DVD Corner: “Forgetting Sarah Marshall”

Posted Sept. 26, 2008, at 6:40 p.m.
Last modified March 20, 2011, at 6:02 a.m.

“Forgetting Sarah Marshall” DVD, Blu-ray: A romantic comedy about getting dumped by the love of your life. Where are the laughs in that, you say? They’re in here. The film follows all of the heartbreaking ugliness that occurs when Sarah Marshall (Kristen Bell) decides to end her 5-year relationship with Peter Bretter (Jason Segel) just when Peter thought they were at their happiest. Needing time away, Peter flees to the one place Sarah herself favored for a vacation retreat — Hawaii. Not surprisingly, she’s already at the same resort when he arrives. Worse for Peter is that she has traveled with her new English rock-star boyfriend, Aldous Snow (Russell Brand), who is so amiably self-absorbed, it’s impossible to dislike him. Mila Kunis is Peter’s budding love interest, who ignites in him the sense of meaning and creativity he lost while with Sarah. Lifting him and the film higher are appearances by Jonah Hill of “Superbad,” Paul Rudd as a weed-smoking surfer dude, and Bill Hader as Peter’s bizarre stepbrother. Rated R. Grade: B-

“The 40-Year-Old Virgin” Blu-ray: A funny, affectionate and, as it happens, enormously dirty comedy that stars Steve Carell as Andy Stitzer, a doe-eyed neophyte in need of some serious manscaping (but not Viagra) who has gone a stretch longer than most when it comes to having sex. The film is a deceptive sleight of hand. It sounds as if it’s purely lowbrow, which it certainly is in parts, but not in total. No comedy this consistently laugh-out-loud funny could only be the result of sex jokes, which would lose their punch within minutes. Some will scoff at the idea that a picture so good-naturedly raunchy could also be bright and smart, but “Virgin,” armed with its excellent cast, proves them wrong. The movie is expertly conceived, acted and written. Rated R. Grade: A

“Iron Man” DVD, Blu-ray: At its core, Jon Favreau’s “Iron Man” is about one man’s massive midlife crisis, and all the drama that springs from it. The movie’s focus is the cocky, ultrasmart billionaire industrialist Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr., perfect), who is forced to reflect upon his life when the Taliban suddenly ambush him with his own weapons. Chest pains ensue — not that that’s a surprise. During the ambush, a bomb blew shrapnel into Stark’s chest, which now threatens his heart. Once mechanically healed, his midlife crisis continues with flashy new duds and a swank new relationship. Indeed, Stark creates a suite of virtually indestructible Iron Man suits that allow him the power of fight and flight, and he falls for his assistant, Pepper Potts, who is played with cool knowingness by a very good Gwyneth Paltrow. With a bald, bearish Jeff Bridges as Obadiah Stane, this is one hugely enjoyable popcorn movie, and not only because of its superb special effects. The movie’s pleasures come from the attention paid to its script, its accomplished performances and the fact that it’s driven by its characters first, its action second. Rated PG-13. Grade: A-

Weekinrewind.com is the site for Bangor Daily News film critic Christopher Smith’s blog and archive of movie reviews. Smith’s reviews appear Mondays, Fridays and weekends in Lifestyle, as well as on bangordailynews.com. He may be reached at Christopher@weekinrewind.com.

Who will win? Maybe you.

Log on to Bangor Daily News film critic Christopher Smith’s blog weekinrewind.com for a chance to win this week’s DVD giveaways, including five copies each of “The Godfather: Coppola Restoration,” “Iron Man: Ultimate 2-Disc Edition,” “Sleeping Beauty: 50th Anniversary Platinum Edition,” “Will & Grace: Season 8,” “CSI: NY: Fourth Season,” “Criminal Minds: Season Three,” “Medium: Season Four,” and many more.

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