In Universal Pictures' new release, The 40 Year Old Virgin (IMDb listing) directed by Judd Apatow, Steve Carell plays Andy Stitzer, your average middle-of-the-road nice guy with an average job at an electronics retailer named Smart Tech (I guess Circuit City and Best Buy wouldn't grant them permission). Andy lives a solitary life with his many video games and action figure collectibles. When David (Paul Rudd, "Anchorman"), Jay (Romany Malco), and Cal (Seth Rogan, "Freaks and Geeks"), Andy's Smart Tech co-workers find out that Andy hasn't -- ahem -- "done it," they ban together and are determined to liberate Andy from his self-inflicted state of virginity. Then, well, comedy ensues.
David, Jay, and Cal each have their own methods of helping Andy, and all to Andy's chagrin. Even Andy's mannish boss, Paula (Jane Lynch) wants to help Andy along, if you know what I mean. Jay's metrosexual approach lands Andy in the most painful yet hysterical waxing scene probably seen on film to date. You'll be cringing as you're laughing.
Along the way, Andy meets Trish (Catherine Keener, "Being John Malkovich"), a single mom who's gun shy about jumping headfirst into relationships and wants to take things slow -- the perfect pace for Andy.
There's just something about Steve Carell that makes you laugh. Whether it's his deadpan seriousness in a comedic situation ("Bruce Almighty") or his charming dim-witted innocence ("Anchorman"), Carell could read psalms from the Bible and make audiences laugh.
Carell and his fellow actors seem to have a great chemistry. Rudd appeals not only to men on that buddy-buddy level, but also to women on that he's got some nice baby blues (among other things). The quad works well together and seems to generally have fun along the way.
"Virgin" is generally funny in that fish-out-of-water way with typical toilet humor, but some scenes seem superfluous and the excessive use of profanity seems, well, excessive. The '80s soundtrack/mood music fits with the theme of the film -- what is it about '80s music that makes us laugh? "Virgin" should do well in its opening week and will probably make better numbers than "Wedding Crashers," which will bode well for future R-rated comedies.
Filmfodder Grade: B