There's something sublime about man's modern quest for "man-ization". It's a right of passage that they all go through, some to the hilarity of satire and others with just a little finagling. No matter which side of the spectrum you sit on, or even what gender you are, The 40 Year Old Virgin will speak to those swirling and perverse mechanisms that reflect on wondrous times past. Naturally, you'd expect a halfway funny flick about a goofy older guy who hasn't gotten lucky enough to get lucky. That's where Judd Apatow's flick sneaks behind you and delivers something unexpected. Sure, there's the typical antics showcased by an above average screwball hero walking in Steve Carell's shoes. Instead of staying solely focused on this mechanic, and with some help from a delectably sharp script, The 40 Year Old Virgin not only taps the funny bone, but also stretches the limits with side-splitting vulgarity and scorching, sweet affection.
Andy (Steve Carell) is the epitome of cool. We're talking seriously cool. Sporting a biking helmet and detached bicycle wheel as he struts into work at the local electronics chain, he's, well, a little quirky. And yeah, he has a bigger action figure collection than a rich ten year old. That's fine. Oh, and his other weekend habits, eating habits, weeknight habits involving instruments, painting, cooking ... okay, Andy's not quite the coolest cat that strutted the land. And, apparently, he and the women around him are full-on aware of this fact, because Andy hasn't mustered up the gall to enjoy life's most pure and innocent of pleasures: losing his virginity.
There's a fair number of places where this info would be respectable to be brought up, such as doctor's offices or candlelit dinners with the ideal woman. Andy, however, has this information pried out of him at a card game with a motley crue of real, yet caricaturist, guys, including the suave ladies man (Romany Malco), the embittered broken heart (Paul Rudd), and the dude made up of concentrated, sexually fervent testosterone (Seth Rogen). In some circles, it'd be an admirable admission. Within this competitive circle, however, these guys take it as an injustice that they must aggressively set right - whether Andy consents or not. Thus begins the stealthy operation to get Andy laid, preferably without the distractions of a potential love interest (Catherine Keener).
By "stealthy" I actually mean a fumbling barrage of borderline masochistic hilarity through the brutal gauntlet of manhood. Trust in the fact that The 40 Year Old Virgin carries hardcore juvenile tricks up its sleeve. It's crazy, insistent absurdity, but so engagingly acute that it doesn't even come close to insulting our intelligence. There's grandiose humor, in the most perverse sense of the word, rumbling within its boisterous innards. From the point when the poker chips fly across the table, the relentless laughter builds massive momentum until the end credits roll.
And it all hinges on The 40 Year Old Virgin's phenomenally timed script linked with some gravitas improvisations from this unfathomably superb ensemble. It's a blitzkrieg rampage of humor with Steve Carell as the commanding general and his supportive acquaintances as the explosive artillery behind his lead. However, this general makes certain to carry this mission out with full, bombast hilarity. Carell carries an air of charismatic goofiness, clearly evident in his other goofball roles in Anchorman and on The Daily Show. He's able to corral both wit and charm amidst brazen crudity to an impeccably alluring level. Andy's a great, natural hero, not necessarily because of his strength but because of his earnest, warm grasp on his world. Though his natural antics seem odd to some, the most important point to see is his satisfied comfort within his own individualized space.
But that doesn't matter to his crew of sex-driven bosom buddies. These guys take the old Angel / Devil on your shoulders debacle to a whole new level. If Andy's the pure heart of the scenario, then Rudd is the angelic presence on one shoulder, Malco is the devilkin sprite on the other, and Rogen works as the raw chunk of masculinity swaying in both directions. Instead of just preying on the set stereotypes, each one flounders across the typecast lines in tricky, genuine fashion. They make Andy's torturously uncomfortable assimilation into sex an outright blast.
The 40-Year Old Virgin in itself is an embracing, comedic explosion. But it's within the tender, reflective moments that make this film an experience worth a thousand looks. Where some goofy, perverted one-liners might grow tired in other films, all the gags within Apatow's rich comedy mirror an equally affecting center. Instead of stringently digging its nails into being as off-the-wall outlandish as possible, the film returns to its strong, moving heart at ideal points for a fresh revitalization. The 40 Year Old Virgin sustains an adaptable persona to many, many audiences in that it provides a taste of just about everything that somebody might enjoy. We grow to love and root for the geek, instead of laugh directly at him. Moreover, there exists, or did at some point, this inherent desire for discovery in all of us. We share laughs and heartfelt moments within this full-fledged adult discovery that holds the strong capacity to leave us with a satisfied, enamored grin from cheek to cheek.
No matter what, a smile about the discovery of adulthood and the reflections of times past is one worth smiling.
Rated vs. Unrated:
Where the theatrical cut of The 40 Year Old Virgin runs a little less than two hours (117 minutes), the Unrated edition lasts a good bit longer at nearly two hours and thirteen minutes (133 minutes). It's all up to the viewer whether they prefer each edition. In my experiences with the film, the theatrical cut feels much tighter, more humorous, and much more skillfully paced. Once more elements get tossed in, there's a significant weighted ball-and-chain effect. In all honesty, Apatow's original cut of the flick is impeccably paced, coming to a sublime conclusion at the perfect time. That's not to say the added material isn't funny, because it shares a few glimmering moments. Since this cut of the film isn't quite as strong, the Unrated version drops down just a notch in the ratings.
The 40 Year Old Virgin: Double Your Pleasure Edition is packaged in a standard double-disc keepcase DVD. Highlighting the package is a hinged slipcover that, as slid out, shifts the image in the center into a semi-hairless Steve Carrell. It's pretty spoilery, but still fun for fans of the flick. Also included, more than likely at a limited pace, is a free movie ticket (at $7.50) to see Knocked Up, Judd Apatow's new film starring Seth Rogen and Katherine Heigl. There's no discart or other inserts included with this release.
Brace yourself, as this will come as quite the surprise: Universal has released The 40 Year Old Virgin in an anamorphic widescreen image that looks almost exactly the same as the original disc! Sarcasm aside, this transfer looks just fine, plenty sharp and full of rich color. There's a decent degree of edge enhancement and, maybe, a shade more in this newer edition. If there is, it's by a very miniscule amount that is nowhere near distracting. The digital grain and other imperfections from the original transfer seem to be the same this time around. It's a fine transfer with a few non-deterrent flaws.
Much the same can be expected from The 40 Year Old Virgin's aural experience as well. It's a crisp, discernable track that boasts clean dialogue and some outstanding musical choices. Many different musical variations stretch across this great little comedy, and the aural presentation boasts them in an enveloping, rich quality. Once again, this sounds a lot like the original release, though it might be minutely tighter and brighter since there's more space on the disc to take in the track. Tracks are available in English, Spanish, and French, with subtitles available in the same languages (The English is only a SDH subtitle presentation).
Taking into account the statement about the audio and video presentations above,here's where the set is going to sell itself. Now, this is a comparison between the Theatrical single-disc and the Double Your Pleasure Unrated edition. As a whole, the single-disc edition holds up strong with a quality transfer, sharp audio, and an abundance of quality extras. There are a few exclusives on the single-disc Unrated edition, including some separate Deleted Scenes involving Andy's Fantasy and others. For the majority, most of the bonus material from the original edition is carried over to this new Double Your Pleasure Edition. Taking that into account, here's the breakdown:
Available on Both Single-Disc and Double Your Pleasure Editions:
- Feature Commentary
- Deleted Scenes (incl., Mooj, Cal & Paula, etc).
- You Know How I Know You're Gay
- Waxing Doc
- 1970s Sex Ed Film
- Gag Reel
Exclusive to Double Your Pleasure / Unrated:
- Exclusive Set of Deleted Scenes
- Video Diaries
- Raw Footage
- Reel Comedy Roundtable
- Cinemax Final Cut
- My Dinner With Stormy (On Both UNRATED Editions)
First off is the Director and Cast Commentary. Since I haven't taken a listen to the previous Unrated commentary, I can't comment on the Unrated material's discussions. However, gauging by the introduction and the rest of the content in the theatrical disc, this looks to be the exact same commentary as included on the previous edition. This is a fun, relatively insightful listen from just about the entire cast of heavily involved characters. It's overwhelmingly obvious that the entire cast and crew had a blast, albeit with some stringent bumps, comprising this film.
The Deleted Scenes portion carries over all of the deleted material from the original disc (including the Advice from Mooj and Cal and Paul segments annotated as separate items on the original disc), as well as adding a slew of new items which, as the cover annotes, spans about 17 minutes. Total, that's 10+ total deleted materials that, as a whole, are actually fairly strong in delivering the funny. Commentary from Apatow and Rogan is only available for the items included on the original release.
You Know How I Know You're Gay is a commentary accompanied (optional) extended piece regarding one of the funnier scenes in the film with Rudd and Rogen. Not too bad to hear those bits and pieces, but i prefer just watching the scene unfurl in the film itself.
The Waxing Doc is a supplemental feature shot on-location during the most "hair-raising" scene in the entire film. It's pretty darn funny, but the scene in the film itself is hilarious so that charm just tumbles over naturally. There's some entertaining commentary from Steve Carell about the process and how it was all naturally done. Youch.
Date-a-Palooza extends the speed dating scene, adding new characters and interactions between the crew and other females. It's all great material that could've easily made it into the final cut of the film
Line-O-Rama collects some of the unused, alternate lines of dialogue for scenes spread across the film. It's similar to the Raw Footage feature, but its spread across all of the charaters instead of just honing in on Steve Carell. In fact, the majority of the material is NOT Steve Carell.
The 1970s Sex Ed film is just that, a typical 70s sex education film featuring some relatively corny dialogue. Undoubtedly worth a watch, but man is that transfer terrible! Someone should really look into restoring that footage.
The Gag Reel is a series of goofs on the set, slips of the tongue and cracking up in between scenes. I'm surprised there wasn't even more with the host of characters involved this flick. They're entertaining enough, but not as humorous as some of the other supplements.
Alright, now comes the Video Diaries, a segmented video series from director Apatow. They include some nonchalant commentary on Universal's comments on changes for the film, some shooting grievances, and other tidbits about the making of the film. What's great about this series is how funny Apatow's demeanor and dialogue is. Traditionally, these bits might be monotonous to listen to; however, coming from Judd, all these points are actually pretty darn funny.
Raw Footage is the unclipped spans of footage focused on Steve Carell used for the poker scene, the hairwax scene, and the bathtub scene. When shooting a film, especially comedies, many variations of the same line of dialogue are needed to dictate different malleable moods. This is a span of many improvisations and variant lines of dialogue from Carell and the other off-screen characters. While the poker scene was fairly entertaining, the hair removal scene and the bathtub scene both are quite funny in their own right. Hearing Carell parrying off of Banks' noises in the bathtub scene tickles the funny bone pretty hard.
The Auditions footage is entertaining enough, but all are fairly short. Participants range from the key players to the kid in the eBay store. It's worth a watch, but not too many after that.
The CineMax Final Cut feature takes Carell, Apatow, Rogen, and Rudd and sparks some discussion about many of the above discussed material in a more formal environment. It's decent, but they're more fun to listen to in natural candor.
The Reel Comedy Roundtable is a Comedy Central special that features all the key players (the four main cast members and Apatow) in a downscale discussion about the inspiration of the film. Same statement applies as above about it being exhaustive material, but this excerpt is much more fun to watch.
My Dinner With Stormy features Seth Rogen and Stormy (the woman featured in the dream sequence in the Unrated cut) in a little wine-accompanied, unrated material. What's interesting is that a single piece of food doesn't touch the table during that little feature. Short, but cute.
Gracious. It seems like the only things really missing from this package is the Theatrical Trailer from the original disc and possibly some script to screen comparisons. Other than that, this is a hilarious, jam-packed dual disc set. The original disc carries a lot of these features, as it was packed in itself. However, the added materials are definitely entertaining and worth the extra time.
Plain and simple, The 40 Year Old Virgin is a hilarious comedy of growth that's equally as heartwarming as it is uproariously vulgar. This Unrated edition, though embodying the same feel as the theatrical cut, outstays its welcome a wee bit quicker than the original cut. If forced with the definitive decision, I'd still say run out and pick up the Theatrical Widescreen edition, if it can be readily located. Some surfing around the regular channels should be able to nail down that choice little item.
However, if you haven't purchased The 40-Year Old Virgin and feel that more of the same material won't wear out its welcome, undoubtedly pick up this Double Your Pleasure two-disc edition. There's a lot of extra material available, including some great exclusives and a screwball slipcover. Owners of the single-disc editions can pretty much either hold onto their current edition or ditch it in an effect to get this new edition. If you want to hold onto your Theatrical edition, trust me: you're not missing out on terribly much with this new set.
Now, since this choice little item is priced fairly low and includes a movie ticket to a similarly-themed, currently buzzing film Knocked Up, this can still come Recommended instead of just suggested as a rental. Though preference still heavily leans towards the theatrical cut, this grossly packed, hilarious pair of discs is worth the time.
Thomas Spurlin, Staff Reviewer -- DVDTalk Reviews | Personal Blog/Site