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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 31.54%
Average: 4.7%
Pretty Bad: 2.68%
Total Crap: 7.38%

12 reviews, 77 user ratings

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40-Year-Old Virgin, The
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by Erik Childress

"Come and Come and Come Again To One Of The Funniest Films Ever!"
5 stars

You open a film with your lead character proudly displaying a framed Mystery Science Theater 3000 poster on his wall and you’ve got my attention. When you proceed to produce a huge laugh approximately every 2-3 minutes, you would still be a bit behind the pace established by Judd Apatow and Steve Carell’s brilliant, jaw-hurtingly funny The 40-Year Old Virgin. Anchorman may not have been long ago enough to successfully utilize the term of “since” (as in “this is the funniest film…etc…”) But that is proud company to be amongst and Apatow/Carell should be even prouder to have produced a comedy along the ranks of There’s Something About Mary, South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut and dare I say the holy trilogy of Animal House, Caddyshack and Stripes. I dare, because this is one of the funniest films I ever seen.

Based on a skit he wrote years ago at Second City, Carell plays Andy Stitzer who lives a serene existence amongst his collection of unopened toys (an obvious metaphor which takes on greater significance as the story progresses) and working in the repair department of an electronics store. Since he keeps to himself, his co-workers assume he may be keeping heads in the fridge, but David (Paul Rudd) invites him to a late night poker game with Cal (Seth Rogen) and Jay (Romany Malco) and when it comes time to share sex stories, Andy gives his inexperience away.

Shocked by how a grown man could go forty years without even doing it by accident, his fellow workers are amused but probably deep down grateful that they now have a project to distract them from their own problem-plagued existence. All the advice in the world can’t ease a man who has already found his comfort zone and isn’t even sure anymore if sex is such a big deal. That is until Trish (Catherine Keener) walks into the store, a mother-of-three who went through her wild phase years ago and isn’t exactly looking for a man, but senses a kindness about Andy that immediately gets him digits.

To describe a film like this solely on a plot structure is to suck the deafening laughs right out of it. But to go further into depth would be to ruin one gut-busting dialogue sequence or set piece after another. As quotable films go, The 40-Year Old Virgin boasts four characters who behave and talk like the atypical male. Not exemplified like the teet-lovin’ pigs women talk about nor the pussified versions that romantic comedies use to suck women into the theater. These are men. Real men. Funny, flawed, horny and lovingly identifiable to both sexes.

It was nearly ten years ago since we had characters as perfectly realized as Andy, David, Cal and Jay when 1996 brought us both Beautiful Girls and Swingers. Beyond their reaction to and faux knowledge of the opposite sex, you could watch the video game scene in Swingers and know this was happening somewhere in town, maybe with even guys we know. That small moment of brilliance is eclipsed in 2005 when David & Cal engage in a discussion over how each knows the other is gay which Cal puts the capper on by using his game warrior to provide the exclamation point. It is asides like this in The 40-Year Old Virgin which catapult it past posers like Wedding Crashers and will endure it as a comedy classic.

If Apatow continues to churn out brilliance like this, his repertoire will soon be inheriting the accolades that Christopher Guest’s receive on their feature-length improvs. (Jane Lynch has been borrowed from Guest and her unforced oddness gets us anticipating laughs which she pays off beautifully.) Apatow has brought with him folks from two of the most unjustly cancelled creations in TV history (Freaks and Geeks & Undeclared), most notably Rogen who, in my eye, is one of the funniest talents on the planet who should be finding steady work along the lines of Vince Vaughn and Jeremy Piven. Carell’s Anchorman partner-in-crime, Paul Rudd, also continues to come into his own as one of the great untapped comic talents. His steady decline from stable nice guy to the wounded forsaken who has finally given up produces laughs even while we’re concentrating on other laughs. And I had never seen Romany Malco before, but to come out of the blue and hold his own with the likes of this cast is a praise beyond measure. Special props is also due to the Elizabeth Banks who enhances her scenes with Carell by playing the good sport and trying to match his unbeknownst come-ons with a extra dose of sexiness.

Carell for the past five years has been stealing major laughs away from Jon Stewart, Jim Carrey and Will Ferrell and recently took on the uneviable task of updating one of the best television series I have ever seen (Ricky Gervais’ The Office) and turning it into a worthy successor. The brash, occasionally screaming Carell could wear thin over the years, but in Andy he finds not the naivety of a child that would be the easy way out for an actor to approach this role, but a sweetness bridging innocence and pestered solitude. Never do we doubt his plight or how he fell into it and we completely accept Keener’s interest in him and the approach she takes to their relationship transforming him slowly from a boy in flux into a man with a different kind of happy ending. It’s so great to see Keener not forced into her typical bitch role and allowed the chance to play a mature, sexy woman.

Maturity comes with the playing field as Apatow and players have crafted an adult comedy worthy of the definition beyond MPAA age limits. It’s not above the occasional cheap joke but counters it with some of the smartest and most off-the-wall pop cultural riffs in its dialogue that even those of us who identify them immediately still must blink twice that we actually heard someone in a mainstream comedy speak them. Comedies of this caliber don’t come along too often. We’re so desperate for them that we’ll support wannabes like Wedding Crashers simply because they seem close enough to the real thing. In a world where films like The 40-Year Old Virgin is the great bizarro world version of garbage like Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo, Wedding Crashers isn’t much more than the cinematic equivalent of the Chicago Cubs. On paper it looks good and a lot of people dish out big money day-in and day-out when at the end of the day, it’s just not very good. Wedding Crashers is going to gross close to $200 million by the end of its run and if that’s the playing field comedy fans want to set, then The 40-Year Old Virgin deserves to outgross Titanic. Let’s make it happen.

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originally posted: 08/19/05 14:02:15
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User Comments

9/13/17 morris campbell funny flick 4 stars
4/16/14 Charles Tatum Funny, but VERY overrated 4 stars
8/11/09 sandeep good 3 stars
6/16/09 Sterling chest hair scend was hilarious 4 stars
5/05/09 sandy freeman stupid stupid stupid. garbage film. 1 stars
3/30/09 Anonymous. hilarious and almost perfect-3.5/4 :D 5 stars
7/19/08 Shaun Wallner Had some funny parts. 3 stars
3/09/08 jbubbles A wonderful comedy with a lot of heart. Steve Carell is so loveable. 5 stars
3/03/08 ladavies Very funny, but plot drags. 4 stars
3/02/08 SamanthaPayntr so funny! Steve Carell is always really funny! and i love Seth Rogan! 5 stars
12/17/07 gr Brilliant! 5 stars
12/15/07 Pamela White very cute but not one for my library 3 stars
8/15/07 Ashley uggg A-MAY-ZINNGGG 5 stars
6/21/07 Erin People who are so negative about this are only trying to sound smarter than they really are 5 stars
6/09/07 Dave sucked ass 1 stars
6/02/07 ES A good comedy, some great funny moments but the song at the end was too over the top 4 stars
5/09/07 David Pollastrini didn't think much of it. 2 stars
5/06/07 fools♫gold I didn't like it, but props for the three times it made me die from laughing! 2 stars
4/20/07 Chris Redmond The funniest, most compassionate American comedy since Meet the Parents. 5 stars
3/11/07 Steve Maybe my IQ is a little too high for my brain to allow me to enjoy this shit for a movie? 1 stars
2/14/07 The chode Fucking hilarious, the unedited version is 100000 times better. 5 stars
2/12/07 AJ Muller I pity the miserable people who don't find this utterly hilarious. Best comedy in years. 5 stars
12/13/06 Dude Gross and Unfunny. It Sucked so much ass 1 stars
9/30/06 Tamara D. Leonard Disgusting drivel. I carried my father with me, and I was so embarassed I wanted to hide. 1 stars
7/26/06 Agent Sands Carell is one of the new generation's great comedians. And it's a well-made film at that. 4 stars
7/20/06 Danielle It was okay. 4 stars
7/17/06 EZ never laughed the whole damn movie!!! 1 stars
5/10/06 millersxing Sympathetic over-the-hill dude scores for the 1st time. Uncomfortable and lol funny. 4 stars
4/24/06 MP Bartley Great jokes, underpinned with a genuinely sweet sensibility. Carell is terrific. 4 stars
4/11/06 Sully f*ck your Grandmother, then ask her for a check for $12........ 5 stars
3/11/06 Dillon Hilarious. A rare comedy where funny dialogue replace sight gags 5 stars
3/03/06 Anthony Feor Funny once, after that, nothing 3 stars
2/27/06 Steven Lewis It had it's very funny moments but some were just blah.. 3 stars
2/20/06 Tanya I laughed until I cried 5 stars
1/22/06 Crackhead How can anybodey like this, you have to be a virgin to like this, this movie sucks 1 stars
12/30/05 Simon Specific scenes and dialogue are quite funny, but that's all;drawn-out plot and bit clichéd 3 stars
12/30/05 Taylor Fladgate An instant classic. Learn the punch lines now for your New Years parties. 5 stars
12/28/05 Phil M. Aficionado Lots of kudos deserved, but the overlong and atrocious ending hurts the film, big. 4 stars
12/10/05 Doc Hollywood Absolutely Crap. Bastard copy of Japanese Densha Otoko idea. Humour forced, NO PLOT! 1 stars
11/22/05 13-year old viewer of this film If they keep makin' horror flicks like this, I'll probably be a 40-year old virgin too! 1 stars
11/09/05 rachel very funny and entertaining. worth watching 5 stars
10/28/05 PAG pretty funny 4 stars
10/27/05 Michael Kondo this was pretty good, not great but not bad 4 stars
10/27/05 deadwiz This movie was hilarious! I can't wait for the dvd! 5 stars
10/12/05 Josh Swanson Drop-dead, laugh your ass off funny!!! Way better then Wedding Crashers, which was goodtoo 5 stars
10/08/05 Rosa Fleur It was 'ow you say pretty damn good! I would of had sex with 'im! Poor bloke! 5 stars
10/03/05 bgu nhko bjhýnhý 5 stars
9/29/05 Sarah was ere my name is sarah darymple i lost muh virginty to muh hand 1 stars
9/23/05 Someone who'd mistakenly heard this film was a "comedy" Watching this movie is like having someone piss on your brain, only not as rewarding. 1 stars
9/20/05 ERIC ROBERT WILKINSON Keener steals the film as a sweet foil for the virginal hero (Carell)! So hilarious! 5 stars
9/16/05 Laura Lee Macleod childish, silly, juvenile but oddly watchable 4 stars
9/08/05 Marcia Refreshingly "R"; perfect casting, acting, set dec. Consistent laughs and sweetness. 5 stars
9/05/05 Indrid Cold When a movie like this is the best comedy of the year, we're REALLY starved for quality. 3 stars
9/03/05 KR Jin: You know how I know you're gay? You don't like this movie. 5 stars
8/30/05 Jin further evidence of the dumbing down of America. 2 stars
8/29/05 bullit16 Not quite TSAM, but pretty damn funny 4 stars
8/29/05 KCobain The humor frustrating and tedious. In poor taste. 2 stars
8/29/05 Dan Very good. Best Comedy of the year. Loved the old Indian guy! 4 stars
8/26/05 Caiphn Best Romedy I've ever seen. 4 stars
8/24/05 Lisa Perfect combination -- hilarious and smart, with heart, and an extremely talented cast 5 stars
8/24/05 Lauren this movie was absolutely HILARIOUS I almost peed my pants! 5 stars
8/23/05 Trevor Freakin genius!! We quoted the movie the ENTIRE next day! 5 stars
8/23/05 Alyson I literally got a head ache from laughing too hard. I just might have to see it again. 5 stars
8/23/05 Boy Oxford Constantly hilarious, great acting from everyone 5 stars
8/23/05 Mr. Eff Great movie. Funny through the whole two hours. 5 stars
8/22/05 Uncle Salty FUCKING OUTSTANDING 5 stars
8/22/05 jcjs wow, gees, ooooh, as funny and clever as 'Sideways' if not more so...great 5 stars
8/22/05 SD So good you'll need to see it again 5 stars
8/21/05 Sharline It was hte funniest movie I've seen all year!! I Loved it!! 2 thumbs way up!! 5 stars
8/21/05 Jim The Movie Freak Maybe not the "Best" film of 2005 so far, but my personal favorite. 5 stars
8/20/05 ajay very funny, best movie of the summer. 5 stars
8/20/05 Titus Makes a couple low-brow punches that could be left out, drags a bit. Otherwise: great! 4 stars
8/20/05 buford hilarious. it's a shame that dumb america will probably not see it. 5 stars
8/20/05 Kristina Williams Kelly Clarkson! 5 stars
8/19/05 Danny Pesses Best comedy I've seen in a VERY long time! 5 stars
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  19-Aug-2005 (R)
  DVD: 22-May-2007



Directed by
  Judd Apatow

Written by
  Judd Apatow
  Steve Carell

  Steve Carell
  Catherine Keener
  Paul Rudd
  Seth Rogen
  Romany Malco
  Elizabeth Banks

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