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DVD Review - The 40-Year Old Virgin

December 28th, 2005

The 40-Year Old Virgin was one of the biggest surprise hits of the year, topping $100 million during its theatrical run, and the Unrated DVD should easily top that on the home market. But is the film truly earning this success, or was it a mere fluke?

Spoiler-Free Synopsis: 40-year old Andy Stitzer has a very satisfying life. He has a great job, fulfilling hobbies, and such, but while there are plenty of things that he's done, there's something he hasn't gotten around to doing. (What that is should be obvious from the title of the movie.) When his co-workers find out he's never had sex, they make it their mission to change that. After some disastrous attempts, he finally meets what could be the perfect woman and friends are happy, until they find out their relationship is based on a no sex agreement.

As always, the next section contains spoilers, click here to skip to the Special Features section or here to the conclusion.

Movie Review:
With plot like that you expect this film to be a lowbrow sex comedy filled with immature characters, crude humor, and sexual content. And yes, the movie does have plenty of that. But the film also has 3-dimensional characters, real character development, and emotional connection. Had the film been comprised of just the former without the latter it would have been a total waste of time.

For instance, practically every main character undergoes some serious emotional development over the course of the movie. Andy Stitzer starts as a painfully shy person but over the course of the movie gains confidence in himself, which not only helps his social life, but his career as well. Jay starts as an unrepentant womanizer but in the end becomes a family man. David learns to stop obsessing over / stalking his ex-girlfriend and moves on with his life. Trish was the only character that was emotionally mature to begin with, so she didn't really need to grow, but Marla, her daughter, went from openly disliking Andy to eventually supporting the relationship and even getting her mother to fight for it. (The scene where she tells her mom that she likes seeing her happy is sweet, not something you would expect to find in most films of this genre.) And Cal... well, I guess he's the exception here.

But now I'm making the film sound sentimental and sappy, but it is very edgy and funny; in fact, it may be too edgy for a lot of people. Fortunately there are two excellent examples early in the movie (Cal's description of the Tijuana Horse Show and Jay and Mooj's fight over a poached customer). If you can get through those scenes, you can probably handle anything else the movie has to throw at you.

On a serious note, there were some complaints about the content of the film. Not so much the nudity, which was really trimmed down in the theatrical release, but with the language. The infamous N-Word is thrown around quite a bit, usually by or at Romany Malco. There is also language that would be considered by many to be misogynistic or homophobic. One of the running jokes in the movie is, "Do you know how I know you're gay?" It started with David explaining his new life of celibacy to Cal, which Cal interpreted as the first step in David admitting he's gay, they then start riffing each about how they know the other is gay: You made spinach dip in a loaf of sourdough bread once, you like Maid in Manhattan, and (my personal favorite), you like Asia. (On a side note, I'm embarrassed to admit I bought that Asia album, twice. Once on tape, once on CD.) But by the end of the movie practically every male character in the movie either says that or has someone say that to them, but it is not said out of hostility or anger. Granted, it is immature, but it's unlikely to incite hatred or hostile feeling towards gays, so I don't think you could justly call the movie homophobic.

Outside of the five main characters, the movie is populated with a series of secondary characters, almost all of which were well acted. In fact, there's only one or two actors with speaking parts where I thought their performance detracted from the movie. Jane Lynch was fabulous as Paula, Steve Carrell's boss; the scene where she sniffed him is one of the funniest scenes I've seen in a movie all year. As I've already mentioned, the relationship between Trish and Marla was one of the highlights of the movie and it wouldn't have been so if it wasn't for Kat Dennings's wonderful performance. Gerry Bednob killed as foul-mouthed Mooj (I don't think he was in a single scene that he didn't swear), and the only complaint I have about Shelley Malil is that Haziz was underused.

I've already mentioned a couple of specific scenes, but you can't write a review of The 40-Year Old Virgin without talking about the infamous chest-waxing scene. The scene, and the fact that it was not faked for the movie, probably helped sell the film to moviegoers more than any other single aspect of the movie. So much so that there's a mini-doc about it in the Special Features, but more on that later. That Kelly Clarkson line just kills the first time you hear it, but it was used in the ad campaign so many times that by the time I first saw the movie in August, it has lost its effect. However, I've watched the DVD about six or seven times now while writing this review, and the chest waxing scene as a whole is still funny. It's not the funniest scene in the movie, but it is still funny.

Watching the Unrated Widescreen Edition and the R-Rated Pan & Scan Edition I can safely make two conclusions. Firstly, the Unrated Edition is better. And secondly, Pan & Scan sucks and should be outlawed by all civilized countries. (Okay, perhaps my opinion of Pan & Scan is a little extreme, but it is certainly a problem that needs to be dealt with.) Too many times the Unrated label is pure marketing as all it means is that there are one or two extra nipples in the movie. However, while there is some extra nudity in this version of the movie, most of the time is wasn't gratuitous and actually added something to the plot. Also, a lot of the extra scenes were originally cut because of profanity laced dialogue, as well as some scenes that were just cut for time. Of the many deleted scenes on the DVD, nearly two dozen were reincorporated into the movie and these are the highlights. (On a side note, the first draft of this review I had catalogues all changes, no matter how small, which took me several hours to do and I stayed up so late doing them that I slept through Christmas. Now that's dedication.)

  • Fight between Jay and Mooj: Cut due to language
    This fight between these two over a customer is so intense that some of the extras left because of it. But it was also funny and really set up the relationship between the two characters. Throughout the movie these two will attack each other verbally, but it's clear that they are also friends.
  • Haziz and David fight: Cut due to language / time
    Its good that this scene was put back since Shelley Malil's role was trimmed by too much. It also makes an appearance in the Line-o-Rama and this is one of the few cases where I don't think Judd Apatow made the right decision on which line to use.
  • Ants in My Pants Scene / Andy's Sexual nightmares: Both trimmed for nudity
    These two scenes both contain nudity, but while the former it is pretty gratuitous, in the latter it makes sense. However, neither of them are essential to the movie and are easily lost.
  • Cal's Advice to Andy: Trimmed for time
    Some additional advice about how to talk to women including Andy mentioning he's a seventh degree imperial yo-yo master and Cal mentioning he's a novelist. A good addition to the movie as it helps define the characters more.
  • Andy's fantasies: Trimmed for nudity
    The fantasy included in the rated version of the movie is pretty graphic, but it is also funny and works in the film. On the other hand, the version too dirty to include in the rated version is funnier and includes one of the running gags.
  • Paula and Cal talk about Andy: Cut for time
    Jane Lynch is an amazing improve artist, so any time there's more of her I'm happy. Although I have to say that it looked like Seth Rogan was out of his league, or at the very least, a little intimidated. If you check out the special feature, he confirms that he was intimidated by her improv prowess.
  • Andy's Call the Viagra Hotline: Cut for time
    During the audio commentary, Romany Malco called this the saddest scene in the movie. It is also another scene that really deserved to be in the movie.
  • Lost Novelist Scene: Cut for time
    As mentioned in a previous deleted scene, there was a side story line with Cal being a novelist and while they needed to trim something from the movie, I really like this part of the story but I wish Seth Rogan could have gotten out the version with the sand and the sweat mentioned in the audio commentary because it sounded very funny. At the very least, it should have been included in the Gag Reel.
  • Andy breaks a vagina: Cut for time
    When Andy takes Marla to the family health clinic, he has a little more difficulty with the model of the vagina. It's an okay scene, but not really realistic. It's a four-part model, well, two-part model that's been bisected. Anyone with even basic spatial awareness should be able to put it back together again even if the have no idea what the final model looks like. At one point he even tried to balance them like some kind of tower; that goes beyond sexual inexperience. On a side note, the section of the film from from the fight between Trish and Marla to the conversation between Andy and Marla in the car was, for me anyway, the heart of the movie. It showed that Andy had gained enough confidence to make himself vulnerable and admit he's a virgin to defend someone he cares about.
  • Paula asks Cal for Pot: Cut for time
    Very funny scene with the two talking about smoking pot and watching Gandhi. More Jane Lynch is always a good thing.
  • Beth and Andy do Who's on First: Cut for time?
    This is Judd Apatow's favorite joke that he cut from the movie. It's great in a demented sort of way, but I wouldn't call it the best. However, it certainly should have been in the movie.
  • Extended Age of Aquarius: Trimmed for time
    I hate this song, but this bit is funny. The extended version is about a minute longer and does start to overstay its welcome, but is still funny. On a side note, I love seeing Romany Malco do the M.C. Hammer dance, for those that don't know, he played M.C. Hammer for a TV movie of the week.
Special Features:
There is an excellent selection of special features and not only is the quantity high, so is the quality. I consider nothing here to be fluff and there are no glaring omissions either. Maybe it could have used some more behind-the-scenes stuff / interviews with cast and crew, but that's a small complaint.

Audio Commentary track with Judd Apatow, Steve Carell, Paul Rudd, Leslie Mann, Jane Lynch, Seth Rogan, Romany Malco, Gerry Bednob, Shelley Malil, and Jonah Hill:
I think this is the largest cast I've ever seen for a single audio commentary track, in fact, it's almost quicker just to list the cast-members that are not involved. With that many people there's no surprise that the audio commentary has really only a couple of dead spots, neither of which last more than a moment or two, although the participants do quiet up a couple of times to listen to a particularly good line. The general vibe of the audio commentary is very informal, but not uninformative. They talk about the improv in the movie, reincorporated deleted scenes and why they were removed, shouts outs are given the actors in the movie that weren't in the audio commentary track (which are really only three, Catherine Keener, Elizabeth Banks and Kat Dennings). They also talk about behind-the-scenes info like Leslie Mann's preparation for playing a drunk, but also get off-topic and just have fun. This includes some of the most painful talk I've heard dealing with... I'm not even going to repeat it, but when Steve Carell starts talking about his friend in high school who was a pole-vaulter, it's best if you just cover your ears. It does get a little hectic at times as people talk over each other, and some of them are not nearly as loud as others are, but even so this is one of the best audio commentaries I've heard. So much so that I enjoy watching the movie more with the audio commentary than without, making it one of only three or four such DVDs in my collection.

Deleted Scenes: With optional audio commentary by Judd Apatow and Seth Rogan - 11 scenes - total running time of 22:45

  • Jay dances - 40 seconds
    Romany Malco getting his grove on, which is funny to watch but adds very little to the movie.
  • Nicky gets Andy arrested - 2:00
    The version they chose to use was a much funnier version and a little shorter as well.
  • Andy does Karaoke - 2:00
    Originally this was supposed to be a montage shot of Andy doing all the things his never done before (getting drunk, trespassing, peeing in public, etc.), to show the guys bonding. However, it didn't seem necessary since the chemistry between the four male leads was so great.
  • On the rooftop - 3:15
    More bonding, this time with the guys telling horror stories how they lost their virginity while drinking beer and smoking pot. This was funny enough to be included in the movie, but the bonding aspect was unneeded.
  • The Director makes a cameo - 20 seconds
    Judd Apatow and his daughter make a short appearance.
  • David calls a little girl a heart breaker - 7 seconds
    Short scene showing David's descent into madness.
  • Andy and the Prostitute - 4:00
    The extended version of the scene that was used in the movie. It was a good cut, not because it isn't funny, it just doesn't work as well as it should within the movie itself.
  • Do you know how I know you're gay: 5:30
    The longest deleted scene on the DVD. This is the first version shot and was removed when they realized that the, "So you know how I know you're gay?" joke was the best part and should be featured more. It actually starts out with David explaining why he's celibate and then moves onto suicide, things you can have sex with and still be celibate, and finally the gay thing. On a side note, it was Paul Rudd says the line first; Judd Apatow and Seth Rogan wonder about that during the audio commentary but were talking and missed it.
  • Really Unrated Stormy Fantasy - 0:40
    A more explicit fantasy with Stormy, which is may be enough to give the DVD its unrated status all by itself. I prefer this version, especially since it touches on one of the running jokes, but it is too extreme for most people and is probably a good cut.
  • Newscaster Fantasy - 1:15
    Andy fantasizes about the newscaster in what I would consider the funniest of the three fantasy sequences. On a side note, the newscaster's name is Shauna Robertson, which is the name of the producer of the movie.
  • Jane Lynch - Seth Rogan improv: 2:30
    Talking about why Andy's sexy and how sexy Julie Andrews was in Mary Poppins, a certain stain, dropped TVs, stealing from Home Depot, and more. It lasts a long time and runs out of steam partway through, but it's worth checking out a couple of time.
Mooj's Advice to Andy: - 1:15
This is the full-length version of the scene, which apparently was too dirty to include in the Unrated version of the movie. There is also a Really Unrated Version that is hinted at in the audio commentary, but that was too dirty to even include on the DVD. I really want to see that version. On a side note, I don't know what half these things are; I'd look them up in the Urban Dictionary or the like, but I'm afraid of what I'll find.

Waxing Doc: 3:20
A short look at the making of the most infamous scene in the movie. I especially like comparing Steve Carell's expectations of how much it will hurt and how much it really hurt. So cocky, so foolish. It is also hilarious watching his co-workers, who must know how much pain he's in, laughing at his expense.

Date-A-Palooza - Extended Version: 9:10
This version in a lot longer and includes some women that were completely cut from the movie, including a second appearance by Nicky. This is a funny section but runs way too long to be included in the movie and works better as a special feature.

Line-O-rama: 6:15
A series of alternate lines from more than a dozen scenes. In almost every case they chose the funniest line, but there are still quite a few laughs here. On a side note, in the scene at the party in the end, it is obvious that Steve Carrel is really drunk and it reminds me of a bit from he did on The Daily Show. I think Stephen Colbert got him to touch his eyeball (or maybe it was the other way around).

My Dinner with Stormy: 2:00
Seth Rogan interviews Stormy, the porn star who made a cameo in the movie. It's a pretty short clip, but it's obvious that he is not as suave as his character because he got flustered really quickly.

Gag Reel: 4:30
Outtakes, includes some blown improvs, line flubs and other such stuff. Not the best I've seen, but still worth checking out once or twice.

Lastly, the DVD starts with trailers for Undeclared, American Pie: Band Camp, and an ad for the Winter Olympics (specifically Snowboard Cross). Normally I don't even mention trailers in the Special Features section, however, some reviewers have stated that they were unable to skip these trailers, but that is not the case I and felt the need to clarify that.

Conclusion:
When
The 40-Year Old Virgin was first announced, a lot of people who are fans of Steve Carell probably thought, "Well, maybe his second film will be good." This premise sounded a little thin and it seemed very unlikely that it could sustain a whole film. Furthermore, there was a lot of inexperience going into the film; Steve Carell had never been asked to carry a film before, it was Judd Apatow's directorial debut, plus a lot of the supporting cast were also relatively inexperienced when it came to movies.

But as it turned out, the film was not only incredibly funny, but it was also sweet, emotionally engaging, and just felt real. The Unrated Edition is also raunchy, filled with crude language and inappropriate situations. In short, this film is not for the weak of heart, but those that can handle it will probably rank it among the best movies of the year.

The 40-Year Old Virgin - Widescreen Unrated Edition is highly recommended.

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Filed under: Video Review, The 40 Year-old Virgin