Wednesday, August 24, 2005

The 40-Year-Old Virgin

Posted By on Wed, Aug 24, 2005 at 12:00 AM

Make no mistake, this sex farce — like so many of its ilk — offers a litany of crude humor and foul language that would make the proverbial sailor blush; however, it’s also softened by the endearing sweetness of the title character. Steve Carell (The Office) is near perfect as overgrown child Andy Stitzer, a nerdy electronics store clerk who’d rather cuddle up to his pristine action figure collection than a real live woman. It’s not that he doesn’t like girls, it’s just that terrifying early bedroom mishaps (involving braces and toe sucking) have turned him off for good. Andy’s hidden shame gets dragged into the open at a staff poker game; when pressed for a raunchy anecdote he describes womens’ breasts as feeling like “bags of sand.” After learning of his unpopped cherry, a trio of co-workers makes it their mission to get Andy some booty. Each of his helpers plays a male stereotype, from flashy playa Jay (Romany Malco) to romantic sap David (Paul Rudd) to horny everyman Cal (Seth Rogen).

In Andy’s quest for action, he runs through a string of attempted female conquests that are merely punch lines, but he finds a real romantic interest in smart but spacey single mom Trish, played deftly by the ever-enchanting Catherine Keener. While the shtick eventually wears thin and gives way to standard romantic comedy, the movie is consistently funny and far smarter than similar gross-out fests like the Deuce Bigalow series. Credit is due to director Judd Apatow, whose TV work (Freaks and Geeks, Undeclared) was distinguished by a clever, character-rich humor. No one will mistake this film for high art, but it has enough sweet sentimentality to rise (ever so slightly) above the nastier entries of its kind.

Corey Hall writes about film for Metro Times. Send comments to letters@metrotimes.com.

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