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Universal Studios Home Video presents
The 40-Year-Old Virgin (Unrated Edition) (2005)

"I respect women. I love women. I respect them so much that I completely stay away from them."
- Andy (Steve Carell)

Review By: Joel Cunningham   
Published: December 19, 2005

Stars: Steve Carell, Catherine Keener
Other Stars: Paul Rudd, Seth Rogan, Leslie Mann, Romany Malco, Shelley Malil, Jonah Hill, Gerry Bednob, Jane Lynch
Director: Judd Apatow

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (nudity, crude humor, explicit sexual dialogue)
Run Time: 02h:12m:20s
Release Date: December 13, 2005
UPC: 025192870620
Genre: comedy


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
B+ B+BB C+

DVD Review

Now here's something: a sex comedy that values a committed, loving relationship over meaningless one-night stands and gratuitous nudity. Sure, the film features both of those things, but at its heart, it's a sweet-natured story about a good guy who has waited years to have sex because he always felt it was supposed to be something special, and he never quite found the right person.

Title character Andy (Steve Carell, of The Office, and a former Daily Show correspondent) is a nerdish, slightly introverted nice guy who hasn't had sex not for religious reasons, or because he's a freak, but because he was never quite able to close the deal, and a string of bad luck struck a fatal blow to his confidence, to the point where he feels it just isn't worth the effort. Unfortunately, his co-workers discover his secret when he can't keep up with the trash talk during poker night (Andy: "You know, like, when you're touching a woman's breast, and you're feeling it, and... it feels like a bag of sand?"). In true American Pie style, they decide they're going to get him a girl whether he likes it or not.

It sounds like the premise for any other sex comedy, and in a sense, I suppose it is. But writer/director Judd Apatow, used to crafting strong characters during his work on Freaks and Geeks and Undeclared, doesn't forget that the audience has to care about someone in order to relate. And thanks to a smart script, and to a greater extent, Carell's warm, slightly bumbling performance, Andy is impossible to dislike, even when he's making things difficult for himself.

Though it's Carell's show (just take a look at that ridiculous cover art and try not to giggle), he's backed by some very funny members of Apatow's comedic "frat pack" (many of whom appeared in Anchorman, which he produced and co-wrote). On the surface, they all seem like obnoxious, brainless jerks, focused only on doing the deed. But it's all locker room talk, and by the end of the movie, it's pretty clear they're more experienced but no smarter about sex (or women) than Andy (in fact, he's probably the only one with his priorities in order). David (Paul Rudd) is hung up on his last girlfriend ("Love is suffering. It's pain and it's horrible. You lose weight and then you put back on weight and you call them a bunch of times and you try to email and then they move or change their email... but that's just love."). Jay (Romany Malco) has a girlfriend, but spends most of his time figuring out creative ways to cheat on her. Cal (Seth Rogan) talks graphically about his sexual experiences but is a loser and a pothead and kind of an idiot.

Andy is finally drawn out of his shell when he meets Trish (Catherine Keener), a single mom (technically a grandma), who he really likes, which makes him even more nervous about losing his virginity. Keener actually gives one of her best performances (and that's saying something) as a believable, grounded love interest, and keeps the movie centered despite some filthy humor.

Because, yeah, this is a sex comedy, though there aren't any gross-out gags and the humor is generally good-natured. Trying to make himself sexier, Andy goes in for a chest wax, and the scene is destined to become a classic thanks largely to the fact that you can feel Carell's pain—the job is being done for real, on-camera. There's a great segment on speed dating that makes Andy wonder if he's not better off without women. The comedy feels fresh, freewheeling, and improvised, probably because most of it is—Carell and Apatow wrote the script together, but encouraged the actors to put their own spin on things (something that worked very well on Undeclared).

Still, I get the feeling there's an even better movie in here somewhere, struggling to get out. Apatow is so in love with his actors and their goofy improv, he lets what should be a short and sweet little comedy mutate into a 133-minute proof of the theory that films of this type should never be more than 105 minutes long (Kevin Smith, who has made his share, offers 100 as the magic number). At a hair under two hours in theaters, it was already a little wearing (I left literally feeling ill, though in the film's defense, some of that was because A) I was laughing a lot, and B) I was sitting next to my mom); it has been extended by 17 minutes (now only 45 minutes shorter than Titanic, and they didn't even put in the scene where Gandalf and Sauron play a game of chess). For some annoying reason, the theatrical cut is only available in full frame. While it's true that I can't think of any scenes that should be snipped right out, that's not my job—that's what editors are for. And though it's the funniest film I've seen in a theater in years, and perhaps the best example of its genre ever made, The 40-Year-Old Virgin isn't The Apartment, and 133 minutes is a lot of minutes.

Rating for Style: B+
Rating for Substance: B+

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicyes


Image Transfer Review: This brightly colored movie looks pretty good on DVD, but below average for a new release (might have something to do with it being an extended edition). There is a little softness in spots, with some distracting mosquito noise (I spotted it on Andy's checked shirt) and slight edge enhancement.

Image Transfer Grade: B

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Spanish, Frenchyes
Dolby Digital
5.1
Englishyes


Audio Transfer Review: The DD 5.1 mix is pretty standard for a comedy—very front-heavy, but with clean, clear dialogue and a nice presentation of a soundtrack heavy on pop music.

Audio Transfer Grade: B

 

Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 20 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, French, Spanish with remote access
11 Deleted Scenes
2 Featurette(s)
1 Feature/Episode commentary by director Judd Apatow, actor/co-producer Seth Rogan, actors Steve Carell, Paul Rudd, Leslie Mann, Romany Malco, Shelley Malil, Jonah Hill, Gerry Bednob, and Jane Lynch
Packaging: Keep Case
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: RSDL

Extra Extras:
  1. Gag reel
Extras Review: Ever wonder what it would be like to see every bit of footage shot for a film? This DVD edition of The 40-Year-Old Virgin lets you do just that. In addition to the 17 minutes added into the movie itself, the bonus material includes reels of additional scenes. Sure, some of them are disguised as this or that bonus feature, but really, this is almost all cut footage.

First, though, is a pretty amusing commentary from, I believe, everyone who ever wandered onto the set, including director Judd Apatow, actor/producer Seth Rogan, and most of the rest of the cast: Steve Carell, Paul Rudd, Leslie Mann, Romany Malco, Shelley Malil, Jonah Hill, Gerry Bednob, and Jane Lynch. As you can imagine, it's full of chatter and dirty jokes and not a lot of making-of info, not that it really matters.

Then there are two featurettes, both very brief. The two-minute My Dinner with Stormy is made up of some amusing footage of Rogan trying to keep his composure while sitting down with a porn star who cameos in the film. He doesn't do too well, especially after she reveals her new tattoo. Why is this here? Who knows? But it's funny enough, and features an exposed breast, and I'm guessing that was reason enough for Apatow.

More relevant is a four-minute piece on the infamous chest-waxing sequence, which Carell performed for real. He's shown beforehand, smiling and confident ("I don't think it's going to hurt..."), during (in split-screen; check out the horrified reactions of the supporting cast), and after ("That was a dumb idea."). Considering he's not exactly boyishly smooth-chested, I cannot believe Carell let anyone do this to him. Also, women who get things waxed willingly, and pay for the favor? Insane.

The rest of the extras are all deleted, extended, or alternate scenes. There are six that were cut outright; they're available with optional commentary from Apatow and Rogan. Three more (You Know How I Know You're Gay?, Andy's Fantasies, and Cal and Paula) are extended, and feature optional commentary as well. The longer Advice from Mooj and Date-A-Palooza (my favorite of the bunch) are presented sans commentary.

Many of the punchlines were improvised, and the six-minute Line-A-Rama lets you sample some options. Viewed in a chunk like that, this segment is probably the funniest sustained bit of comedy on the disc. More so than the Gag Reel, anyway, which seems pretty dry considering this crew.

Extras Grade: C+

 

Final Comments

The 40-Year-Old Virgin may be the best reviewed raunchy comedy of all time, proof that foul-mouthed humor doesn't exclude loveable characters or a sweet storyline. Though it's too long by at least half an hour (the extra "unrated" footage added to the DVD doesn't help matters), it's remarkably funny, and surprisingly true, all the way through.

 


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