the suspicion that the producer threw out the script and invited his protégés, including Paul Rudd and Jonah Hill, to improvise sweary riffs about weed-smoking and pop culture.
It's a relaxed and genial film, and there are a few laughs, but if Apatow's productions get any more laid back, he'll forget to switch on the camera.