Despite ‘R’ rating, The 40-Year-Old Virgin is more than just ‘lowbrow raunchiness’
Smart, funny and rated “R,” The 40-Year-Old Virgin is a mild but consistently pleasant surprise.
The premise of a 40-something guy who has never had sex may sound like a dumb-and-dumber concept for a comic flick, and with that R rating, crude jokes and below-the-belt humor would seem an inevitable part of the package. But while this charmingly cockeyed romantic comedy certainly earns its R, it is far too sharp and observant to be mistaken for mere lowbrow raunchiness.
As scripted by Judd Apatow (who also directed) and Steve Carell (who also shines in the title role), 40 takes its seemingly absurd title-concept and makes it the active ingredient in a mutli-faceted little tale sending-up—but not exactly putting down—the romantic trials and tribulations of yuppie singles, particularly males who are perhaps over 30 but still not entirely free of adolescence.
Andy Stitzer (Carell) works in the stockroom at an electronics store. He’s both geeky and likeable, and when his co-worker pals (Romany Malco, Seth Rogen and Paul Rudd) realize that he’s still sexually uninitiated, they undertake a variety of schemes aimed at getting him laid. And what results is an episodic comedy of sexual and romantic manners in which Andy is the prime figure but not the only source of misadventure and amusement. The pals themselves are immersed in comic misadventures of their own, and Andy’s newly activated pursuit of romance leads him into the company of a number of distinctive women, including especially Trish (Catherine Keener), an e-store operator he meets more or less by chance.
A sexually adventurous bookstore clerk (Elizabeth Banks) and Andy’s tough-talking boss (Jane Lynch) are particular standouts among the other female characters in the story, but the trio of pals, each of whom has his own problems and failings with women, make intriguing contributions to what is ultimately a kindly and generous-spirited comedy.