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"The 40 Year Old Virgin" Movie Review

Steve Carell and Co. Explore "Virgin" Territory

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Steve Carell, Seth Rogen, Paul Rudd and Romany Malco in "The 40 Year Old Virgin"

© Universal Pictures
The same audience that gobbled up the R rated sex comedy, “Wedding Crashers,” should help make “The 40 Year Old Virgin” into a box office hit. And that’s fine by me. This is one of the best comedies of the decade and I applaud Universal for having the guts to let “The 40 Year Old Virgin” be an R rated movie without putting any restrictions on writer/director Judd Apatow or writer/actor Steve Carell that would have diluted the humor.

I’m tired of seeing comedies play it safe. I absolutely detest watching movies where it’s obvious the filmmaker has had to pull back on the raunchy jokes instead of just being able to lay it out there. I hate films that take the easy route and cut out the best punch lines so they can get a PG-13 rating instead of an R, just so they’ll have a better chance of bringing in bucks at the box office because they can appeal to a younger audience, while robbing those of us over 18 the chance to see a joke play itself out the way it was intended.

Not everything has to be politically correct. Sometimes you just want to escape with a sophomorically funny movie and I’m tired of people censoring films because they may offend someone.

“The 40 Year Old Virgin” will offend people but I’m positive every studio movie ever made offended at least one person during its theatrical run. If you’re sensitive to swearing or films where guys talk like men actually talk in real life, then see something else. This movie wasn’t made for you.

There’s really no need to summarize the plot as it’s pretty obvious, but here’s the barest of bare bones on “The 40 Year Old Virgin:” Carell plays Andy, an electronics store employee whose house is filled with collectible action figures and other geekboy goodies. Andy rides his bike to work, has no social life worth mentioning, and is 40 years old. Oh, and he’s a virgin (otherwise the title wouldn’t make any sense).

After spending an evening playing poker with some of his male co-workers – David (Paul Rudd), Jay (Romany Malco), and Cal (Seth Rogen) – his secret’s out of the bag. The idea that a man has made it to the age of 40 without ever having sex is almost beyond these guys’ ability to comprehend. But once it sinks in, they decide to teach him what they know about women and help him get laid for the very first time.

“The 40 Year Old Virgin” takes things further than “Wedding Crashers” did and really ups the ante for future R rated adult comedies. By starting off with Andy (Carell) making his way to the toilet with a morning erection (the first clue we’re going where most comedies never venture) and following that up with Andy’s buddies describing their latest conquests in great detail, to scenes where Andy's getting a hot wax and struggling to figure out how to use a condom, the crude humor of “The 40 Year Old Virgin” never lets up.

Rude and lewd, full of potty humor and penis jokes, “The 40 Year Old Virgin” is the best comedy in years. In fact, I’m going to do something I rarely do – I’m going to pay for a ticket to see it again since I missed so much because the audience was laughing too loudly. I can't remember having this much fun at the movies since “Shaun of the Dead” and I can really only recall a half dozen films over the last five years that even come close to being as outright hilarious as “The 40 Year Old Virgin.”

And while “The 40 Year Old Virgin” is basically an off-color buddy comedy, it’s also surprisingly sweet. There’s a real sentimental core to the film that makes us cheer for Andy the underdog. We laugh at his situation but in truth, he’s actually not concerned about the fact he’s never made love to a woman. He’s a genuinely nice guy and we can’t help but pull for him to come out on top…

As for the acting, I have to admit I’m a sucker for Steve Carell anyway. Whenever he’s on the screen in movies or on TV (I loved him on “The Daily Show”), I laugh. It doesn’t matter the situation, the dialogue, or who else is in the scene with him, he just flat out makes me lose it. Clone me and we’d be his perfect audience.

It’s tough to single out any of Carell’s co-stars performance-wise. I believed they were all buddies. They sold me on the chemistry, the conversations, the nights spent together at bars hitting on women. Every scene worked for me and every actor - Romany Malco, Paul Rudd, Seth Rogen, Catherine Keener, Jane Lynch, and Elizabeth Banks - made an impression and felt right for the role. “The 40 Year Old Virgin” was an ensemble effort and everyone involved did their part in taking it to the next level.

This is Judd Apatow’s first movie as a director and Carell’s first time playing the lead role in a theatrical film. They both knock it out of the park. After a summer of not-so-hot ‘blockbusters,’ “The 40 Year Old Virgin” finally gives us a good reason to go to the movies.

GRADE: A-

"The 40 Year Old Virgin" was directed by Judd Apatow and is rated R for pervasive sexual content, language and some drug use.

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