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40 YEAR OLD VIRGIN, THE

SYNOPSIS:
Andy Stitzer (Steve Carell) lives a neat and ordered life as a bachelor, collecting action figurines and working at an electronics store. When his young workmates discover he is still a virgin at 40, they set about trying to un-virgin him with young women of their own circle, and with their male misconceptions and misogynistic plans. Andy is a reluctant pupil, however, even when he meets the divorced, youthful middle aged divorcee, Trish (Catherine Keener), who seems more his type.

Review by Louise Keller:
I must confess I had never heard of TV funnyman Steve Carell, but when I saw his list of credits, I did remember him as Brick in Anchorman, as Uncle Arthur in the Bewitched remake and for roles in Bruce Almighty and Woody Allen's Melinda and Melinda. The 40 Year Old Virgin is a better film than Anchorman, and Carell, who co-wrote the script with first time director Judd Apatow is a big hit as nerdy Andy, whose life highlights comprise boiling eggs, painting model action figures and playing video games.

When Andy describes a woman's breast feeling like a bag of sand, his workmates at the Smart Tech store David, Jay and Cal (Paul Rudd, Romany Malco, Seth Rogen) twig immediately he is a 40 year old virgin. They quickly proceed to bombard him with tips to get him laid. There's that box of porn videos, the session at Date A Palooza and the painful session at the waxing clinic. Chest hair is out, his friends tell him, and Carell's generously endowed body is stripped (or striped!) with hot wax. Ouch! (The beauty consultant looks as though she can hardly contain her laughter; this is obviously a one-take scene).

But Andy wants more than just a one-night strand. He has just met the lovely Trish (Catherine Keener), who runs the 'Sell it on E-Bay' store opposite. And although his friends try to convince him he needs to get experience before he tries it with someone he likes, he stands his ground, wins the girl, and charms us along the way.

There's crude, lewd humour, bawdy innuendo and surprisingly plenty of heart in this bad-taste romantic comedy that insists we tag along for the fun.

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
Maintaining an erection for two hours might be easier than maintaining a virgin joke for two hours. 40 YOV is at best a half hour sitcom, but stretched out to feature length and purveyed as cinema it is a limp attempt at college boy humour with lots of rude words to shock or amuse, depending on your taste. Bare bums, tit jokes, pissing and erection jokes (sometimes combined into one joke) and a constant, nay, a nagging repetition of the nudge nudge joke that a 40 year old guy is still a virgin and wouldn't it be cool to have him lose it, make up the almost the entire film.

The ethnic gang at Andy's store are written exactly to sitcom specs, but at least they occasionally break the tedium of the single joke. The blankness of Andy's life - he has no family or friends except the clowns at work - is a vacuum that defies our interest and the vacuous dialogue defies our patience. And no matter how well Steve Carell delivers Andy, it's a plastic character; the filmmakers go to great pains to establish him as a neatness freak. So what? Is this the cause or the effect of his state of virginity? It is portrayed as a negative value; his orderly and clinical lifestyle is without the chaos of emotions. But that is not borne out by what scant characterisation he is given.

The painful hair waxing scene is a price too high for Steve Carel to have paid for this result.

There are some deft moments in the final act, a predictably excellent performance from Catherine Keener as the young grandma who finally tweaks Andy's heart (and other pieces), but boredom sets in early and stays for the whole film.



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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 1
Unfavourable: 1
Mixed: 0

STEVE CARELL INTERVIEW

40 YEAR OLD VIRGIN, THE (MA)
(US, 2005)

CAST: Steve Carell, Catherine Keener, Paul Rudd, Romany Malco, Seth Rogan, Shelley Malil, Elizabeth Banks, Lesley Mann, Jane Lynch, Gerry Bednob

PRODUCER: Judd Apatow, Shauna Robertson, Clayton Townsend

DIRECTOR: Judd Apatow

SCRIPT: Judd Apatow, Steve Carrell

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Jack N. Green

EDITOR: Brent White

MUSIC: Lyle Workman

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Jackson De Govia

RUNNING TIME: 116 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: UIP

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: October 13, 2005







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