The 40 Year Old Virgin
It's pretty simple, really. Steve Carrell plays a 40 year-old who is still a virgin--hence the title. It's how the rest of the people around him deal with it that sustains the one-joke premise. But just barely.
It's not like Andy Stitzer (Carrell) hasn't attempted to lose his virginity. It just never worked out so he stopped trying. It hasn't really bothered him, though. He's got a cushy job stamping invoices at an electronics superstore, rides a bike, has a nice apartment with a proud collection of action figures and comic books--and, above all, has an upbeat attitude. You know, a regular guy, except for that one itty-bitty thing. But that's all about to change. Once his co-workers--lovelorn David (Paul Rudd), womanizer Jay (Romany Malco) and horny Cal (Seth Rogan)--get wind of Andy's predicament, they take it upon themselves to get the man laid. But nothing seems to work--until, that is, Andy meets Trish (Catherine Keener), a 40-year-old mother of three, and sparks fly. Although Andy and Trish decide to take things very, very slowly, with a mutual no-sex policy (at least for awhile), the deed may finally be at hand. Or not, depending on whether Andy can get over his hang-up with women.
Carrell's star is definitely on the rise--and with just cause. Getting his first real break on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, the Second City alum has basically been stealing scenes from bigger comic stars--such as Jim Carrey in Bruce Almighty and Will Ferrell in Anchorman--ever since. Now, it's Carrell's turn to take the lead, and oddly enough, he chooses to play a big old dork. Imagine that. But honestly, if anyone can play a sweet, lovable if slightly peculiar 40-year-old virgin, it's Carrell; he's just got one of those faces. The other great thing about Carrell is how well he plays with others. He's really not at all a showboat and is definitely at home in an ensemble situation, especially when the ensemble is just as hilarious as he is. The 40 Year-Old Virgin's eclectic supporting cast holds true to this theory. Rudd has moved away from that pretty-boy persona he perfected in his earlier movies (The Object of My Affection, Clueless) and is delightfully twisted as the self-destructive David. Rogan (Donnie Darko), too, does a nice spin on Cal's frat-boy qualities. Even Keener gets to hang with the guys and mix in her own eccentricities. Only Malco (Showtime's' Weeds), as the brash Jay, seems a little out of place, but he holds his own when he has to. As does the string of wacko women Andy is paired up with, including Leslie Mann as one of Andy's very drunk prospects, and Elizabeth Banks as one who can get her freak on. Which, of course, scares Andy to death.
Director-writer-producer Judd Apatow, creator of the stellar but short-lived TV series Freaks and Geeks as well as the producer of several hit comedies such as Anchorman, just further enhances the camaraderie on the Virgin set. It really seems like a big boys' club. Apatow and Carrell go way back; Rudd and Carrell worked together on Anchorman; and Rogan starred in Apatow's Freaks and Geeks. In other words, these guys know each other pretty well. Maybe that's what keeps us interested while Virgin's sketchy plot plays out. Sure, we've seen guy flicks before, plenty of them, in fact. But not from this particular group. The film is at its best when they are sitting around, rifting off a particular subject or razzing each other. Rudd and Rogan's ''You know how I know you're gay'' one-upmanship is hilarious. But Virgin starts getting a little long in the tooth, waiting for our hero to get to pleasure town. It's like we are getting a bird's-eye view on what these boys think about sex--and if truth be told, Andy is the one who comes out looking the most normal after all is said and done.
In this summer of raunchy, hilarious R-rated comedies (save Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo, that is), The 40 Year-Old Virgin fits right in--even if the one-joke premise gets a little stale towards the end.