The 40 Year-Old Virgin
This summer, with this film
and The Wedding Crashers, there has been a renaissance of that most
rare and illusive beast — the thoughtful and yes, even romantic —
gross-out sex comedy.
Just in theory it seems like
an oxymoron, but somehow comedian Steve Carell (The Daily Show, The
Office, Bruce Almighty) and co-writer/director Judd Apatow (Freaks
and Geeks, Undeclared, Anchorman) have been able to pull off this
delicate balancing act. They are able to create realistic characters
and a plausible (well, sort of plausible) romance while at the same time
still having drunk chicks puking on guys, roving boobs and not one but two
morning chubby jokes (which frankly, is one too many). And while the
romance is more interesting than the cheap gags, you have to admit most of
those work too.
The film has a unique
premise, and for this alone it deserves to be lauded. Carell plays
Andy Stitzer, the title character, a very nice but nerdy guy who had a some
chances at sex blow up in his face, so he eventually just sort of gives up.
He throws his passion into "collectibles." He owns more toys than the
world's richest kids, most of them still in their original box (they're worth
more that way) and fetishistically displayed in his arrested-development
bachelor pad. He spends his free time painting his models, creating
the perfect egg salad and watching Survivor with the older couple
Andy works in a huge LA
audio-video superstore where his shyness and unwillingness to leave the
safety of the storeroom to deal with customers has his co-workers (Paul
Rudd, Romany Malco and Apatow regular Seth Rogen) sure there is something
wrong with him. (One of them is convinced he is a serial killer.)
When he agrees to be the fifth hand in a store poker game, he is quickly out
of his element and can't keep up
with the sex stories his co-workers are telling. Because of this
tortured naivety, the truth of his condition
comes out. (In a story of a so-called sexcapade, he insists women's
breasts feel like bags of sand.) The guys determine that they are
going to make it their duty to help him get laid. They take him to
clubs, go speed dating, give him hints of what women like.
However, quickly it turns
out that they don't know much more than him. Cal (Rogen) talks a good
game, but he is inevitably alone, preferring to plan a potential
relationship than actually go out and get it. Jay (Malco)
is an engaged man who can't help straying. David is still obsessing
about an ex-girlfriend who he has been broken up with for two years; a woman
who has tried desperately to signal her disinterest by changing her
telephone number, her email address and getting a restraining order. Andy meets
his share of girls, but it isn't until he meets a nice divorcee (Catherine
Keener) that he really feels that perhaps this is the right one. She has been
hurt, so she asks if they take it slow, which oddly works well for Andy who
is afraid he will lose her when she learns of his lack of experience.
Carell is able to do the
difficult job of making Andy a little pathetic but making sure the audience
never feels sorry for him or ridicules him. The makers of The 40
Year-Old Virgin obviously like its main character, and that is
Copyright ©2005 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved.
Posted: September 4, 2005.