By George Rose
January 27, 2010
Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008)
Kristen Bell may not radiate sexuality the way Johansson does, but she is no less attractive. That petite little figure, that ear-to-ear smile, that flowing blonde hair! If only she never starred in Pulse or Couples Retreat. If only she wasn't releasing the terribly unappealing When In Rome this weekend, too. She is forgiven, though, for doing voice work for the Assassin's Creed video games. Any girl that is as beautiful as her and loves video games should be worshipped, if Forgetting Sarah Marshall weren't reason enough. It was written by and stars Jon Segel, best known for his work on TV's How I Met Your Mother, as a TV show composer who is dumped by his TV star girlfriend (Bell). He takes a trip to Hawaii to forget about the pain and past, but instead bumps into his ex and her new rock star boyfriend. Basically, it's the worst rebound vacation ever.
Well, maybe not. Segel isn't the only one pushed to his jealous limits. While in Hawaii, he meets the lovely Mila Kunis, who works at the resort. Holy f-ing crap, when did Mila get so hot?! I always thought she kind of looked like an alien on That '70s Show, but she grew into that round face and those bulging eyes. Double dates, fake orgasms, and hilarious whining galore, Forgetting Sarah Marshall is yet another surprise spring comedy hit that has built a devoted fanbase, yet is broad enough to continue appealing to new audiences everywhere. And if seeing Mila Kunis and Kristen Bell in bikinis isn't enough to sell you on this movie (for the straight men, anyway), then maybe several flashes of Segel's full-frontal will. Would it be a Apatow production without unnecessary ball swinging? It could be, but it sure wouldn't be this funny.
What Women Want (2000)
You know who else has a crappy looking movie coming out this weekend? Someone whose career has become equal crap in the last few years. That's right, I'm talking about Mel Gibson. You've probably heard of him. He was once one of the biggest stars in the world, has won Academy Awards, and then made religion cool for like ten minutes when he released Passion of the Christ. Then he went nuts. And by nuts, I mean he showed his true colors as an alcoholic bigot. Drinking really does just show the best side of people. Longtime readers of mine who remember my two-month stint in Greece last summer know of a few instances where booze got the best of me, but never have I brought down the Jewish community with a film and/or drunken rant. Not that I can remember, anyway. Yay for beer!
Well before he pulled that Tom Cruise-style career plummet, he helped launch a career that still stands today. The career I'm talking about belongs to writer/director Nancy Meyers, who has followed up this film with hits like Something's Gotta Give, The Holiday, and the recent It's Complicated. I'm sure today Mel would have to beg Nancy for a part, but in 2000 it was Mel's world and Nancy was lucky to have him. Together they turned What Women Want into a monster holiday hit. It's no surprise since the movie follows Mel as a hot-shot advertising playboy, which back then was basically what every man wanted to be and what every woman wanted. That's what the title says, anyway.
Regardless, he gains the power to read the mind of every woman he passes by. On the majority, this is extremely funny, though at times it reminds us of the sadder thoughts that plague us. It makes for great psychology and helps bring the movie some realism, but nothing about suicide is funny (unless you're watching Groundhog Day). Helping to distract from these slightly depressing moments is Helen Hunt, who is perfect as the woman that takes Mel's job, becomes the object of his manipulation, and then later his affection. This movie is the reason I go see Nancy Meyers movies on opening weekend (even though it's been a bit downhill since Something's Gotta Give) and is the reason I stopped watching Mel. He hasn't come close to being this watchable in a film in the last decade, and I don't expect this weekend's Edge of Darkness will change that.