(Click here for Internet Movie Database entry)
This is a simple movie to describe. It's all in the title, The 40 Year Old Virgin. Indeed, this is the story of a geeky guy (Steve Carell) who works at Circuit City, rides a bicycle, owns every action figure ever made, and is still a virgin at 40. Since nothing about Carell's character is particularly believable, the fact of his persistent virginity doesn't really stand out. He's not only a virgin but he knows nothing about sex which is harder to accept but anyway that's the premise. Carell is surrounded by a bunch of dumb guys (Paul Rudd, Seth Rogen and Romany Malco) who already think Carell is weird, even before they find out that he's a virgin. As soon as they do find out, the guys feel it is their duty to get him laid as soon as possible. His boss (Janet Lynch) even suggests herself as a friend with benefits. After a couple of close encounters with bimbos (Elizabeth Banks, Leslie Mann), into the fray walks a potential girlfriend for Carell (Catherine Keener) who is a single mother of three and grandmother of one. Much hilarity, or what passes for hilarity in this kind of movie, ensues.
Those of you who know me and my reviews know that this really isn't my kind of comedy. I like my comedies to be a little quirky, and there's nothing quirky about The 40 Year Old Virgin, except maybe the presence of Catherine Keener who has done her share of quirky movies, e.g., Being John Malkovich. She is great as always, but the rest of the cast do not rise above their one-dimensional characters. Carell is pretty good but he doesn't rise above the material either. And that's really the problem. The 40 Year Old Virgin, as directed by Judd Apatow and written by Apatow and Carell, just isn't very funny. Besides, the obvious sex humor, they rely on that old standby, gays, for many of the jokes. Because we all know that gay humor is the funniest thing there is. And they go a little bit over the line with some unfortunate ethnic jokes. Carell should be funnier after his past experience with Saturday Night Live and The Daily Show. The other actors are pretty much wasted, particularly Paul Rudd (Clueless) and Janet Lynch (A Mighty Wind). Watch for Carell's wife (Nancy Walls) as the sex counselor and Apatow's wife (Leslie Mann) as the woman who pukes all over Carell. One good thing is that for once Hollywood went against the casting rules. Carell is 42 years old and Keener is 45. The best thing about going to see The 40 Year Old Virgin is that they showed a trailer for Serenity, the movie based on the Firefly TV show. It rocked.