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In Forgetting Sarah Marshall, what instigated Peter's trip to Hawaii? Also, why does Sarah go such that they end up at the same resort?

Did Peter know that Sarah was going to be there, or was there some other reason which caused him to go and it was just a random coincidence?

Was there any set-up to how they would be in the same place at the same time?

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PETER AND SARAH WERE IN HAWAII AT THE SAME TIME AND AT THE SAME RESORT BY COINCIDENCE

The trip to Hawaii was instigated by Sarah breaking up with Peter. He was still having a hard time in Los Angeles trying to get over their break-up. Peter was reminded of her everywhere he turned according to the conversation that he has with Brian, his step-brother:

BRIAN: What are you burning, man? Come on.

PETER: It's everything. It's everything that reminds me of her...and I need it gone. Okay, I thought I was fine, Brian,and I'm not. I'm not fine at all.

BRIAN: Okay, let's just put the picture down.

Brian is the one that suggests that Peter go on a vacation to get away from Los Angeles. Peter suggests Hawaii because there was a place that Sarah was always talking about in Hawaii:

BRIAN: you know what, go on a vacation? Go to the Alps.

PETER: Alps?

BRIAN: Go to Gstaad. It's the best.

PETER: I could go to Hawaii. Sarah was always talking about this place...in Hawaii that was supposed to be nice.

So, Sarah was the reason that Peter made the decision to go to Hawaii, but he did not know that she was going to be in Hawaii at that particular time (especially with another man so soon after their break-up). He also was unaware that she would be at that particular resort. Both Sarah and Peter are in show business and that resort caters to more elite guests.

It was a coincidence that Peter and Sarah happened to be in Hawaii at the same time as evidence from the conversation between Peter and Sarah when they see each other at dinner:

SARAH: Look, did you follow me here? Did my assistant tell you I was coming?

PETER: No.

SARAH: Did you talk to her?

PETER: No, I didn't talk to your assistant. It's not all about you, you know. Hawaii is a beautiful place. People come here, usually not to follow you.

The only real set up to them being at the same resort would be the fact that Sarah had previously mentioned to Peter about the place that Sarah was always talking about that was supposed to be nice.

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    Cool - thanks. I recall it didn't seem contrived while watching it, but I couldn't pin down the details, which in reading them do seem kinda arbitrary. Fun movie tho :) – Mr. Kennedy Mar 11 '17 at 7:58
  • To be clear tho - there was no other exposition setting up Sarah being in HI prior to Peter's going? – Mr. Kennedy Mar 11 '17 at 8:01
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    No. Just Sarah mentioning to Peter that she was always talking about this place in Hawaii that was supposed to be nice. She may have been there previously with Aldous Snow, but it is never confirmed in the movie if that is true or not. Agreed! Fun movie :) – steelersquirrel Mar 11 '17 at 8:03

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