Forgetting Sarah Marshall is a 2008 American romantic comedy-drama film directed by Nicholas Stoller and starring Jason SegelKristen BellMila Kunis and Russell Brand. The film, which was written by Segel and co-produced by Judd Apatow, was released by Universal Studios. 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 UK a week later on April 25, 2008. The puppets seen in the film were created by Jim Henson's Creature Shop.

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 a vacation in 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 vacationing with her new boyfriend.


Composer Peter Bretter (Jason Segel) is in a five-year relationship with actress Sarah Marshall (Kristen Bell), who stars in a CSI-like television show, "Crime Scene: Scene of the Crime." One day, as Peter stands stark naked in their apartment, Sarah announces that she is breaking up with him. Devastated, and unable to banish his grief through one-night stands, Peter takes a trip to Hawaii. However, the vacation is ruined when he learns that Sarah and her new rockstar boyfriend Aldous Snow (Russell Brand) are also guests of the resort. Taking pity on him, hotel concierge Rachel (Mila Kunis) offers him an 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 canceled and Aldous is about to embark on a World Tour with his group, Infant Sorrow, for eighteen months. 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.

Later, Sarah, Aldous, Peter and Rachel share an awkward dinner together. After the 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 game and become even louder. When Aldous realizes Sarah is clearly putting on a performance to try and get a rise out of Peter, he stops the sex and tells her the trip was a mistake as she's clearly not over Peter. They bicker furiously and cruelly, prompting Aldous to announce that the relationship is over. The next day Peter encounters Aldous, and learns that he and Sarah have broken up and that he is flying back to England. Peter goes to Sarah's room to console her where she admits she still loves him and tries to rekindle their romance. The two start to engage in sexual activity, but Peter abruptly cuts it off because of his feelings for Rachel, and his now ambivalent feelings towards Sarah. 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 naked picture of Rachel from a local bar and gets badly beaten by the owner.

He flies back to Los Angeles and after a period of sadness and self-loathing, he 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 extremely hesitant at first, Rachel eventually decides to attend. After the performance Rachel congratulates Peter and tells him she's looking into attending school 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. Peter tells her that he has missed her too. The film ends as they embrace and kiss.


  • 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 working actress for 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: The eccentric rock star, who is Sarah Marshall's new boyfriend. The same character is later seen in Get Him to the Greek.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Jack McBrayer as Darald Braden: A guest at the resort who does not like certain aspects of sexual intercourse and is having trouble satisfying his new wife.
  • Maria Thayer as Wyoma Braden: The sex-hungry wife of Darald.
  • Jonah Hill as Matthew Van Der Wyk: A waiter at Turtle Bay and obsessive fan of Aldous who constantly does strange and random things. Aldous describes him as "an eccentric and confident young man."
  • Paul Rudd as Chuck / Kunu A strange surfing instructor who often forgets people and 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, William 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.
  • Kristen Wiig as Prana: A Yoga Instructor (Unrated Version)
  • 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.
  • Taylor Wily 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.



All filming locations were in the state of Hawaii and in Los Angeles. While filming, lead actor Jason Segel told a New York Times interviewer that the naked break up scenes were based on a real life experience he had. 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".

Stoller stated that Judd Apatow was very involved in the casting process and the development of the script. Regarding the nudity in the film he added that the first draft of the script called for the (Peter Bretter) character to get dressed after the breakup, but he thought it would be funnier if the character stayed naked the entire time. However, he confirmed the picture of Mila Kunis used in the film was created on a computer and not real.


Critical reception

Forgetting Sarah Marshall has received positive reviews from numerous critics. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports that 84% of 177 critics have given the film a positive review, with a rating average of 7.0 out of 10. The site's consensus is that "With ample laughs and sharp performances, Forgetting Sarah Marshall finds just the right mix of romantic and raunchy comedy." Metacritic reported the film had an average score of 67 out of 100, based on 37 reviews.

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." Richard Roeper highly 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.

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

Box office

The film was promoted with a "teaser" billboard campaign, featuring the text "I hate Sarah Marshall" and the URL for 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 #2 at the box office behind The Forbidden Kingdom, and averaging $6,335 per theater in the US and per theater in Canada. It opened behind other Apatow productions such as SuperbadKnocked UpThe 40-Year-Old Virgin and Talladega Nights, but ahead of his recent films Walk Hard and Drillbit Taylor.

As of February 2009, Forgetting Sarah Marshall has grossed an estimated total of $105.2 million worldwide; $63.2 million in North America and $42 million in other territories.

Home media

The DVD and Blu-ray disc was 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.

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 MarshallThe 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 disc in Australia on November 5, 2008.


Jason Segel and Lyle Workman have written music for the film, which includes music by Infant Sorrow and a song from the Dracula musical. Eric CarmenBlondie and Kenny Loggins have also been heard on the previews for the film.


Forgetting Sarah Marshall: Original Soundtrack
Soundtrack album by Various Artists
Released April 22, 2008
Genre Soundtrack
Label Verve Forecast/Capitol

The soundtrack of Forgetting Sarah Marshall was released on April 22, 2008.

No. Title Length
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 Yorkband Ambulance Ltd.

Awards and nominations

Forgetting Sarah Marshall was nominated for five awards for the 2008 Teen Choice Awards, though it did not win any awards. The nominations were:

  • Movie, Breakout Female: Kristen Bell
  • Movie, Breakout Female: Mila Kunis
  • Movie, Breakout Male: Jason Segel
  • Movie, Romantic Comedy
  • Movie, Actress Comedy: Kristen Bell

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

Follow-up spin-off

Main article: Get Him to the Greek

A spin-off released June 4, 2010 reuniting director 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 where she appears in a promo for a new NBC drama Blind Medicine where she portrays a visually impaired surgeon.