THE 40-YEAR-OLD VIRGIN
Review by Michael Jacobson
Stars: Steve Carell,
Catherine Keener, Paul Rudd, Romany Malco, Seth Rogan
Director: Judd Apatow
Audio: DTS HD 5.1, Dolby Digital 5.1, Dolby Digital 2.0
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 1.85:1
Features: See Review
Length: 117 Minutes (Theatrical), 133 Minutes (Unrated)
Release Date: September 30, 2008
“It’s okay not to have sex…you, uh, what are you, 25?”
“Holy s—t, man, you got to get on that.”
How do you make a sex comedy about not having sex? Well, in the hands of Judd Apatow, who really arrived on the Hollywood scene with The 40-Year-Old-Virgin, you find ways and come up with a surprisingly sweet gross-out laugh fest. It helps to have an appealing star who also co-wrote the script.
That star is Steve Carell, who also burst onto the scene with this picture, and neither her nor Apatow have been away from it since. He plays Andy, the title character, an electronics store clerk with a shy, appealing demeanor, a collection of vintage toys and action figures that would make any geek swoon, and a bit of a problem with the ladies.
His buddies try to show him the ropes in increasingly amusing ways that often end up with disastrous results (anyone who’s tried to handle a drunken conquest will easily identify), but will their help spoil his one chance at a real romance when he meets Trish (Keener), an eBay entrepreneur and single…um, grandmother?
It was a throwback to the kind of raunch comedy that dominated the early 80s, but with more envelope-pushing gags and blatant lack of political correctness that had been seen before, and has, amusingly enough, been the benchmark that other films, including ones by Apatow, have gleefully tried to eclipse. It’s not so much about story; we’ve seen it all before. More or less, it’s an excuse to string together some outrageous and memorable bits that all work thanks to Carell’s earnest performance.
There is a certain sweetness inherent in the movie, which is a hard juggling act to accomplish, but Apatow and Carell are mostly successful in pulling it off. And speaking of pulling it off, remind me never to go in for a full body wax. KELLY CLARKSON!!!
BONUS TRIVIA: The movie was originally billed as The 40 Year-Old Virgin, without the dash between “40” and “Year”, posing the question: is the virginity still intact if the hyphen has been broken? I’m going to hell, aren’t I?
This film doesn’t make many demands of high definition, but I really appreciated the detail in Andy’s room with his large collection of toys and memorabilia. Heck, I even spotted one or two items from my youth around his place. I don’t have them anymore, so don’t bother checking eBay. The bright and darker scenes both come across with clarity and beautifully rendered colors…the only thing keeping it from a top score is just that there isn’t enough in the movie to merit this as a demonstration disc, but really, no complaints.
It’s a mostly dialogue-oriented comedy, but the spoken words are clean and clear, and the occasional songs give it some nice dynamic range in the margins. Not a lot of subwoofer or rear channel signals, but they aren’t required given the nature of the film.
This disc is loaded with extras, starting with a director and cast commentary that’s a funny and fun listen. There are over 30 minutes of deleted scenes, a Date-a-Palooza, Line-o-Rama and “How I Know You’re Gay”, video diaries, gag reel, a waxing documentary, a 1970s sex-ed film (yikes), raw footage, rehearsal footage, a Reel Comedy special, a Cinemax featurette, and some filmed auditions. There is also Universal’s exclusive “U-Control” Blu-ray feature that allows extra picture-in-picture footage while you watch at the touch of a button.
Does he or doesn’t he? Does it even matter? The 40-Year-Old-Virgin really helped bring back the gross out comedy, and for better or for worse, it doesn’t look like it’s going away any time soon. But that’s okay. This fresh, funny, and delightfully shocking film is a laugh riot, but not for the sensitive or hopelessly PC.