The 40 Year Old Virgin (Doesn't Suck)

Since its movie Monday here, and I finally got to the movies yesterday, here's a 3 word review of The 40 Year Old Virgin: it doesn't suck.

It's actually pretty good.

As Andy, the virgin of the title, Steve Carrell gives a nice performance in the kind of role that Jim Carrey or Ben Stiller would have turned into a bad Pee Wee Herman imitation. The supporting cast is great, led by Catherine Keener, playing, well, Catherine Keener as a sexy, fortyish grandma (by the way, she is sexy, and she does look 40, and there's no sign of botox or face-peels or da vinci veneers or whatever the hell else these women are putting into their faces to make them look like ventriloquist's dummies). As the buddies who, of course, set out to get Andy laid, Paul Rudd (who seems to have turned in his pretty-boy card for supporting ensemble roles), Romany Malco, and Seth Rogan (answer to the trivia question: who starred in both Judd Apatow TV shows?) are pretty much everything you expect from the buddy chorus in this kind of movie -- raunchy, stupid, loud, and funny.

That's not to say that this is the second coming of the Godfather or even Sideways, mind you. It's still a pretty raunchy sex comedy, with cheap gags and cheap laughs throughout. If you don't mind that kind of thing, you'll really like this movie. If you do, well, maybe you should go see the March of the Penguins again. I haven't seen that movie, but I'm pretty sure there's much less use of the phrase "putting the pussy on a pedestal."

The best thing about the 40 Year Old Virgin is that, unlike similar movies -- Wedding Crashers comes to mind -- there isn't a slowdown in the third act, otherwise known as "the part where we have to quit making random jokes and resolve the plot." The gags keep coming, the plot moves smoothly, and you pretty much give a shit about what happens to Andy, sexual and otherwise.

In the end, despite the title and the running sex gags, it's a sweet movie. Which reminds me that this movie was written and directed by Judd Apatow, the guy who brought us short lived, much loved TV shows Freaks and Geeks and Undeclared. Like the best of these shows, the 40 Year Old Virgin is sweet and knowing and loopy. Like those shows, it takes the time to make us care about the characters before it starts putting them into the wacky situations we know they'll get out of.

If you haven't yet, by the way, you should really rent the DVDs of Freaks and Geeks and Undeclared. Hmmmm...that's one show set in high school, one in college, and now a post-college, late late adolescence movie. Can the Judd Apatow Parenthood be far behind? If so, there's no doubt that, like the 40 Year Old Virgin, it will, in fact, not suck.


aaron said...

Everybody but me it seems feels obligated to express their impatience with the third act of Wedding Crashers. I thought it all flowed well, and the ending speech in the church provided some interesting meta-moments when basically both audience and the Rachel McAdams character realized that, well, it was Owen Wilson doing the talking, and dammit, he's so charming and handsome! and he could smother Grandma to death and we'd still give in to his self-absorbed pleadings.

Mike said...

Judd Apatow wrote a book called Superstud about his own sexual misadventures (he wasn't a virgin until 40, but he was a virgin until somewhat late in the game). It's pretty light reading, and pretty funny. Sometimes painful, like when he reprints some of his journal entries verbatim in which he pines away for one girl or another and basically admits to being a hopelessly corny romantic (and also not at all smooth with the ladies).

There's also a scene in which he tries to blow himself.

Anyway, I'm curious to see if the movie draws a lot from his own romantic misadventures. There were a few Freaks and Geeks moments in Superstud -- truth, I guess, is sometimes more sad and funny than fiction.

TMC said...

Excellent. I happen to love movies that don't suck.

aaron said...

Mike, actually Paul Feig wrote "Superstud." He created Freaks and Geeks, while Apatow was a producer.


Mike said...

Ahhh, you're right. I stand corrected. Did Feig have anything to do with 40 YO Virgin? It seemed like a similar plot line. I think the book is even tagged as "the true story of a (26-year-old?) virgin," or something like that. Maybe he's just trying to ride the movie's coattails.