Tuesday, August 30, 2005


The 40 Year Old Virgin

Not exactly what I expected. Not that there's anything wrong with that. Oh, and by now you know I blab a little too much perhaps about the plots in these reviews, but really, unless there's a big surprise, most of us sort of know the general plots of most movies nowadays, don't we?

Thing is, I only recognized the star, Steve Carell, from his role in Anchorman. Whatever it says about me, I loved that movie. I own it. I watch it on cable frequently if it's on. And it has a certain style of humor. Going into The 40 Year Old Virgin, I think I was expecting something similar to Anchorman. Which it wasn't. I also couldn't help but compare it to this summer's gold standard comedy, The Wedding Crashers. And it wasn't like that either, nor was it as funny.

However, Carell's Andy Stitzer is a guy that most guys can relate to, at least on some levels. Some guys may relate more than others. While few guys are forty year old virgins, many of us have had some sort of "guy" collection that women just don't seem to appreciate. It may be baseball cards, or model airplanes, or comics, or classic toys and action figures still in the original packaging. And even though Andy's insecurities are centered on his virginity, most guys have their own insecure moments around women, for any number of reasons.

Sexist analysis alert! While women in some chick flick would whine and drink wine and complain about the guy that has done the heroine wrong, Andy's friends set about taking the steps necessary to solve the problem. Of course, being guys, the advice frequently goes wrong, often with disastrous and funny results. End sexist analysis.

Andy's friends help make the comedy happen, but the loving, as you may have guessed, comes from Andy himself, with a woman he met himself. The nice thing about this movie is that Andy's life is about more than sex. We see him growing in other areas as well. Andy works in the back room of a Best Buy type store, processing paperwork. He never goes on the sales floor. Andy has TV dates with his upstairs elderly neighbors to watch Survivor. He never goes out with the guys from work. Andy paints miniatures at home. He doesn't go out. Andy is insecure in pretty much every area of his life that happens outside his apartment.

The guys at work invite him to play cards one night when they need an extra player. It's during this game that Andy's virginity slips out of the bag, and the quest is on. You know that in a movie like this, the sex is going to happen; I'm not spoiling anything by telling you that. The trick here is that before the sex, Andy becomes a powerhouse on the sales floor at work, he's going out with the guys to socialize and meeting several girls, he has at least two guaranteed shots at sex that he passes up, he shares his dream to have his own store with that first girl he met on his own.

The sex comes last. Look, I don't know if they intended it or not, but I got a lot out of this movie. Not just every dog has his day. Not just that sometimes, a good guy really does win. For me, the message is that to have sex in a loving relationship, it's important to be ready physically, mentally, and emotionally. The sex doesn't make Andy better in all those other ways. It's the fact that Andy does become well-rounded in all those other ways that makes him ready to have sex. And let's face it, while being a virgin at forty is a little extreme, more people are truly ready to have sex closer to 40 than to 14.

Ok I admit it, I just liked the way that sounded. My point is simply that many people, maybe even most people, have sex before they're really ready to do so. I'm making a distinction here between ready and able. The movie is rated R for language, sexual content (it's about a guy losing his virginity, for Pete's sake!), and some drug use (played for laughs), but taken as a whole, it's a sweet movie with a positive message. I'm glad I saw it.
Thanks for the review. Been wondering if I should go see it or not, but perhaps now I will.
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