Comedy of heartbreak and heartmend, under the imprimatur of producer Judd Apatow, but directed by newcomer Nicholas Stoller, and written by its star, Jason Segel, who envisions for himself the role of a would-be serious composer, cranking out mood music for a network crime drama when he would rather be devoting his time to a Dracula stage musical. (When, that is, he’s not devoting his time to eating Froot Loops out of a mixing bowl on the couch.) The vocational aspect of the role, in any case, straightaway gets put on the back burner in favor of the personal aspect: the dumped boyfriend of the lead actress on the aforementioned crime drama. The main point of interest in the movie, fractional though it may be, is Segel’s penis, a raising of stakes over the old reliable tush shot. (“Would you take a look at my penis?” is an actual line of dialogue he has written for himself. It could just as well have been the advertising slogan.) For the rest, the movie gives the game away early when the schlumpy protagonist accidentally-on-purpose runs into his ex-girlfriend at her preferred Hawaiian resort, where she’s cavorting with a lavishly tattooed British rocker, and where the copper-toned hostess at the check-in desk immediately jumps out at us as (a) a ready and willing shoulder for the schlump to cry on and (b) a couple of miles prettier than the ice-sculpture Hollywood girlfriend. Russell Brand’s self-absorbed rock star (“Yeah,” he responds to the fan who had slipped him a demo tape, “I was going to listen to that, but then I just carried on living my life”) and Paul Rudd’s dopehead surfer (“When life gives you lemons, just say ‘Fuck the lemons’ and bail”) are funny enough for skit-level comedy, but scarcely for comedy of character. Kristen Bell, Mila Kunis, Jonah Hill. (2008) — Duncan Shepherd
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