The breakout theatrical hit for Judd Apatow, The 40-Year-Old Virgin is still a non-stop laugh fest, amongst the director/writer/producer’s best work. Brilliantly led by Steve Carell, this hilarious sex romp rises above the usual teenage misadventures the genre is known for. It’s some Carell’s funniest work, and Apatow’s best writing to date.
What Apatow manages to do in-between the constant one-liners is create characters that the audience can get behind. For whatever reason, whether it’s Carell here, Rogan in Knocked Up, the Superbad kids, or a stoner in Pineapple Express every movie has the viewer rooting for the loveable loser who has little or no success in life. As the title suggests, Carell is a 40-year-old virgin, and when his work buddies find out, it becomes their goal to find him a woman.
What follows are hilarious segments, each one becoming increasingly funnier than the last. A supporting crew of Paul Rudd, Seth Rogen, and Romany Malco offer hilarious insights into relationships… and how not to run an electronics store. Carell’s inability to interact with woman and his naïve attitude about sex never stop being funny.
While the usual romance begins blossoming and ends exactly how you’d expect it to, Virgin works around these flaws with laughs. Tender moments are reserved without going over the top, instead taking different turns you wouldn’t expect. It’s masterfully written raunch, if there is such a thing.
Even though even funnier Apatow comedies have come down the line since, there’s still a special place for The 40-Year-Old Virgin, and not simply because it launched the Apatow comedy train. It’s a sweet, funny, and heartfelt character study of a guy who needs to deal with some personal issues that just happens to be loaded with some of the raunchiest dialogue ever written. What’s not to like? [xrr rating=4/5 label=Movies]
Holy edge enhancement, DNR, and over processing, Batman! 40-Year-Old Virgin could be one of the worst modern major-studio releases available on Blu-ray, sadly mirroring the HD DVD release. If you ever want to see the havoc digital noise reduction can reek on a film, this should be your case study (and maybe Tremors on HD DVD). Oh, and edge enhancement lingers in every frame.
You could make a game out of finding the most prevalent halo in each scene. Sure, the colors are bold and contrast is fine, but there’s zero detail to speak of since it’s sitting behind a layer of muck resulting from a total hack job application of DNR. Yuck. [xrr rating=1/5 label=Video]
Despite having a few moments of action, including a priceless drunk-driving scene, this DTS-HD track doesn’t have much to offer. There’s nothing going on in the rear channels at all. Ambiance is a lost art to this track. Bass is lackluster even with the music cranked up. At the very least, the dialogue is clear throughout, and well mixed so every line is audible. [xrr rating=2/5 label=Audio]
While the extras section of the disc is loaded with content, it’s mostly deleted content spread thin or featurettes that should have been combined. The U-Control junk Universal uses is comprised of content found elsewhere on the disc. A loaded commentary features Apatow and his cast. It’s quality, funny content. Stacks upon stacks of deleted scenes are split into multiple sections, totaling around a half hour. Two TV specials, one from Comedy Central, the other from Cinemax, were used to promote the film. There’s about 45 minutes of content between those two.
A selection of video diaries offers up 16 different clips from the set, and if you want a real look at how the movie was made, there’s raw footage just as it was shot including the infamous waxing scene. Rehearsal and audition footage offers a few minor laughs, while a gag and improv reel overshadow the latter completely. There’s also a priceless ‘70s sex education clip that has nothing to do with the movie itself, but is well worth watching. [xrr rating=3/5 label=Extras]