Tyro helmer Nick Stoller proved you don’t need a lot of directorial experience to deliver the funny. His “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” provided the highest laugh quotient of any film this year and Universal’s three-disc DVD release only improves on the bigscreen version, with loads of extras that make one believe that the 112-minute theatrical release could’ve actually been even better if given a little more breathing room.
While Stoller deserves plenty of credit for fine-tuning the cast’s comedic timing, it’s the pic’s star and screenwriter Jason Segel (TV’s “How I Met Your Mother”) who’s pitch perfect as low-achieving Peter, a homebody who loses his girlfriend, Sarah (Kristin Bell), and then can’t come to grips with the separation. He tries to console himself in Hawaii but ends up seeing Sarah with her new beau, British rocker Aldous Snow (newcomer Russell Brand) and that only drives him more insane.
Viewing the deleted scenes makes one understand the difficulty Stoller must have enduring in the editing process. They’re as funny as anything that made the final cut, including Sarah going horseback riding and losing control of her steed as it wanders through a golf course and then into a shopping mall parking lot.
Then there’s Peter’s playful but dead-on interpretation of both the B-52s and Tom Waits, as each would sing the Dracula ballad he wrote as part of a children’s play.
Other chuckles can be found in the many scenes where Peter has horrible sex with women in a feeble attempt to try getting over Sarah. And his riff on the women of “Sex and the City,” while getting hammered on girlie drinks at the hotel bar, is hilarious.
The best bits, however, might be the collection of faux commercials for Sarah’s new drama series on NBC. At the beginning of the film, her longtime hit show “Crime Story” has been canceled and she frets about finding a new job.
In these hysterical snappy spots, Bell teams up with William Baldwin and Jason Bateman and puts away bad guys. The banter with the crooks is so cheesy it should be delivered with wine but — and here’s the scary part — one could almost imagine a legitimate broadcast network airing it.
So, if “Ghost Cop,” “Super Strong,” “Divine Justice” or “Jesus H. Cop” arrive on primetime next fall, “Marshall” viewers can say they saw it here first.