The 40-Year-Old Virgin (***¼)

Posted on August 9th, 2005 in Movie Reviews by EngineerBoy

So, Steve Carell has just burst onto the scene as a new major Hollywood film star. We knew him from The Daily Show, where we found him to be…enh. He was okay, but when he left we didn’t miss him. We heard that he was starring in the US version of the British TV show “The Office”, but never saw an episode.

Then one day a couple of weeks ago while watching another movie we saw a trailer for “The 40-Year-Old Virgin”. It looked pretty funny and so it was on our radar as a possibility, but we’ve seen thousands of funny trailers for movies that sucked, so I wasn’t too sure we’d go see it. But over time we kept hearing good buzz about the film, and the trailers kept getting funnier. So today we decided to go see it, and, boy, am I glad we did.

The movie is hysterically funny, and also a bit touching and heartwarming. Carell plays Andy Stitzer, who is, well, a 40-year-old virgin whose workmates find out about his…intactfulness…and decide to “help” him lose it. One of the best characteristics of the film is that it doesn’t mock or deride Andy’s virginity, and actually shows it to be kind of noble. Oh, it sure pokes fun at him, but in a natural way that seems to fit the oddness of an actual 40 year old virgin male.
Carell plays the part with perfect pitch, and walks a fine line between disturbed, lonely electronics store worker and lonely, inexperienced yet still nice and normal electronics store worker. As his “friends” give him advice and try to get him hooked up with an assortment of…um…”available” young ladies, Andy instead becomes enamored of Trish, who runs a store near his workplace. Trish is played with refreshing reality by Catherine Keener. In a wonderfully un-Hollywood move, Keener and Carell actually appear to be about the same age, and the character of Trish has three kids (and one of those kids has a one year old of their own, making Trish a “hot grandma” in the opinion of all of the male characters). I’m sure somewhere there’s a Hollywood exec who is sure that the role should have gone to Lindsey Lohan (who is 20) instead, to grab that key (and imaginary) Won’t-Plop-Down-$10-To-See-Anyone-Over-30 demographic.

Rant Directed At Hollywood Execs:

We know you think that 15-25 year olds are your key demographic. However, what you are missing is the fact that the reason this is your key demographic is because, as a general rule, younger people are not discriminating movie-goers and so you can still count on them for a big opening weekend as long as you have the right “names” and a big marketing budget. To put it another way, you can sucker teens into watching a crappy movie as long as you “spin” it the right way, and that can be done purely with dollars. Making something of quality, however, requires talent and inspiration, two things which you seem to no longer value. However, I predict that this film will do great at the box office, even though it’s Rated R, even though the two characters are 40+ and one is a grandparent, even thought it’s actually sweet and not stupidly shocking for shock value, even though it stars a no-name (by Hollywood standards), even though it’s directed by a TV guy, even though nothing explodes, even though there are no rappers in it, even though the denoument is…well, I won’t spoil it. This movie breaks all the apparent “rules” of Hollywood execs, so much so that I’m surprised it got made. But, oh baby, am I waiting for the attitude change that this film (along with Wedding Crashers and other films like it) will bring to Hollywood. I know you’re in the business to make money. But I think you’ll find that while it is hard work to find and nurture talent, it’s even harder work polishing turds, which is what you’ve been doing lately.
Anyway, back to Virgin. The supporting cast is also great, with virtually no false notes anywhere in the film. There are a couple of things I could have done without, but to highlight any of them would be to give them more weight than they deserve. But overall the film manages to be hilarious, touching, raunchy, and sweet in just the right proportions. I urge you to run out and see this movie and show Hollywood that making this film was a risk worth taking.

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