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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 Eugene Novikov

"Are you familiar with the term 'fuckbuddy'?"
5 stars

"The 40 Year-Old Virgin" is what happens when a vulgar sensibility meets keen intelligence. It's a very funny film, but more than that, it's a striking example of comedy craft -- heartfelt and sweet, using every tool at its disposal, including a spectacular supporting cast that runs about three layers deep. Star Steve Carrell, who co-wrote the film with director Judd Apatow, turns low-brow humor into high art; never has the random shouting of curses been so funny. I was afraid I would hurt myself.

Carrell spent a long time as a regular on The Daily Show, and has had a couple of gimmicky movie roles in the likes of Anchorman and Bruce Almighty. The 40 Year-Old Virgin should propel him to a new level of stardom. He has been compared to Will Ferrell, with whom he's worked, but while he shares some aspects of the Anchorman star's quirky, non sequitur sense of humor, he is leagues beyond him in comedy. There is no way Ferrell could carry a film the way Carrell does here without resorting to his penchant for self-humiliation and bland physical antics to get a laugh.

The virgin in question, Carrell's Andy Stitzer, is not a caricature or a cruel joke. He's awkward and socially inept, yes, but not to the point of absurdity, and I suspect that most people will find some aspects of his M.O. familiar, if exaggerated. The film makes fun of him, but it does so with obvious affection and concern; it wishes him well, and has no desire to see him humiliated unnecessarily. When he is embarrassed, the movie seems to encourage us not to laugh, but to shrink away, and usually we do both; it's a measure of both how skilled The 40 Year-Old Virgin is at drawing out laughs, and how much the title character has grown on us.

After discovering Andy's secret, three of his co-workers (Paul Rudd, Romany Malco and Seth Rogen) take it upon themselves to end his celibate streak. I love the way the movie goes about this; their treatment of poor Andy isn't hateful or meanspirited, and like the film, they wish him well and want to see him happy. And if that involves inadvertently hiring a transvestite prostitute, well, they had the best intentions at heart. The manager at the electronics store where they work (Jane Lynch) has a different solution to Andy's dilemma, involving, at one point, Guatemalan love songs.

There's a love interest, a mother of three named Trish and played by the luminous Catherine Keener. As Andy enters into a tentative relationship with her but doesn't reveal his secret, it's remarkable how their scenes have actual weight; not everything is played for laughs, and the way she reacts to his fears, insecurities and eccentricities is plausible and touching. There are some rather predictable misunderstandings in the last act, but they don't feel like contrivances to provide false conflict, and the way they play out is touching and sweet; listen to the empathy in Keener's voice as she absorbs Andy's revelation, and consider what the scene doesn't do.

One scene in The 40 Year-Old Virgin sent me into hysterics, and it was the last scene I expected to rise above the rest. It is featured prominently in the trailer -- the inevitable scene where Andy, in an attempt to make himself more appealing to the opposite sex, goes to get his chest waxed. Rumor has it that Carrell actually put himself through the process to film it, which would explain the seemingly spontaneous torrent of profanity that pours from him with every rip. If this doesn't sound funny, trust me; what makes it a masterpiece instead of just pointless, predictable vulgarity, I think, is that the profanity isn't a general scream of pain and frustration, but is directed at the waxer. "YOU BITCH!" yelled Andy, and I was pretty much done for.

This movie could have been a lot of things, some of them awful. The gimmick certainly did not ensure quality. But man, it's a wonderful film, directed with endless energy and written with a sharp wit. The screenplay contains some of the utterly random humor that characterizes Ferrell's films, among others, but even the seeming randomness winds up vaguely relevant in hindsight; consider the final sequence, which is bizarre beyond all reason but really, doesn't it strike the perfect end note? The 40 Year-Old Virgin is one of the best films of the year, and proof that great comedy is at least on par with more serious endeavors.

(Review reprinted from

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originally posted: 03/04/07 22:53:31
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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 clichd 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 bjhnh 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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