I’ll be honest. When I first saw the trailers for The 40 Year Old Virgin I was very lackadaisical to see it. It had the typical look and feel of another over hyped slapstick comedy with sex and fart jokes. As always, I am happy to announce that not one fart joke is unveiled. There is, however, one puking scene and scenes involving urination, extreme vulgarity, and a female receiving a bloody nose as the result of incidental contact during an intimate encounter. In a genre overfilled with stupidity, The 40 Year Old Virgin is much better than the rest and perhaps the funniest film I’ve seen since Bad Santa Those who know me are aware that I’m not a big fan of comedies. It’s not that I don’t enjoy a good laugh on occasion. The problem is that most films in the genre are so repetitive and often unrealistic that after awhile they all seem like the same film with the same gags. The best way to add life to a comedy is to insert characters that seem like real people. I’m talking about people that may say funny things and make funny statements, but are not so over the top that you can’t relate to them. This is one of the many positives that makes The 40 Year Old Virgin rise above the traditional comedy.
Steve Carell is Andy Stitzer—a 41 year old electronics store employee by day, and a stay-at-home, video game playing, action figure collecting geek by night. In between he rides his bicycle to and from work because he has no social need for getting his driver’s license. At work, he is surrounded by the typical testosterone laced, beer guzzling males who of course also happen to love video games.
When Cal (Seth Rogen), Dave (Paul Rudd) and Jay (Romany Malco) need another body for their weekly poker game, they hesitantly ask Andy to join in. That night they discover Andy is a virgin and make it a priority to help his cause. Along the way, he receives tips from the guys ranging from how to approach a woman to waxing his grizzly looking body at a local establishment. For the waxing scene, which is quite humorous, the crew actually taped Carell getting the procedure done for real to produce a more natural response.
More help comes in the form of a box of porn given to Andy by Dave. However, not even masturbation is a constant routine for Andy as at times he seems immortal or oblivious to any sexual feelings at all. But he does wake up with ‘morning wood’ and often goes to the bathroom to discover he must use great force to urinate downward into the toilet (most men can relate to this as well).
Along the ride, Andy encounters a few women (some appealing and some strange) that become potential prospects for his dilemma. A romance does develop with a woman that works across from the guys. Catherine Keener plays Trish, a middle aged mother and grandmother in search of her own personal value to life. As a mutual agreement, Andy and Trish decide to hold off on sex, but not before a wild scene involving Andy’s ignorance toward the proper use of condoms.
The ignorance of Andy is what creates a likable nature to his character. It isn’t an ignorance that advertises stupidity, but one that displays a sincere lack of understanding of certain socializing elements that he has never encountered. For instance, when Andy gets into a car with a drunk woman he picks up at a bar, she shows him the breathalyzer that a judge made her install in her vehicle. Andy is so unequivocally void of the subject matter that he has no clue what the device is. The flaw in his character is that sometimes it is hard to envision a person who is so out of touch with society.
The best news is that the film does not go overboard. Yes, sometimes the film does start to get a little dicey (see the closing song and dance number) in spots, which can be expected from a comedy. It is often hard to make a two hour film funny for the entire two hours. After awhile the same jokes and gags are usually overused, but that is not the case here. Perhaps this is because the film doesn’t try to be funny by forcing mandatory lines. What it does well is relying on the actors to perform naturally by ad-libbing. At least that is how it seems in one of the funniest exchanges between Seth Rogan and Paul Rudd. While playing a video game at Andy’s apartment they have a verbal battle detailing jokes consisting of how they know the other person is gay. “Do you know how I know you’re gay? Because you like the movie Maid in Manhattan,” says Rudd. What’s so funny about the exchange is that it seems natural and reminds people of the silly conversations they have with their own friends when they are just goofing off.
Despite my inhibitions, like many people I became influenced by other critics. The movie opened in theaters to rave reviews from most reviewers, including major names like Roger Ebert and Richard Roeper. Recently, the American Film Institute named it as one of the top ten American films of the year, an honor that rarely goes to comedies. With all the accolades that came with this charming and often hilarious take on sex and dating, The 40 Year Old Virgin is better than my original prognostication, but not quite as glorious as the media and fan hype that followed its theatrical release. Keep in mind, that I am generally more harsh on comedies. There are ten deleted scenes ranging from 30 seconds to around 4 minutes in length--most of which are equipped with commentary from director/co-writer Judd Apatow and actor/co-procucer Seth Rogen. Aside from those ten is a much longer version of the Date-A-Palooza scene. Over 9 minutes of footage is on hand here. Some very funny exchanges between the guys and the woman are captured at this 'speed-dating' service. Also, there is more to be learned about the relationship between Dave and his ex-girlfriend.
A closer look at the waxing scene is shown in the 3:25 second short documentary called "Waxing Doc." In it, the cameras are focused on not only the actors, but also the camera and filming crew. Seeing the reactions of the crew makes this a must see for those who loved the film.
Other fun stuff includes "Line-A-Rama," which is more than 6 minutes of footage revolving around some of the best one liners from the film, some of which didn't make the final cut. Next is "My Dinner With Stormy." This is a 2 minute mock interview by Seth Rogen with porn star Stormy. Finally, there is 4 and a half minutes of bloopers in "Gag Reel."
All of these features are fun to watch, including the deleted scenes. The DVD for
[[ the year old virgin ]] is right on par with the film. One major complaint I have is that there are only 20 chapter markers. This is hardly acceptable for a film lasting over 2 hours. In fact, it took me almost 15 minutes to find a scene I was looking for as a reference for this review. The picture and sound quality solid are what should be expected from a major studio. A great purchase is at hand for those looking for a good laugh. I would suggest watching it with a group of friends to get that extra vibe going.
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