The 40-Year-Old Virgin

2006-04-30 13:22


40-year-old Andy Stitzer (Steve Carrell) has a dirty little secret. Nothing serious - he hasn't ever killed someone, stolen a car or even cheated on his taxes - but something very surprising. Andy's never had sex - not even once. As a shy teen and an awkward college kid he just never got it right, and after a while he stopped trying. Still sex isn't everything right? He's got a good job at an electronics superstore, a nice apartment, friends and a collection of mint condition action figures - why mess with a good thing? His new buddies at the superstore disagree and make it their mission to "get Andy laid". After a series of disastrous dates, Andy finally meets Trish and things look set to change, until Andy's buddies find out that he and Trish have agreed NOT to have sex for their first 40 dates.


The 40-Year-Old Virgin is one of the funniest comedies of the year - but not for the obvious reasons. Its foul-mouthed bawdiness and sexual innuendo do raise a few chuckles, but the film's real humour comes from the insightful portrait of a man's journey from self-imposed adolescence to adulthood. Wrapped up in sweet love story and sprinkled with some great passages of "buddy" comedy, The 40-Year-Old Virgin is a far more mature and satisfying film than many would expect.

The film owes much of its success to Steve Carrell's excellent performance. This is his first lead role but many will remember him as the obnoxious TV news reader who Jim Carey forced to spout technicoloured gibberish on air in Bruce Almighty. In The 40-Year-Old Virgin he balances goof ball antics with endearing vulnerability and old-fashioned gentlemanliness. Despite the film's unlikely premise and its ridiculous hijinks Carrel is consistently believable.

But a buddy comedy would be nothing without some suitably ribald friends to act as foils to Andy's sweet nature. These roles are amply filled by Paul Rudd, Romany Malco and Seth Rogen. We've grown to expect Paul Rudd to be excellent (and he is), but Seth Rogan is an unexpected delight. His mature performance is as nuanced as it is funny, belying the fact that he is barely 23 years old.

Andy's love (and lust) interests in the movie are less well represented. Apart from a solid performance by Catherine Keener, well cast as Andy's older girlfriend, the rest of the women in the film are frustratingly one-dimensional, ranging from cutesy ingenues to drunk driving harridans to sex crazed weirdoes. If the filmmaker were courageous enough to cast the obviously older Keener in the female lead, couldn't they have put more effort into the other female characters?

If you can look past this rather large flaw then you'll see what an otherwise canny piece of work the script is. Co-written by Carrell, the screenplay performs a similar balancing act to the lead performances, mixing crass and endearing elements in equal parts. Most tellingly it delays the contentious "act" right to the end of the film, heightening our own satisfaction with the resolution. The film's closing sequence is utterly delightful and will have even the most hardened cynic chuckling.

A word of warning though - the film may be sweet but it's equally filthy. You may think you're worldly wise but some of this film's language turns the air blue (not to mention turning your stomach). Still, if you can stand the crassness the film is a real treat - the most honest, open and hilarious love story of the year.

- Alistair Fairweather

A hilarious and sweet little love story with the dirtiest mouth you've ever heard.

Lourens 2005/10/23 1:18 PM
Lourens We are film fanatics and open to all types of good movies. We found this a repulsive movie of would rate it nothing better than an adult "American Pie". I will definitely not rate it as a "sweet little love story"
lis 2005/10/23 6:38 PM
SO FUNNY!!!!!!!! oh my gosh, this movie had me on the floor, i laughed so much i had tears in my eyes! im def gonna go see this again! a must. this one!
LesleyAnn 2005/10/23 7:03 PM
Yeah, GO AND SEE it, definitely!!! Thats if you want to have a good laugh!!! This movie isnt for the provincial amongst us, certainly, but it had us all leaving the cinema SMILING this past Sunday arvy! The Age of Aquarius is upon us, ready or not....
Mo 2005/10/26 2:35 PM
Funny Funniest movie of the year. Well, besides Wedding Crashers. I think this movie was great. Laughed all the way through. but as Mr. Fairweather said. this is not a movie for everyone. its hardcore, and its good. he he he. /me finds a place to pre-order DVD
Jean 2006/03/24 3:16 PM
Funniest movie of the year Hire this on video if you haven't seen it, and you're not an idiot prude. It's a sweet, sensitive, kind, caring, committed movie that's also hilarious. It made me realise how human men really are.
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.