Wed 31 Aug 2005
They must be singing Michael Bolton.
Just a few weeks ago, I was speaking with a friend and we remarked how we couldn’t remember any great comedies this year.
“Wedding Crashers” was funny but I thought it ran a bit long, “The Aristocrats” is hilarious but it’s a documentary featuring comedians – if it wasn’t funny, it would have been called “The Morons”.
And while there have been some spectacularly stupid films such as “Stealth”, “The Island” and “The Dukes of Hazard”, none of them are billed as comedies. … What? “The Dukes of Hazard” is supposed to be a comedy? Funny, I didn’t laugh a lot in between the repeated blows to the head I gave myself with a hammer while watching it.
In any case, finally, a comedy has come out that is worthy of my seal of approval, and its name is “The 40 Year Old Virgin”.
Starring Steve Carell, the title pretty much explains the plot and only the severely mentally deficient and Kentucky wouldn’t see the events unfolding before the movie starts.
And while it is predictable, as most comedies are, writer/director Judd Apatow and the cast got it absolutely right. Though most third year drama students could probably make this work, the cast assembled for the movie was spot on. Catherine Keener, Paul Rudd, Romany Malco, Seth Rogen, Elizabeth Banks, Leslie Mann and Jane Lynch nailed their roles. They played off of Carell and each other like a long running Broadway show.
Which brings me to the man of the movie, Steve Carell. We’ve all seen him be funny in small bits, from the “Daily Show” to “Anchorman”. This starring role brings him to the forefront and he ran with it like an Olympic relay runner. (The drug screen results are to be announced next week)
Carell used the right mix of comedy and heart to make the film both hilarious and endearing. His buddies in the film, played by Rudd, Malco and Rogen, were the perfect foils to create the insane journey Carell undertakes to lose his virginity.
A special note of appreciation goes to the women in the film that Carell meets along the way to becoming a man. Catherine Keener is always great and Leslie Mann is fantastic as usual.
The surprise to me was Elizabeth Banks. A relative newcomer, I had seen her earlier this year in “Heights”. That role was a complete 180 from her character in “Virgin”. She owned her character and she’s one to keep an eye on (or two, because she’s gorgeous).
I don’t want to ruin any of the jokes in the film so I’ll just wrap it up here. I will say that the ending had me stomping the ground like it was Showtime at the Apollo … and my friends will tell you, I’m not black. By the end of the film, my jaw hurt from laughing and I almost couldn’t remember many of the scenes because I was too busy keeping myself off of the floor.
Originally I had given this a 5, based on its comedy. After re-evaluating some of my scores, I’ve decide to demote “The 40 Year Old Virgin” to a 4 out of 5. This film is extremely funny but I’m going to do my best to only award the highest rating to films that are truly outstanding and can stand the test of time. I have a feeling this film won’t have the lasting power, even compared to other comedies.
Besides, it’s my review. I’ll do what I want.