a critiQal film review The 40-Year-Old Virgin (2005)

Plot: Andy Stitzer (Carell) is 40, works at an electronics store, collects toys...and has never had sex. When his buddies find out he's still a virgin, they have a new mission: get Andy laid. With the pressure mounting, he meets a single mom (Keener). Will she be the one, or is he destined to be a virgin forever?

565 words (Est. Reading Time 2m 49s)
  • ...Carrell's wonderful performance and his trials and tribulations are overshadowed by an almost nonstop barrage of racial slurs and vulgarity.

So, why did we want to see The 40-Year-Old Virgin? Well, it had a couple of things going for it by the time we finally rented it.

First off, everyone we knew who had seen it thought it was hilarious. Secondly, Steve Carell from “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” (TV), “The Office” (TV) and Bruce Almighty (2003) was in it, who seems to be consistently funny (although the few episodes we’ve seen of “The Office” (TV) rely way too much on the comedic talents of the other non-funny cast members). Finally, the previews made us laugh.

With all that going for it, we didn’t have to think twice about renting The 40-Year-Old Virgin. But, would this be the film Steve Carell loses his comedic brilliance, or will we have to wait for the Jim Carrey-less Evan Almighty (2007) for that?

Steve Carell, as usual, turns in a wonderfully funny performance as the lead character in The 40-Year-Old Virgin. True, he occasionally tries just a bit too hard to make the audience laugh, but 9 times out of 10 he’s right on the money, and he’ll have the audience rolling in the aisles. He brings his character to life brilliantly, and the audience will be there with him through most of his ups and downs.

His supporting cast, including a lovesick (yes, and Clueless) Paul Rudd, help keep the comedy refreshing as they spew out a whole variety of advice – most of it conflicting. Catherine Keener does a pretty good job as the love interest, and eventually does showcase some on-screen chemistry with Carell.

The 40-Year-Old Virgin is built for comedy and is able to produce a lot of it. Rather than going too much into how nerdy Carell’s character is (although there are several mentions of his serial killer-like persona), the plot instead focuses on his much funnier attempts at dating. All of the classically horrible places to meet people are covered, from bars to a hilarious speed dating sequence. It’s a riot watching Carell’s incredibly inexperienced character try to deal with the new situations his friends are thrusting him into, and his actions and reactions are the high points of the film.

A warning for some of you potential viewers out there – if you aren’t into swearing in films, then this film definitely isn’t for you. Packed with more language than any movie we’ve seen in recent years, The 40-Year-Old Virgin definitely isn’t above trying to get a laugh from language, going through racial slurs and vulgarity like they are going out of style.

Some of the sequences are so vulgar a shocked laugh may escape from your throat, but it’s sadder than it is funny. It’s always nice when movies don’t have to go as low-brow as, say, Team America: World Police (2004) to provoke a laugh. But, with the popularity of shows like “South Park” (TV), the comedy that doesn’t aim for low-brow humor sadly probably won’t be as popular in the box office.

The 40-Year-Old Virgin has a great plot, and aims to get the most of it’s comedy potential. Unfortunately, Steve Carell’s wonderful performance and his trials and tribulations in search of the promised land may go unnoticed by some viewers whose ears will have gone slightly numb from all the racial slurs and vulgarity this film seems to have an almost unlimited supply of.

The 40-Year-Old Virgin is worth watching – if you can get past the language.

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