Who's in It:
Jason Segel, Kristen Bell, Mila Kunis, Russell Brand, Bill Hader
The Basics: Dumped by his TV-star girlfriend, a sad-sack composer he provided the "dark, ominous" score for her CSI-style show runs off to a Hawaiian resort to nurse his wounds. When she turns up at the same resort with a new, idiotic, rock-star boyfriend, romantic comedy stuff goes down. The surprise? It's much, much funnier than the "you evil woman" marketing campaign would allow you to hope for. And that's just not post-Walk Hard relief talking either.
What's the Deal? The Judd Apatow team has come up with a decent bro-companion to Knocked Up and Superbad (but I still want that "From the guys who brought you
" come-on to disappear forever), and it's mostly due to Segel and his willingness to be hilariously humiliated and pathetic on screen. He doesn't have the Seth Rogen bravado or the bubba/dude appeal, so he works on making you flinch by being the abject every-schmoe.
Character Trumps Plot: In sitting down to write about this, I realized that not much in the way of big plot turns happen here. It's a series of funny people-doing-things-on-vacation bits and a sprinkling of characters remembering what went wrong with love. But because the bits are that goofily funny, the cast has no dead weight, and because these films have the ability to make you care about the characters in a way that the Adam Sandler/Rob Schneider-ish movies never do, you walk out thinking you've just seen something great, even if it's only simply very good.
Penis Is the New Funny: So by now, you probably know that Segel drops his pants in this movie. And eventually, the sight of male full-frontal nudity on its own won't be able to provoke laughter on its own. But for now, the fact that the Apatow movies are doing what only recent art films (and Ewan McGregor, who's always whipping it out) have been willing to do, even if it's just to make audiences squirm or teenagers shout, "Wiener!" is still pretty cool.
Who Steals Scenes: Brand, the British comedian that most Americans don't know yet, as the self-obsessed rock star.