The 40-year-old Virgin

on August 19, 2005 by Tim Cogshell
"The 40-Year-Old Virgin" is a high-concept movie that's home to a good deal of low-brow humor. While it trawls the depths of bad taste, it also maintains at its core something humane and universally identifiable (even if it is corny) that puts it in the special league of films that are at once nasty and nice (see "There's Something About Mary" and "Shallow Hal"), and for that reason it's brighter than it seems on the surface.

Andy Stitzer ("Anchorman's" Steve Carell) is 40 and he's still a virgin. The filmmakers, which include writer/director Judd Apatow and co-scripter Carell, milk both the obvious and the unexpected to get laughs and make their point about the ups and downs of delayed sexual activity. Among the obvious ideas at play is that virgin equals nerd, which is the one uninspired notion in this otherwise funny and very raunchy movie. Another take might have been even more fun, but this one will have to do and works well enough. Less obvious is their take on what sexy is, which includes the 40-something single grandmother played by the sinewy and delightful Catherine Keener ("Being John Malkovich"), whose character is never the butt of the film's many dumb jokes. Still, collectively, it's all still pretty juvenile, which is also a point the movie makes -- that pretty much everything about sex is kind of stupid and shouldn't be taken too seriously.

Just about the smartest thing the filmmakers did was spread the funny around. The supporting players, including Paul Rudd, Romany Malco and Seth Brogen, all get their share of audience lovin'. Starring Steve Carell, Catherine Keener and Paul Rudd. Directed by Judd Apatow. Written by Judd Apatow & Steve Carell. Produced by Judd Apatow, Clayton Townsend and Shauna Robertson. A Universal release. Comedy. Rated R for pervasive sexual content, language and some drug use. Running time: 114 min

Tags: Starring Steve Carell, Catherine Keener, Paul Rudd, Directed by Judd Apatow. Written by Judd Apatow & Steve Carell. Produced by Judd Apatow, Clayton Townsend, Shauna Robertson, Universal, Comedy

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