Whats funny about this movie is that even though its about a 40 year old virgin, its probably the most personal thing Ive ever written in the sense that it shows how awkward I was when I was dating - and how insecure I felt. I mean, the whole idea about a guy hanging out with a bunch of guys who are constantly hitting on women and this one guy is just terrible at it is my life story. I totally related to every cringe factor emotion that one feels when they watch his journey, admitted Apatow.
Apatow says some parts of the story hit particularly close to home, including the waxing scene. Ive never been waxed but I should be waxed (laughing). When [Steve Carell] takes his shirt off and the whole audience goes, Oh my god, hes so hairy, all I think is, I am way hairier than that!
Judd Apatows Approach to Directing The 40 Year Old Virgin: What I try to do is find out who the actors are that are going to play the parts early in the process, and then tailor the movie to who they are. I rehearse extensively before we start shooting so that everything is based on the instincts of these actors. And then once we start shooting, the scenes are pretty set. But when we shoot the scene I definitely will give everyone the opportunity to go off page and say what they want to say, or Ill come up with options that might cover my a** if Im nervous about certain aspects of the scene. Like if a scene is really harsh, I might get something not as harsh. If a scene seems kind of corny, I might get something that makes it less corny. I try to basically do the reshoots for the movie while doing the movie (laughing).
Judd Apatow Explains the Importance of Putting Out a DVD with Lots of Bonus Features: Because more people see the movie on DVD than in the movie theater, its important that the DVD is amazing so what Ive been trying to do is take advantage of that. I know the DVD people want a great run of extras so I will take the time to shoot things much longer than they need to be shot and let them expand, because it will be great for the DVD. And then sometimes as a result of that self-indulgence, something amazing happens thats great for the movie.
The scene where the two guys are talking about you know how I know youre gay, I only needed a couple of lines to establish that they were in the house while [Steve Carell] was asking Catherine Keener out on a date. But I thought, Well this looks funny. Im just going to let these guys talk for 10 minutes and then Ill just put it on the DVD if its funny. And then what they came up with, which was that scene none of which was scripted wound up in the movie. But what they improvised, the long version which is about 4 to 6 minutes, is on the DVD as an extra so you can actually see how they organically came up with that idea.
Thanks in Large Part to The 40 Year Old Virgin R Rated Comedies Arent Dead: The success of The 40 Year Old Virgin sent a message to studios that its okay to greenlight an R rated comedy meant for adult audiences. Apatow said, I think the studios have thought for a long time that its a safer bet to be PG-13 because theres more potential for a bigger audience. But what they havent factored in is that for a lot of movies, the PG-13 prevents the filmmaker from making the best version of the movie and that, in the end, you lose money off of that. So I think taking the handcuffs off has made for some funnier movies and taking some chances, and the audiences really appreciated that. Theyve appreciated it in such enormous numbers that I think it reminds them that there is a market for this kind of movie.
Judd Apatow on the Reaction of Critics: According to the current results on RottenTomatoes, the majority of critics (84% as I type this) enjoyed the movie. Commenting on the positive reviews, Apatow said, I think the critics like it because its a little more honest because its R rated. It allows you to really go there.
I think one of the reasons why you dont see that many R rated comedies is because when theyre bad, theyre really embarrassing. And studio heads are really stuck with egg on their face. Like, Why would you make something so disgusting? So I think thats another reason why theyre not made that often.