Published on January 22nd, 2015 | by The Horse
The 40-Year-Old Virgin (2005)
In terms of plot, The 40-Year-Old Virgin does exactly what it says on the tin. In marketing theory this is a great idea. On the other hand, the Ronseal title is a bit of a stumbling block. Combined with a cack-handed trailer, the dumb name may have put people off (see also Sexy Beast).
I slept on this movie for years, dismissing it as a puerile Hollywood sex-farce for people who thought American Pie was too sophisticated. It’s not.
In fact, it’s funny, clever and touching in ways never hinted at by its title. The name suggests the comedy is at the expense of Steve Carrell’s titular character and situation, but both he and it are treated kindly. The way his friends rally around him (with hilarious consequences) is rather lovely.
116 minutes is lengthy for a such a simple story, but there’s so many laugh-out-loud moments it doesn’t feel overlong.
Some of said moments were clearly borne out of workshopping scenes and seeing what happens. This riffing is far more common now, but wasn’t particularly at the time. They’ve even left in some genuinely weird moments, just because they’re a hoot. What starts out as Carrell’s film segues into a true ensemble piece, as through “helping” Andy pop his cherry the other characters are forced to deal with problems in their own relationships with their partners, and the dating game in general.
The ending is magnificent, as the fourth wall is broken and the cast do a hilarious feelgood musical montage, which they’re all clearly enjoying immensely.
It’s now a little dated in parts, eg: are we still allowed to laugh at the “You know how I know you’re gay” banter between two best friends? Serious question. There’s a weird anti-bicycle subtext, which Americans might get but will probably be a bit mysterious to a more bike-friendly European audience. But overall, it’s a joy.