Movie Review
The 40 Year-Old Virgin
The 40 Year Old Virgin poster
By Lee Tistaert     Published June 13, 2005
US Release: August 19, 2005

Directed by: Judd Apatow
Starring: Steve Carell , Catherine Keener , Paul Rudd , Romany Malco

R for pervasive sexual content, language and some drug use.
Running Time: 116 minutes
Domestic Box Office: $109,329,000
2 of 143
The movie is very funny and should play very well with fans of Bad Santa and Old School.
I?ve been waiting a long time for a movie to really make me laugh, and The 40-Year Old Virgin delivered what comedies have been lacking. This is a film written by Steve Carell, who?s known for his spot on The Daily Show, as well as for his brief roles in Bruce Almighty (C+), Anchorman (B-), and Bewitched (C+). I thought he was amusing in those roles, but those movies made me worried that he was just a one-joke affair. In The 40-Year Old Virgin, Carell stars as the main character. Carell winds down in this one, playing a vulnerable, nearly middle-age nerd who?s hiding a deadly secret (which is self-explanatory). The movie is very funny and takes full advantage of its R-rating, and should play very well with fans of Bad Santa (B) and Old School (B).

Carell stars as Andy, a 40-year old who lives on his own in an apartment. He barely has a social life and has no love life, and he is attached to his extensive collection of action figures and various collectibles. He?s a clerk in an electronics department store, where he works with his buddies David (Paul Rudd) and Jay (Romany Malco), two guys who are the opposite of Andy. When they?re hanging out one night, the tables are turned on him when the subject of sex comes up. After making up an elaborate sex story to impress them, his vulnerability shows through, and David and Jay discover what Andy has been hiding for so long, and set out to change his sex life.

Carell does a very nice job of presenting a believable nerd, but he?s a very good-natured and lovable one; it?s easy to root for him because of his innocence. Rather than just giving in to a goofy and over the top performance (which Will Ferrell has been attacked for doing as of late), Carell restrains himself to a certain extent, which creates an actual personality out of his character rather than just being a wild caricature. This isn?t like Napoleon Dynamite (C+/B-) where the character just has one facial expression (making it hard to believe him as an actual person), with that being the big joke. The big difference between the two movies is that 40-Year Old Virgin has an actual story despite what appears to be a one-note premise on the surface.

The joke is elaborated upon in various situations, and there are plenty of gags that apply to the dilemma, as well as the social scene and just general sex. Andy?s friends help him out where he?s inexperienced, and the chemistry between Carell, Paul Rudd, and Romany Malco is a big component of what makes the comedy work to the extent that it does. The pacing of the jokes and the comedic timing of lines is quite impressive, and it made me wonder where this raunchy material came from (having knowing Carell as somewhat tame). 40-Year Old Virgin is excessively raunchy, but the use of foul language for jokes is skillfully done ? it?s not over the top, which was one of my complaints in American Wedding. Sometimes an abundance of bad language can lose impact in the emphasis, but here the usage is well handled.

The movie also has a sweet side that some people might not expect (judging from the title), as a love interest (played by Catherine Keener) comes in who likes Andy for who he is, and Andy is nervous about admitting his weakness. The movie is ultimately about sex and relationships, as Andy learns how to get in touch with a side of him that he previously had no knowledge about.

The movie is opening in an awkward release date for something that is actually good (August tends to be a dumping crowd), but judging from the reactions at this screening, attracting a big crowd shouldn?t be much of a problem. This is a crowd-pleaser and is a safer bet than Anchorman was in terms of delivering to the average moviegoer. With this summer having been fairly barren in laughs, The 40-Year Old Virgin concludes the season on a bright note.
Lee's Grade: B+
Ranked #2 of 143 between Crash (#1) and Munich (#3) for 2005 movies.
Lee's Overall Grading: 2973 graded movies
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'The 40 Year Old Virgin' Articles
  • Friday Box Office Analysis (8/19)
    August 20, 2005    The movie faced the difficult task of having to play PG-13 in the ads while hinting at raunchy substance and giving enough of a promise for more. -- Lee Tistaert
  • Scott's review B+
    June 14, 2005    The dialogue is witty and intelligent, combining obligatory yet well done pop-culture references with multifaceted advice about women and relationships. -- Scott Sycamore