Saturday, January 14, 2006

40 Year-Old Virgin

Dir: Judd Apatow


Yes, I sometimes enjoy the silly comedies that often garnish the inelegant and untimely humorous exchanges of fraternity boys (I say this with the self-aware conceit that quoting Blazing Saddles is a sign of erudition and not mindless chatter). When the AFI and the Golden Globes started doling out praise for a self-lableled silly film, my curiosity soon followed.

I was reluctant to watch the film, fearing it would a one-trick pony, a dehumanizing joke that continually mocks a "sexless loser" for two hours. Surprisingly, this film has an incredible amount of heart. The film's namesake, Andy (Steve Carrell), is a stock room worker at the local electronics store. After an evening of poker with his co-workers, Andy reluctantly reveals his history of abstinence. Naturally, there is some ribbing from his co-workers, but they make it their mission to get Andy laid. Andy accepts such efforts with expectant reserve. His search for base fulfillment is put on hold when he falls for Trisha (Catherine Keener), a young grandmother who is reluctant to taint their relationship--at least for now-- with the good stuff.

Carrell could very well follow the path of Jim Carrey and Bill Murray--solids actors that imbue their performances with a latent sadness that adds a compelling complexity to their characters. The reasons Andy is still a virgin are quite plausible; they are not artificial narrative constructions that are based on Andy's "geekiness" or teenage traumas. As a result, Carrell's Andy maintains a reasonable self-respect that prevents his co-workers from relentlessly mocking him or forcing him into uncomfortable situations. Yet, underneath this quiet dignity is the sad realization of his lack of fulfillment (and no, it is not the lack of sex). The movie, despite any raunchy humor, presents a rather conservative message.

Overall, an enjoyable movie experience.


Blogger maxwell noted on 1/16/2006 08:11:00 PM that...

I thought this movie was funny and sweet. I really liked the ongoing relationship that develops.

Nice review.