Monday, August 29, 2005

Movie Review: The 40-Year-Old Virgin

United States, 2005
U.S. Release Date: 8/19/05
Running Time: 1:55
Rated: R (Sexual situations, nudity, profanity, drug use)
Cast: Steve Carell, Catherine Keener, Paul Rudd, Romany Malco, Seth Rogen, Elizabeth Banks, Leslie Mann, Jane Lynch

Director: Judd Apatow
Producers: Judd Apatow, Shauna Robertson, Clayton Townsend
Screenplay: Judd Apatow & Steve Carell
Music: Lyle Workman
Studio: Universal Pictures


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Steve Carell should be a name/face you know. Many will probably distinguish him as Michael Scott from NBC TV’s “The Office,” while others will identify him as Brick – the mentally-challenged weatherman – from Anchorman. Regardless if you recognize him or not, just note that in the near future, Steve Carell will be one of comedy’s leading men. The 40-Year-Old Virgin only marks the onset of the Carell Capades.

With The 40-Year-Old Virgin being the vehicle to get Steve Carell’s cinematic career – as a lead role – off of the ground, funny-man Carell is setting his bar high. Virgin is one of the funniest films of the year, and while audiences may not match the intensity of a few laughs they had during this year’s Wedding Crashers, The 40-Year-Old Virgin kills with consistency—spreading its laughs out evenly from beginning to end. Apart from director Judd Apatow’s recent failure, Kicking and Screaming, The 40-Year-Old Virgin is a cohesive comedy that contains a healthy balance of both heart and funny bone.

At age 40, Andy Stitzer (Steve Carell) stills collects toys and reads comic books. In addition to discovering these juvenile characteristics, Andy’s male coworkers find out that their pal, Andy, is a virgin. Even though Andy imagines his first time blossoming from a relationship of love, his guy friends have other options in mind.

David (Paul Rudd), Jay (Romany Malco), and Cal (Seth Rogen), all commiserate Andy for his abstinence and submit themselves to the task of finding their friend a woman. All three give Andy endless pointers, place him in a speed-dating service, and even offer him a prostitute. However, once Andy lays his eyes on Trish (Catherine Keener), he is charmed. Andy desires to have a relationship with Trish, but a young voluptuous blonde by the name of Beth (Elizabeth Banks), offers him an alternative.

Much like Wedding Crashers, The 40-Year-Old Virgin manages to squeeze in a love story for its leading man. Nevertheless, with The 40-Year-Old Virgin, the romance works on a much greater scale. In between laughing at Andy’s loneliness and immaturity, the audience is rooting for the guy, and once he shows that he is a tactful and respectful man, he becomes a true and tender hero.

On the downside, The 40-Year-Old Virgin runs 10-15 minutes too long. In contrast, the tight script keeps the train rolling. The only point where the film shows any sign of losing steam is when Andy’s relationship inevitably crashes for a preposterous reason—just long enough to bring him to a crossroads and present him with a choice between two women. As the reel comes to an end, Andy makes the right decision (as expected)—sending viewers home happy and content.

As for those who post a limit on their raunchometers – that is, if the raunchy humor in films like American Pie and There’s Something About Mary disgusted you in any way – then chances are, you will not enjoy the randy comedy that The 40-Year-Old Virgin has to offer. Just remember, this film did not succumb to temptation and censor down for the PG-13 crowd. Conversely, if you enjoyed these two sexual, yet classic, comedies, then hold on to your hat, sit back, and enjoy the fun.

If its poster isn’t hilarious enough to provoke you into seeing the film, then take my recommendation: see The 40-Year-Old Virgin; you won’t regret it, and even on repeated viewings, it is sure to be just as satisfying as the first time. (*** out of ****)

© Copyright Brandon Valentine 2005