Friday, April 18, 2008

Rambo Won't Be Forgetting Sarah Marshall Anytime Soon

Random Song 1: Mariah Carey - For the Record (buy)
Random Song 2: Cold War Kids - Saint John (buy)

Forgetting Sarah Marshall

“Association” is a word that Hollywood seems to live by these days. Almost every film advertisement has a least one “from the guys that brought you…” tagline. I get it from a marketing standpoint: if they liked “A” then they should love “B”. Yet from an audience’s point of view, it brings unnecessary extra hype to films. As a result, very few films ever live up to our expectations. This brings me to “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” a romantic comedy “from the guys that brought you “ 40 Year-old Virgin and Knocked Up”. A film that is not quiet at the level as “Virgin” and “Knocked,” yet does a decent job as an above average romantic comedy. The film follows recently dumped Peter (Jason Segel) as he takes off to Hawaii on a vacation to get his mind off his former flame, Sarah (Kristen Bell). Unfortunately for Peter, Sarah is vacationing at the same resort with her new beau Adlous (Russell Brand). As romantic comedies go, you pretty much know exactly how the film will play out. What sets this apart from most films in its genre is the cast, especially many of the supporting characters. The actors perfectly blend the juvenile with the sincere. Segel’s script is filled with great gems of dialogue that lead to several laugh-out loud moments. I must admit that I am enjoying this new wave of guy-centric romantic comedies that has hit theatres over the last couple of years. Yes the humour is far cruder than your average Sandra Bullock /Meg Ryan rom-com. Yet I find guys like Segel are fair more identifiable to male audiences than Hugh Grant was ever in the genre (“About A Boy” being the one exception). Though I’m sure many women would disagree with me. The one major flaw in the film is the length. The last act really gets bogged down in weak melodrama, mainly designed to ensure that female audience members gets the “big fight” followed by “profession of love” scene at the end. The other issue I had with the film was Jonah Hill’s (“Superbad”, “Knocked Up”) character. While amusing at first, he became really annoying fast. I would have loved for them to focus more on some other hotel staff that they briefly introduced. Still there is much to enjoy in this film, just don’t go in expecting another “Knocked Up” or “40 Year-old Virgin”.

Random Song 3: Be Your Own Pet - Bummer Time (buy)
Random Song 4: Tokyo Police Club - Juno (buy)


Let me preface this by saying the film has no redeeming qualities whatsoever. Having said that, if you looking for mindless entertainment, with a dash of 80’s nostalgia, this is your film. “Rambo” takes a whopping five minutes to set up plot. Essentially a group of Christian missionaries in war torn Burma are captured; a reluctant John Rambo, now a snake wrangler in Thailand, must lead a band of mercenaries to save them. The rest of the film is devoted to the long and extremely violent payoff. There is brief dialogue about the world’s lack of response to the genocide in Burma, and about the nature of man, etc. Yet that is all quickly pushed aside for relentless action and carnage. The majority of the film consists of watching evil men die in as many brutal ways as possible. While I’m sure Stallone is trying to make a statement about the true nature of war, this film is basically one epic gunfight. Still there was something oddly enjoyable about this film. I think it has to do with the nostalgia factor, which Stallone smartly pays homage to in a flashback scene. Sure John Rambo is past his prime, but you still can’t help but reflect, and cheer on, the character that originally shined in “First Blood” over twenty years ago. I am by no means saying run out and see the film today. The film has rental written all over it. Still, as far as guilty pleasure rentals go, “Rambo” is worth a look.

Random Song 5: Wyclef Jean - Sweetest Girl (Dollar Bill) [ft. Akon, Lil Wayne and Niia] (buy)
Random Song 6: Colin Munroe - I Want Those Flashing Lights (Kanye West Remix) (Myspace)