August 21, 2005 -- I'm not a fan of movies which feature crude humiliation humor. Even though “The 40 Year-Old Virgin” falls directly into the crude humiliation humor category, it is very funny nonetheless. It may be the funniest ribald comedy since “There's Something About Mary.” While this film is filled with foul language, crude sexual humor and enough humiliation to scare anyone into permanent sexual abstinence, it is also smart, sweet and insightful.
The more raw aspects of the movie are leavened by the innocence and decency of the title character, Andy Stitzer (Steve Carell of “Bewitched,” who also wrote the screenplay for this film). Andy is such a likeable character and such a decent human being, he offsets the extreme boorishness of his friends. Carell gives the kind of performance in this film that actors like Ben Stiller, Will Ferrell, Vince Vaughn, Owen Wilson and others haven't really duplicated in similar roles. He plays a guy who is the butt of many jokes, but who, at the same time, remains likeable, non-obnoxious and non-irritating. That is a rare talent.
Andy, of course, is the 40 year-old virgin. When his friends at the video store where he works find out about his lack of sex, they try to help him by giving him advice. Their advice reveals how little they know about women, how badly they have treated women and why they are all having trouble finding a stable relationship with anyone. Although they all try to change Andy, he ends up changing them. They discover that Andy, who they thought of as a loser, has a lot of good qualities. His friends also discover that they aren't really the winners they thought they were, either. The film's hilarious climax becomes unexpectedly musical. It is one of the more imaginative sequences in the movie.
While it has more laughs than any other film I've seen this year, I felt almost ashamed to laugh at some of its crude humor. Andy's three friends in the film, David (Paul Rudd of “Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy”), Jay (Romany Malco of “The Tuxedo”) and Cal (Seth Rogen of “Donnie Darko”) are all hounds who give Andy the worst possible advice on how to deal with women. They would be despicable if they weren't so clueless. Some of their comments are very misogynistic. This movie is bound to rub some people the wrong way. However, it is also terribly funny, and if there is one thing we really need right now it is a lot of laughs. I, for one, will take them where I can find them. This film rates a B.
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