“The 40-Year-Old Virgin” wants to be both “American Pie” and “Swingers”; buddy movies about getting lucky that talk dirty but have a lot of heart.
Unfortunately, while it does succeed in one-upping “Pie” in some aspects of the raunchy humor department, it lacks the heart necessary to make this just as charming. Nor does it have the characters that made “Swingers” such a memorable movie.
Much in the same way its protagonist only goes as far as kissing after dates, “The 40-Year-Old Virgin” only goes as far as being a forgettable, watered-down movie with a good lead actor and a lot of dirty jokes.
The plot is simple enough. Andy (Steve Carel) is the typical nice guy, who also happens to be inexperienced in several, ahem, areas. His buddies, one of them played by Paul Rudd, discover the truth and make it their personal mission to remedy this forty-year-old malady.
Andy is forced back into the joys and pains of speed-dating and flirting, in the hopes that he could find a girl who would help him be a more complete man.
Carel peppers his portrayal of the typical nice guy with nuances like a spot-on deadpan reaction to awkward moments.
Now mind you, the jokes are funny. Sight gags abound, some of which push the limits of the creative use of body fluids and contraceptives.
The jokes come in the form of vignettes that come one after another, much like in sitcom humor. And no wonder, since director and co-writer Judd Apatow’s writing credits include sitcoms like “Undeclared.” Several of these scenes could, conceivably, stand alone in a sketch comedy show. That is, if they weren’t so R-rated.
One scene involves liberal amounts of chest hair being removed from Andy’s chest. This scene provided a lot of laughs, especially to anyone who knows that the scene was not simulated.
As for the movie itself, it barely hangs on a thread. It falls into the same trite, formulaic story-lines and themes like coming-of-age and falling in love. Nothing wrong with cliches, but they just aren’t done well in “Virgin”.
The plot-related scenes are unpolished and aimless, as if the actors dreaded filming these scenes in favor of the naughtier ones.
With the exception of Carel, none of the other actors ever go beyond their one-dimensional, toilet-paper-thin roles.
Bottom line: Funny jokes, threadbare movie.