Poor production values, uninspired direction and clumsy storytelling should sink any movie, but “The 40 Year Old Virgin” stays afloat through sheer audacity, constant hilarity and unexpected sweetness. The R-rated envelope-pushing and the belly laughs aren’t that surprising considering that much of the players here were also involved in Anchorman, last year’s funniest movie, but I never thought I would identify so much with the characters in a sex comedy.
I’m only 25 and my virginity isn’t still in its original packaging like a collectable action figure, but like Andy Stitzer (Steve Carell, who also co-wrote the film with director Judd Apatow), I’m kind of a geek, not always comfortable in social situations and not as experienced with the ladies as I could be. I could kinda see myself too in David (Paul Rudd), who’s still obsessed with a girl he hasn’t been with for two years and expresses himself with an odd blend of sensitivity and hostility. I’m nothing like shameless sex hounds Jay (Romany Malco) and Cal (Seth Rogen), but they sure made me laugh!
As the title implies, Andy is 40 but has yet to have sex. When his coworkers at Smart Tech (the aforementioned David, Jay and Cal) find out, they take it upon themselves to get him laid, bringing him to nightclubs in hope of “tackling drunk bitches” and giving him stupid tips (only be asking questions because women mostly want to talk about themselves, stop “putting the pussy on a pedestal”, etc.).
Somehow, though, Andy meets a lady on his own, divorced mother of three Trish (Catherine Keener). Wedding Crashers, this summer’s other hilarious guy flick, also turned into a romantic comedy halfway through, but it didn’t feel as earned as it does in “The 40 Year Old Virgin”. I thought Keener and Carell made a good couple, even though he comes off more like a goofball supporting player than a charismatic male lead. In fact, that’s the great thing about it: it’s the rare occurrence, at the movies like in real life, where the dorky nice guy is allowed to not only get the girl, but do so on his own terms.
I’m going on and on about the sentimental stuff but, don’t be mistaken, the movie delivers the funny and then some. There are too many great lines to remember, many hysterical gross-out scenes and plenty of throwaway details that will make the observant viewer chuckle knowingly. Heck, the movie is a must-see for the climactic musical number alone!
When the moon is in the Seventh House
And Jupiter aligns with Mars
Then peace will guide the planets
And love will steer the stars…