A movie called ‘The 40 Year Old Virgin’ seems to scream ‘this film is stupid’ right at you. What’s more is that it even sounds exploiational, and given the times we live in and the kind of comedies that can be released, just a terrible, rude comedy that people with the tiniest amount of taste should stay well away from. However, in the last while, I have come to know that Steve Carell is a pretty interesting comedy figure, so there was hope that at least he would make this watcheable.
I must say that in the end I was surprised. This film never actually makes fun of virginity, it actually deals with it in quite a delicate and mature way for a slapstick comedy. Sure, there is an amout of cheap laughs going, but those laughs are never really directed at the 40 year old virgin, and the character is not portrayed as a clown or anything like it. In fact, soon enough, virginity isn’t even the whole point of the film, rather a quite genuine and not too exaggerated view on the different ways in which men look at sex; the virgin, the playboy, the ‘I’d do anything that moves’ guy and the guy that swears he will never have sex again. And I was also not disappointed by Steve Carell; this is the movie, I would say, that made him an important comedy figure in the first place.
Upon analysing the film, one should find that there is little that can be heavily criticised. The film is not as rude as one would think, I mean, think about what a concept like this in the hands of the Farrelly brothers would have become. In addition, watching something like this finally shows that delicate social themes like sex and virginity can be dealt with in a 21st century comedy without being vulgar and based upon terrible principles, like the ones portrayed terrible in films like American Pie and all those other films. This is a more mature comedy, if one can be so bold to make such a statement. The credit goes to Judd Apatow, who is also responsible for re-inventing comedy films, carrying on with others like Knocked Up and Superbad. All these films have interesting fresh elements that never quite turn out as horrible as the titles would have you believe. In such a way, one can be attracted to this new comedic way without thinking in a prejudiced way that if one were to see the film, one would have to expect and immature, tasteless and demential comedy.
Well, so far, from reading this review, one would think that this film is a masterpiece. That it isn’t. I am simply surprised at the morality of the film, and I guess, even a little reasured by it. There are problems with the pace, and as far as the plot is concerned, sometimes it just seems to lose direction; in that sense, it has a lot more in common with other comedies. In fact, there may be one or two scenes where the film finally gives into the temptation to be funny regardless, and other scenes that don’t seem to work out as well, as in they don’t help move the story forwards and they aren’t even all that funny (the dating club scene comes to mind). But I guess you can’t have everything, although one thing is for sure, regardless of what the title of the film may suggest, anyone looking for cheap laughs will probably be bored.
WATCH FOR THE MOMENT – After praising the maturity of the movie, it could seem out of place to pick the scene where Carell waxes his chest as the moment to look out for. But what the hell, it’s probably the funniest moment of the film.