The 40 Year-Old Virgin

Raunchy movies work best when there is some amount of heartfelt emotion underlying the bawdy humor. The two contrasts serve to add depth to an otherwise shallow endeavor. The 40 Year-Old Virgin is a good case in point. This movie wallows with some extremely funny bathroom humor, yet tempers it with a story that is surprisingly warm and emotional. This is also the first star outing for Steve Carrell, Bewitched, Melinda and Melinda). As the title implies, Carrell's Andy Stitzer has never been with a woman. Looking at his lifestyle may yield some hints. He has no car, going everywhere by bike. He loves playing video games, read comic books, and has a house that looks like a shrine towards action figures. Andy is a nice guy inside, but all these factors, and his poor social skills do not help.

Andy works in inventory at a Circuit City-like store. When his coworkers David (Paul Rudd, P.S., Anchorman), Jay (Romany Malco, The Tuxedo, White Boy), and Cal (Seth Rogen, Anchorman, Donnie Darko) figure this out, they make it their mission to get Andy laid. They truly believe that sex is good for Andy, and it is what Andy wants. So in a sense, they are out to help Andy by giving him outrageous tips, leading to series of humiliating encounters for Andy. Rudd, Malco, and Rogen serves as a rambunctious Greek chorus of sorts; the source of most of the off-color humor in The 40 Year-Old Virgin. Director Judd Apatow, who wrote the screenplay with Carrell keeps these guys funny because they are not afraid to insult themselves, and because all of it is in the spirit of good humor. They act like a bunch of regular guys (or college guys that never grew up), swapping stories and making fun of each other.

The real difference lies in a woman named Trish (Catherine Keener, The Interpreter, The Ballad of Jack and Rose). She works across the street from Andy, and her easygoing demeanor and approachability pique Andy's interests. She seems genuinely fond of him, and he would like to get to know her better. His friends will have none of this, and encourage him to keep playing the field. In between disastrous dates, Andy pines about Trish and tries to call her. Apatow and Carrell do something that few movies do - develop a relationship between two people. As Trish and Andy get to know each other, they discover they really like each other. Andy keeps his virginity a secret by saying he wants to hold off on the physical aspects. Yet it's obvious that this subject will rear its ugly head, especially after Trish views his abstinence as rejection. And while the typical romantic comedy plot turns arrive, Apatow and Carrell have the two characters sit down and talk about their issues.

Virgin also works because the film takes something that people can relate to. Not necessarily virginity per se, but the feeling of loneliness, or being an outcast (remember, Apatow worked on Freaks & Geeks). Andy is a lonely guy. Worse, once he realizes what he is missing, he feels worse. While the humor in the movie may be at Carrell's expense, it is never mean-spirited. This actually makes the incredibly crude and sophomoric jokes funny. This makes The 40 Year Old-Virgin paradoxically the sweetest raunchy movie in recent memory.

Haro Rates It: Not Bad.
1 hour, 56 minutes, Rated R for pervasive sexual content, language, and some drug use.

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