Directed by: Judd Apatow
Premise: A forty-year-old man (Steve Carell) who has had no success in his romantic life attempts to correct his bad luck when he meets a single mom (Catherine Keener).
What Works: This is a very funny, albeit a gross out, comedy. Carell’s coworkers are really the funniest part of the movie, setting up jokes in which Carell is usually the punch line. The film explores some of the comic issues surrounding courtship and sexuality and The 40 Year Old Virgin has some fun with that. Carell is most successful when he is not trying to be a physical comedian. His scenes with Keener and her family have a lot of realism to them that is comic and in some ways more engaging than the deliberately funny moments.
What Doesn’t: In parts Carell’s performance slips, such as in the waxing scene, and the acting feels self-conscious. The film is missing the brains and energy of the first half of Wedding Crashers and although the premise of the film is unique it does wear thin about halfway through. This is evidenced by a musical number at the film’s conclusion that is completely out of place.
Bottom Line: The 40 Year Old Virgin is reminiscent of films adapted from Saturday Night Live skits, which is to say that it has a golden concept but there is little substance to it and it suffers over the running time. It is still an entertaining film for those who enjoy films like Wedding Crashers or American Pie.
Episode: #69 (September 25, 2005)