CARELL HOMERUNS - VIRGIN OR NOT
When words like "sincere," "heartfelt" and "sweet" have been used ad nauseum to describe a movie called "The 40-Year-Old Virgin," you know a group of filmmakers somewhere out in Hollywood screwed up by making a good movie.
In this type of the film the characters could have easily been unrealistically exaggerated, and to some extent they are, but they’re human nonetheless. The subject in "The 40-Year-Old Virgin" is Andy Stitzer (Steve Carell), a 40-year-old electronic salesman who's a virgin not because he's creepy or doesn't function around women, but because that milestone all adolescent males fantasize about from early childhood never materialized.
True, the guy collects action figures (so many he has the Six Million Dollar Man's boss), rides a bike to work everyday and regards pornography as a shameful vice, but these are all kinks that can be worked out. A lesser movie would have had the title character making female monuments in the basement with real hair he collected off of bus seats and salon dumpsters.
There's hope in Andy and his coworkers smell it. They're the kind of coworkers that would make anyone want to work retail for the rest of their life because nine to five is never boring when you work with: David (Paul Rudd), whose defeat in securing the woman he likes results in a vow of celibacy; Jay (Romany Malco), who doesn't understand why his girlfriend gets angry when she discovers he's been cheating on her…regularly; and Cal (Seth Rogen), who could easily have been the virgin of the group had fate played out otherwise.
The manager of the store is Paula (Jane Lynch), an intimidating woman who offers to be sex buddies with Andy, throwing out the hilarious line with such serious demeanor: "I'm discreet, and I'll haunt your dreams."
They all want to end Andy's drought after first learning about it at a poker game when he makes a fool of himself by comparing women's breasts to bags of sand. When the guys don't buy it he painfully admits he's a virgin but only because he has so much respect for women that he doesn't touch them.
With a sense of ambition and a mission to accomplish that for once doesn't involve stocking DVD players, the guys take him out on the town and expose him to what he's been missing out on every time he stayed home on weekends painting action figures and playing Mortal Kombat when he could have been scoring with drunk chicks.
One funny scene leads to the next and before too long a genuine interest comes along. Her name is Trish (Catherine Keener) and she owns a store across the street aptly titled "We'll Sell Your Stuff on eBay." No points for guessing this will have something to do with Andy's massive toy collection later on in the plot.
The film has been directed by rookie Judd Apatow, who co-wrote the script with Carell. To their credit the movie manages to be consistently funny from start to finish, whereas so many comedies like "Wedding Crashers" run out of gas before the closing credits.
Like "Wedding Crashers," "Virgin" boldly enters theaters with an R-rating but manages to keep the humor somewhat clean, save for the abundance of cursing and a daiquiri moment between Andy a drunk girl in the front seat of her car. That strategy has proven successful this summer. To be sure, the film still has to about something as by now everyone has forgotten about "European Gigolo."
It's been a good weekend at the movies. If you want comedy you're safe with "Virgin." If you want something a little more serious I highly recommend Wes Craven's "Red Eye."