Forgetting Sarah Marshall (Theatrical vs. Unrated Cut)

I watched this movie for the second time in a week to prep for a podcast episode, but I decided to watch the theatrical cut this time, which is easily my preferred cut.

(Both are available on the DVD I have, which I think is the Canadian release, labeled “Collectors Edition.” It’s loaded with bonus features.)

This review will address the differences between the Theatrical and extended Unrated cuts of the movie. For my review of the film itself, click here: Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008)

With the extended cut fresh on my brain, I really noticed the differences: A several minute scene, featuring a yoga lesson, is completely missing in the theatrical edit. It’s a long scene and not particularly funny, and I think should have stayed on the editing room floor, although I wish they could have found a place for Kristen Wiig elsewhere. There are also a bunch of scenes that go on a few jokes longer, sometimes for a good punchline, mostly at the expense of pacing.

There are two other pretty big changes in the extended cut that particularly bug me because they change the tenor of the film: First, the extended cut adds an exchange where Jonah Hill’s character finally snaps and lashes out at Russell Brand. This addition has always bugged me because I love how Hill’s homoerotic devotion to Brand remains unrequited and unceasing in the theatrical cut. Adding Hill’s loss of patience diminishes the dynamic between those characters for me.

Second, the extended cut includes a scene with some explicit female nudity, which was entirely missing from the theatrical cut. Although they probably added that back in to play up the “Unrated!” aspect of the extended edition, it really bugs me because I love the idea of Jason Segel being the only explicitly nude actor in the entire film: It mirrors the story and the sense that Segel was putting himself out there for the audience by sharing a version of his own embarrassing stories.

Anyways, I think “unrated” or extended editions of movies, especially comedies, are almost always just marketing gimmicks where you end up with a worse-edited version of the film. Forgetting Sarah Marshall definitely supports this theory.

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