The Hive

I'm just another dude with too much time on his hands. It really doesn't have anything to do with ants.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

40 Year Old Virgin review

Man, it bugs me to type 40 Year Old Virgin instead of the proper English 40-Year-Old Virgin. Must be the son of an editor in me.

Anyway, I've got this halfassed plan (note to self: do second in long, half-assed affair with journalism post soon) to write movie reviews for the Pullman-Moscow-area papers, so here's the first one. It's probably damn long for a newspaper movie review--600 words, good lawd--but I've got a sub-plan to make the next couple shorter to show my awesome range and potential for both talkability and brevity. Booyah.


The 40 Year Old Virgin wasn't supposed to be great. Good, maybe, and probably funny, with Steve Carell (The Daily Show, Anchorman) as co-writer and titular character, but not great. From all the marketing, it was made to be just another teen sex comedy--except instead of alternately cracking up and cringing at the helpless and depraved adventures of an 18-year-old who just has to get laid, this dude's 40. I'm no rocket surgeon, but that should work out to more than twice the humorous embarrassment as Carell's every effort at sex goes horribly wrong.

And starting off, that's how it looks like the movie might go, when Carell, who works in the stockroom of an electronics store because he's too socially inept to deal with customers, reveals to his coworkers that he is (wait for it) a 40-year-old virgin. Not because of religious or moral reasons, or because he moonlights as a nun, but simply because it never really happened. And once it hadn't happened by the time he was 25 or 30, that just made it harder to ever happen, until now, at age 40, he's resigned himself to a life of riding his bike to work to put in his 8 hours a day, then coming home to paint miniature models and gaze over his vast collection of never-been-opened action figures.

Needless to say, this just doesn't jibe with the plans of his young male coworkers, who henceforth devote themselves to making a man out of Carell.

This devirginizing process involves a lot of testosterone-sloppy talk about how he's built sex up too far, and how, to paraphrase a bit, a woman is just a woman, and he needs to get it over with and move on with his life. The second step is going to clubs and actually talking to women, the highlight of which comes when Carell, who has a natural low-key charisma, is instructed to repeat everything a smoking-hot young blonde says in a mysterious, interrogating style that all but charms the pants off her and, I'd wager, half the audience, male and female alike.

Meanwhile, he's developed an interest in Catherine Keener (Being John Malkovich), a smart, single, self-employed mother of three he met at work. That's when The 40 Year Old Virgin's depth shows up: their relationship builds gradually, with moments both honestly awkward and honestly charming, as Carell is forced from his stunted emotional state by an undeniable attraction to a woman who was wild in her youth but now realizes all she wants is a nice guy.

The 40 Year Old Virgin has caught some flak for portraying virginity as something to be ashamed of regardless of the motivation behind it, but Carell and director Judd Apatow's depiction of Carell's move from jumpy antisocialite to potential husband and father is surprisingly sensitive. At once funny and believable, his relationship with Keener provides an emotional core that rarely exists in romantic comedies, let alone teen sex romps.

Touchy-feely stuff aside, though, the movie's damn funny and doesn't forget it. At the same time it follows Carell's growing attachment to Keener and her daughter, it also spends time just hanging with his coworkers as they play video games, question each others' sexuality, smash fluorescent lights over each other, etc. In other words, a completely accurate and hilarious capture of what young men do when we're by ourselves.

It's a movie that's out of place, both Must-Get-Laid and Boy-Meets-Girl comedy, but that somehow emerges as better than either. For Steve Carell, who combines the straight man and the clown in every role he plays, it's the perfect place to be.


At 11:44 AM, Blogger RhysDavid said...

WOOOOOOOOOO!!!!! Yes, I loved the movie too. Hope you get that job. Your review is at LEAST as good as anything Mr. Movie ever did.

Didn't you say your dad is friends with the editor up there? That should come in handy.

By the way, have you been hearing about Stephen Colbert's new show? It starts in October, right after the Daily Show. Another news-parody show, but more like Bill O'Reilly. One angry white man yelling at his guests and the camera, rather than reporting the news. Knowing Stephen Colbert, it will be supremely sweet.

At 1:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

you! leave more blog. you funny, make me laugh.

At 2:42 AM, Blogger Ed said...

Hahah, fine. I was out of town this weekend and have been uber busy at work lately, but I am gonna get more regular with this stuff.

Also thanks Rhys. Yeah, my dad knows the editor up here, and some regular at the UPS store does too, and for some strange reason wants to introduce me to said editor, so my ins here are really just ridiculous. I ain't ashamed to take advantage of Daddy's connections at this point in my life, either.

I'm going to try to have two more review samples to get to the dudes in power by the middle of next week. And those jerks better like em, because this is feeling like some odd nexus where my few distinct skills and a very distinct opportunity are busy colliding.

Also I could use the extra cash.


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