Archive for the ‘40 Year Old Virgin’ Category

225 – The 40 Year Old Virgin

September 8, 2005

As the clever title might indicate, Steve Carell (late of Anchorman and “The Daily Show”) plays a man who’s sort of missed out on the amorous adventures of one’s youth. Carell is Andy Stitzer, a low-wage lackey at a Circuit City-type store who ashamedly reveals to his three coworkers that he has yet to do the deed. Naturally, they view this as a challenge.

Andy’s never really grown up, as evidenced by his extensive video game and action figure collections and his habit of riding a bicycle to work every day. He never interacts with anyone outside work, so when he’s asked to play poker with his coworkers, Andy accepts. Imagine his embarassment when he’s kind of forced to admit his “problem.”

Andy’s stereotypical in many ways, which allows the audience to identify with him somewhat. We’ve all either been or known That Guy, the one who was still as dorky as an adult as he was in high school. Andy’s extensive “toy” collection is his pride and joy, and one look around his small apartment indicates a stage of arrested development. It’s not that Andy’s not a nice guy, of course; that’s actually the trouble. He never had much (any) luck with the ladies when he was younger, and as he’s aged he’s more or less given up on the whole idea. Too old, you see.

Various plans are hatched, but the lady who catches Andy’s eye is Trish (Catherine Keener), who owns a shop across from Andy’s store. Trish is an older woman (at least compared with the ladies that Andy’s buddies at work are trying to set him up with), and she seems to sincerely dig the someone naïve Andy. But is there relationship doomed? Will Andy confess to Trish that he’s still untouched?

I like Steve Carell, especially his fantastic Daily Show work, but I think he’s a little underwhelming here. Carell doesn’t act so much as react to the madness around him. That might work with some actors in some movies (such as when the chaos is continuously and uproariously funny), but the result here is a sometimes-sluggish mishmash of scattershot jokes and pathos.

The real shining star of the movie is Keener, who’s practically unrecognizable as Trish. You might remember her from Being John Malkovich – the slinky sexuality of Maxine gives way to the earthy-dreamy concoction of Trish – and she’s as spot on here as she was in that one. Some day, Keener will earn an Academy award. It won’t be for this movie, though.

Andy’s coworkers and other supporting characters are okay, if not particularly developed. You have the pervy guy, the flashy hip black guy, and the guy who’s constantly bemoaning his ex, who dumped him two years ago. All bring a little something to the puzzle that is this film, but none of the pieces fit all that well.

For what looked like a laugh-a-minute comedy about a poor schlub who’s about to get off the schneid, Virgin is disappointingly slow in spots; Carell simply doesn’t lend enough gravitas to the lead role to be particularly interesting.

The 40 Year Old Virgin: **

Advertisements