The 40-Year-Old Virgin is a 2005 comedy film directed by Judd Apatow and stars Steve Carell as Andy Stitzer, the titular character who has retained his innocence throughout his entire life. When his co-workers learn about his lack of experience, they make it their personal goal to help Andy “do the deed.” This film was not only responsible for launching Steve Carell to star-status, but it was also the directorial debut of Judd Apatow who later went on to direct other successful comedy films.
Andy Stitzer is a grown man who works in a stockroom at tech store SmartTech and spends his free time collecting action figures, and playing video games. His coworkers David (Paul Rudd), Jay (Romany Malco), and Cal (Seth Rogen) don’t really know him, but needing another player for their poker game, invite him to join. It is here that they learn the truth about his lack of sexual experience and badger him into the many shenanigans that take place during the events of the film. Eventually, Andy begins dating a single mother named Trish (Catherine Keener), and together they make a deal not to make their relationship physical until their twentieth date, much to Andy’s relief.
In this day and age, sex is a topic that is found almost everywhere. There are some that may argue this film bolsters and glorifies the need for sexual intercourse, and that if you don’t get it, you are worth nothing. However, the film actually strives to make the exact opposite point. It’s not about sex, but rather self-respect and love. It’s about finding who you are and learning to accept what’s there. Although Andy initially begins his journey looking for sex, it quickly becomes about earning the trust and love of someone special to him. Although true that the film is an extremely raunchy and vulgar experience, in its bones lies a much warmer and sincere message.
Steve Carell is widely known for his portrayal of Michael Scott on NBC’s The Office, and his role in this film is just as painfully funny as it is as the Regional Manager of Dunder Mifflin Scranton, albeit a tad raunchier. Andy is different than other characters in the film mainly due to his sincerity. Carell is able to provide a warmth and kindness that other characters just simply don’t. Carell’s portrayal of Andy delivers an early look at his acting chops, while also delivering a tremendously likable protagonist.
Carell and Catherine Keener have fantastic chemistry that propels the story into a great depth that places it above standard comedy fare. The two’s characters have such a realistic feeling that it’s hard to imagine them with anyone else. However, there are times that Andy and Trish’s relationship feels a little too goofy, but these moments are rare and hardly worth complaining about.
The rest of the supporting cast is great on their own. Rudd, Malco, and Rogen provide so many gut-busting laughs that the movie can float with them alone. Many of the film’s best moments come from the interactions of these three actors, who also are able to offer some of the most quotable lines of dialogue in the film. In addition to the supporting cast, there are also a great number of cameo appearances from other comedians and stars such as Jonah Hill, David Koechner, and Kevin Hart to name a few.
The worst aspect of this film is the somewhat long running time. It’s just under two hours, which isn’t insufferable, but it definitely does make this particular film feel a bit stretched. However, with a script that’s as funny as this film’s, the runtime just feels like a minor inconvenience as opposed to a terrible flaw.
What sets this film apart from other comedies is not only the number of laughs, but the genuinely sweet and interesting moments scattered throughout. There is a lot of heart that was put into this film that seems to be missing from many other comedies, and a great portion of that is due to the undeniable chemistry between the cast members. Despite an overlong runtime, The 40-Year-Old Virgin is a great film that offers laughs, likable characters, and a compelling story.