|Although many of its jokes are the type that would make the prudish sort blush, The 40 Year Old Virgin has a surprisingly genuine heart. Since the sex jokes and raunchy episodes are well executed for the genre and given the subject matter, the crass nature of the comedy is certainly expected. With suitable casting choices and an emphasis on engaging and sincere performances, the film probably has a good chance of entertaining even those audience members who aren't drunk, eighteen year old males.|
Though the movie's creators probably had that specific demographic in mind when they created the film, it's just an added bonus that a wider range of moviegoers could find this film an entertaining experience. The film's value doesn't really come from the dialogue or the general scripting, but from the interaction of the main characters. And the fact that the film seems to be able to expand beyond its intended demographic makes its release date somewhat of a mystery. Isn't August supposed to be the doldrums of the summer blockbuster season?
Perhaps the producers felt they could corner the August box office with a better than average August product. And in one of his largest roles to date, lead star Steve Carrell seems to be up to the task of bringing this film up a notch or two. And he is joined by a small group of actors who, while not comic geniuses, seem to have put a worthy effort into treading the line between fart jokes and goofy relationship comedy. Where their talents wane however is in just how long they're expected to carry on the laughs.
At 116 minutes, the film isn't exactly epic in length, but for a comedy it's slightly longer than average. And given that the caliber of the performances and the script isn't exactly groundbreaking, the length of the film probably should have been cut down by ten minutes or so. Perhaps even a few minutes more. As there will invariably be an unrated or extended version DVD release of the film, the filmmakers should be worried just how long this movie will have the potential to become. Of course, for big fans of the film, making the film longer just might cause a spike in DVD sales.
While the movie explores the idea of a nearly over-the-hill virgin in great detail, the film is also a good example of that strange relationship between guy buddies where they seem to have a better relationship with one another than they do with any females. They have an intense homophobic paranoia that someone might think they're gay yet the only people they can talk to are their buddies. The best relationships they have are with other guys though one of their worst fears is being perceived as gay.
That strange phenomena probably wasn't something that the filmmakers intended to focus on, but it's an interesting angle nevertheless. Writer/director Judd Aptow seems to have approached the directing of his first feature with enthusiasm for the subject matter and the story's characters and as a consequence, the combination of low-brow toilet humor and the innocent glee of Steve Carell's character work better than expected.
The movie hits a hilarious note more than once, but it's not a laugh fest for its entire run. Much of the humor is the sort where you might chuckle a few times, though the laughter probably won't be constant until the end credits start to roll. In point of fact, if the filmmakers had put the sort of visual insanity present in the last few minutes into the rest of the film, the comedy would be Oscar worthy. With the standard buddy flick and toilet humor approach present in the rest of the film, the hyper ending is a welcome surprise after the slightly excessive length.
Review by Kelsey Wyatt.