Judd Apatow’s Knocked Up received a lot of notice from certain circles for its depiction of its star’s vagina, in close-up, as a locus of terror, confusion, and disgust. It’s a climactic shock-cut to Katherine Heigl’s double’s crotch, where her baby is crowning, the sight of which sends one of her boyfriend’s pothead buddies, and presumably us, into screechy hysterics. Pair this with Superbad’s menstruation-on-the-pants centerpiece, and you’ve got a pretty fair analysis of Apatow and Co.’s gender-regulated comic agenda. Yet at the opposite end of the spectrum dangles the real star of these films, which has been put on increasingly prominent display: from Superbad’s book of elaborate diddle doodling to Walk Hard’s full frontal, and now to Forgetting Sarah Marshall’s opening break-up scene, in which shlumpy (natch) protagonist Peter (Jason Segel) refuses to get dressed while his longtime girlfriend, Sarah (Kristen Bell), breaks up with him, the penis has become the de facto protagonist.
Like a paring down to the genre’s purest essence, it was only a matter of time before the sex comedy—fueled by libido, the search for the perfect ejaculation, the sting of sexual humiliation, the inner and outer vulnerability of the male beast—was reduced to this. Click here to read all of Michael Koresky's review of Forgetting Sarah Marshall.