THE 40-YEAR-OLD VIRGIN is one such movie. It takes a simple one-joke premise, and expands on it in a way that's both clever and discerning. In lesser hands, the concept of a movie about a 40-year-old virgin probably would've led to something obnoxious or mean-spirited. But thanks to the honest, mature approach from director/co-writer Judd Apatow (of "Freaks and Geeks" fame), the whole affair turns out to be surprisingly sweet. Well, as sweet as a movie that includes a conversation about f*cking a horse can be.
Despite being a relative newcomer during the film's release, Steve Carell (also a co-writer) surprised audiences with his endearing performance as Andy, the ever-continuing virgin. He strikes a perfect balance between geeky, awkward, and loveable (not unlike the film itself). Equally as good is the supporting cast, the highlights of which are Seth Rogen (the lead in the upcoming KNOCKED UP) and the highly underrated Paul Rudd (why doesn't this guy get more recognition?).
Adding even more clout to the superb casting is Catherine Keener, who plays Andy's love interest with just the right amount of edge. Their relationship together is easily the most believable I've seen in a sex comedy. And it's not only theirs; all of the character relationships are handled impeccably. This is due in large part to everybody having an actual personality, and not just being a series of stock one-dimensional stereotypes written to do nothing other than get the script where it needs to go. (As an example, think of what this movie would be like if, say, Catherine Keener's character had an asshole ex-boyfriend that wasn't feeling too pleased about "nice-guy" Andy getting with his girl.) You might see that bullshit in just about every other comedy getting made these days, but not here.
My only complaint concerns the "Unrated" cut of the film, which unnecessarily lengthens an already long film. The 17 extra minutes do contain a number of humorous gags, but it's at the cost of pacing. The original theatrical cut flows so much better, and it also avoids committing overkill with a number of the jokes. Had this 2-Disc Special Edition included both versions of the film, I would've demanded that you rushed out and bought it immediately. As is, the movie's still a laugh-riot, but it feels like a step backwards from the near perfect original cut.
It also comes complete with a FREE TICKET (up to $7.50) to see director Judd Apatow's next endeavor, KNOCKED UP (in theatres June 1, 2007). The pass expires June 17, 2007, and is only valid in the U.S.
Features new to this release have been marked with an asterisk.
Audio Commentary (with writer/director Judd Apatow and writer/actor Steve Carell): This is a great listen, featuring plenty of humorous banter and interesting tidbits. Also joining the two main speakers are Seth Rogen (Cal), Paul Rudd (David), Romany Malco (Jay), Gerry Bednob (Mooj), Shelley Malil (Haziz), Jane Lynch (Paula), and Leslie Mann (Nicky).
*Deleted Scenes (39:51 - with optional commentary): Some of these scenes appeared on the original release, but there are also 15 new ones (adding up to 24 in total). Unfortunately, the new scenes don't have commentary. There also appears to be a scene missing from the original release (entitled "Drunk Driving Alternate Ending"), the reasons of which elude me. Whatever the case, many of these scenes are very entertaining, and are definitely worth your time.
Also on Disc 1 is the red band (aka R-rated) Trailer for KNOCKED UP, as well as a bunch of other Previews.
You Know How I Know You’re Gay? (5:31 - with optional commentary): An extended version of the constantly quoted scene between Seth Rogen and Paul Rudd, which involves the two actors giving out hilarious reasons why the other is gay.
Waxing Doc (3:31): A brief look at the chest-waxing scene from the film, which (as explained here) was done for real. Funny stuff.
Date-a-Palooza (9:18): Some more extra footage, this time from the scene where Andy goes speed dating. As expected, it's funny.
Line-O-Rama (6:19): Even more bits of cut footage, most of which is as side-splitting as the film itself. It's essentially a collection of alternate one-liners and improvised gags.
My Dinner With Stormy (2:08): A short but amusing look at a meeting between Seth Rogen and Stormy Daniels (the porn star from Andy's dream).
Gag Reel (4:35): This is self explanatory. I don't even need to tell you how hilarious it is either.
*Judd’s Video Diaries (20:45): A collection of 12 talking head interviews with director Judd Apatow are made available here, all of which are fun and interesting. They cover the span between the first and last days of shooting.
*Auditions (7:33): This welcome addition lets us take a look at seven of the actor's audition tapes.
*Raw Footage (19:22): There are three different segments featured here: the poker scene, the chest waxing scene, and the bathtub scene. All of them involve extended and alternate footage from Steve Carell. Funny as usual.
*Rehearsals (5:12): A closer look at the poker scene, with the four actors rehearsing after a major rewrite.
*Reel Comedy Roundtable (21:06): This is a special that aired on Comedy Central featuring a roundtable conversation between the director and several of the main players.
*Cinemax Final Cut (12:44): A more professional (aka not as much fun) promotional piece that sits down with the director and actors. Still a worthwhile extra.
*1970s Sex-Ed Film (5:26): This video is self-explanatory, but it has nothing to do with the movie. It's a worthless but none-the-less amusing addition to the set.