The 40-Year-Old-Virgin: Double Your Pleasure Edition – DVD Review

Available at Amazon.com

Director:

Judd Apatow

Cast:

Steve Carell……….Andy Stitzer
Catherine Keener………Trish
Paul Rudd……….David
Romany Malco……….Jay
Seth Rogen……….Cal
Leslie Mann……….Nicky

Universal Pictures presents The 40-Year-Old Virgin. Written by Steve Carell and Judd Apatow. Rated R (for pervasive sexual content, language and some drug use). Originally released theatrically on August 19, 2005. DVD available: May 22, 2007.


The Movie

Sometimes failure can be a good thing. Failure keeps us on our toes, makes us realize that not everyone can get it right the first time. Take Aaron Sorkin. His Sports Night was a critical fave, but couldn’t attract viewers to sustain any longevity. He rebounded with The West Wing, a series that garnered numerous accolades and high Nielsen ratings.

Sorkin is a good example because writer Judd Apatow churned out the fat camp comedy Heavy Weights and brainstormed the story behind Celtic Pride. Anybody have fond recollections about either one? Didn’t think so. Instead of sticking with the same drivel, Apatow went Sinatra and did it his way by creating his own Sports Night – figuratively, of course – Freaks and Geeks. It suffered the same fate: the dreaded ax. As did his follow-up show, Undeclared, on Fox. With such rejection, an idea was born, a light bulb clicked on in Apatow’s brain – his synapses fired off like a set of blinking Christmas tree lights.

Being rejected by stiff-suit network executives is one thing, but imagine the misfortune of a 40-year-old virgin. How does his self-esteem rate on the rejection scale?

And so it was for Judd Apatow; his pot of gold at the end of the rainbow was not a winning television endeavor, but rather a small film about a man who had never felt another woman’s touch. When The 40-Year-Old Virgin was released in theaters the summer of ’05, it was unveiled in August, a month where the summer movie season is on its last legs. More often than not, these are the movies that weren’t good enough to get a big May, June or July opening. But then something magical happened; not only was it a favorite among critics, audiences came out in droves.

Steve Carell stars as Andy Stitzer (a.k.a. the man who has never “done the deed”). He is a relatively sober fellow, his life free of complications. Living in a single bedroom apartment, his nerd-dom comes with video games and toy, err, collectible action figures. He spends Thursday nights watching Survivor with the couple above his apartment. Uh, the elderly couple above his apartment. When he isn’t at home, he’s working at Smart Tech, a third-rate electronics store. There he is surrounded by co-workers whose favorite pastime is recounting various sex stories. Needless to say, such talk leaves Andy with an uncomfortable feeling.

Like the figures he collects, I’m sure Andy wishes he could fly or shoot spider webs or wear his underwear on the outside of his pants. But his only power, regretfully, is his uncanny inability to have sex. He has had his fair share of attempts; it’s the execution that needs work.

It goes without saying that Andy’s self-confidence is at an all-time low. Such failure has made him less and less interested in the opposite sex. All that would change once his friends at work find out his little secret.

Pratfalls and hi-jinks soon follow as the brain trust consists of David (Paul Rudd), an obsessive guy who still pines for his ex-girlfriend, and Cal (Seth Rogen), a slovenly guy who’s seen things you can’t – and probably don’t want to – imagine. Together they engage in “you know how I know you’re gay” jokes and make filthy remarks any time of the day, no matter who is present.

Judd Apatow’s take-no-prisoners approach to comedy makes The 40-Year-Old Virgin something worth watching. The brand of humor – raunchy and raucous – is comparable to Kevin Smith, but Apatow has a keener sense of story development. The love affair Carell’s character has with Trish (Catherine Keener), a single mom who runs an eBay shop, is one of caution: Sex is not a prerequisite. But when she does fall in love with him and wants to take that next, adventurous step, it leads to petty squabbling. Such is the slippery slope. A man who fears not commit, but rather the opportunity to get “freaky.”

Steve Carell shines as Andy. Having stolen scenes in supporting roles in movies like Bruce Almighty and Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (who could ever forget Brick Tamland?), he had the makings of a great comedic actor. Now in a starring role, the objective was fully realized. The character he plays has a childlike way about him, much like Tom Hanks in Big. Only Carell’s biggest wish is to lose his virginity, not to grow big. Well, maybe one part of his anatomy.

Catherine Keener was an interesting choice as the lead opposite Carell. She has an earnest quality about her, but can curse as much as a sailor whenever the mood strikes. Still, her litany of vulgarities is incomparable to a supporting cast that spools out graphic sex stories as if they were the “Dickens of Smut.”

Full of memorable one-liners, dirty stories and good-humored ribbing, The 40-Year-Old Virgin is a comic masterpiece. Somehow, Apatow and Co. manage to tickle your funny bone until it hurts, and touch you in areas you never thought possible. (Wait, that didn’t come out right.)


The DVD

Full disclosure: I’m not a fan of studios who try to milk a product for all its worth. Unrated editions and extended cuts can sometimes get out of hand. Sure, you’ll get a few new minutes of footage here and there, but the additions don’t really add to the overall film. Originally when The 40-Year-Old Virgin was released in theaters it had a run time of 117 minutes. On DVD, an unrated version bumped the time up to 133 minutes. The theatrical version is much tighter on the pacing; the unrated cut gives us more comedy bits. So chalk it up to viewer’s preference. Also note that this “double your pleasure” edition contains only the unrated version.

This special DVD release coincides with the release of Judd Apatow’s Knocked Up in theaters. And in an attempt to lure a huge audience this summer a free movie ticket (worth $7.50) has been included. The DVD’s come housed in a standard double-disc keepcase with a slipcover. Unlike typical slipcovers, which are merely reproductions of the DVD cover art, here you get a special treat: the opportunity to see a semi-hairless Steve Carell. (The top of the slipcover can fold open. When it does, the image shifts and you see Carell with his shirt off.)

THE VIDEO
(Presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen)

I’ll go out on a limb and figure Universal has not tweaked the video quality since the comedy first came to DVD, back in late 2005. Nevertheless, if the video transfer was good for then, it remains so for this double-dip. It has its share of imperfections – like a zit on prom night. Digital artifacts and a little edge enhancement here and there, but nothing worth making a fuss.

THE AUDIO
(English – Dolby Digital 5.1; French and Spanish – Dolby Digital 2.0)

Again, expect the same audio experience. Though, since most of the extras are split over two discs – instead of only a single disc as with the first release – the audio could have benefited. Less compression is always a good thing. With DD 5.1 you can’t go wrong, especially with the musical stylings of Michael McDonald, James Brown, and the classic theme to TV’s The Great American Hero. Optional subtitle tracks are available in English, Spanish and French. (Note: The English track is specifically designed for the deaf and hard-of-hearing [SDH].)

SPECIAL FEATURES

Now this is the area of the DVD that will either convince you to double-dip and pick it up, or set it back down. The original single-disc version scored okay in the audio/video department and had its fair share of extras. Most of the bonus features found on the earlier release have been ported over to this swanky “double your pleasure” edition.

Here’s what you can expect on both unrated editions:

– Feature commentary with Judd Apatow, Steve Carell, and most of the supporting cast
– Deleted Scenes (except for “Telemarketer Call,” “Stock Room – On Meth” and “Neighborly Love,” which are exclusive to the two-disc release)
– “You Know How I Know You’re Gay” montage of alternate takes
– Waxing Doc
– Date-A-Palooza – an extended version of the speed dating scene
– Line-O-Rama – alternate jokes and lines of various scenes
– Gag Reel
– My Dinner with Stormy (Seth Rogen gets an “eyeful” chatting up a porn star)

What is exclusive to the “Double Your Pleasure” edition?

– Knocked Up trailer (red band version; the one that played overseas)
– New deleted scenes (see above)
– Judd Apatow’s on-set video diaries
– Auditions
– Rehearsals
– Reel Comedy Roundtable (as seen on Comedy Central)
– Cinemax’s Final Cut featurette
– 1970s Sex Ed Film (originally appeared on the theatrical cut DVD release of The 40-Year-Old Virgin)

If you have ever listened to one of Kevin Smith’s “Jersey Trilogy” commentary tracks with a smorgasbord of guests on the mike, then you pretty much know what to expect when you have Judd Apatow, Steve Carell, Paul Rudd, Seth Rogen, and other Smart Tech employees weighing in with their insightful views. Okay, maybe that’s a bit of a stretch. Not a bad way to kill two hours.

The deleted scenes vary in quality, but with eleven total it’s easy to find a few worth watching over and over again. This is especially the case for “Rooftop Confessions,” “Cal & Paula,” “Stock Room,” and “Advice from Mooj.” Optional commentary from Apatow and Rogen is available for all scenes except the three new scenes exclusive to this release.

You Know How I Know You’re Gay? (5:31) is an extended sequence of back-and-forth ribbing with Rudd and Rogen as they play video games. It goes without saying that Apatow was probably hoping to achieve his own bizarro version of the “You’re mama’s so fat…” jokes we’ve heard a zillion times before.

Date-a-Palooza (9:18) is a longer version of the speed-dating scene, as we get new characters and interactions between the supporting players and the females. Just a great sequence, and any of the interactions could have definitely made the final cut.

The Waxing Doc (3:31) could be best described as a “hair-raising” experience. Shot on-location, the scene itself is one of the comedy’s most memorable. Watching it play out from an overhead angle of Carell – and seeing and hearing his not-so-nice reactions – you learn quickly that physical comedy has no limitations.

For those aspiring/amateur comedians, pay attention to Line-O-Rama. It is a six-minute montage of unused, alternate lines of dialogue. The art of improvisation is not an easy skill to master. So, if you watch the “Cal & Paula” deleted scene and this feature, you get a quick crash course.

When watching Judd Apatow’s Video Diaries there were times I didn’t know if he was being serious or witty. From his nonchalant comments of the changes the Universal executives wanted made – Steve Carell was to have a shorter haircut, Paul Rudd was to lose 27 pounds overnight – to him educating us on what it means to get rid of the jokes you like – it’s called “killing the boobies” – there’s plenty of fun to be had listening to him speak.

The auditions and rehearsals pretty much go hand-in-hand, as both rely on memorization and the script. Included with the audition process are actors Jonah Hill, Elizabeth Banks, Romany Malco, Shelley Malil, Jane Lynch (Paula), Gerry Bednob (Mooj), and Jazzmun (a transvestite). The rehearsal has the Smart Tech guys reading over the poker scene after it had undergone a major rewrite.

The 19 minutes of raw footage is unclipped for the most part and focuses on Steve Carell during the poker scene, the hairwax removal scene, and the bathtub scene with Elizabeth Banks. Again, this is another educational tool for comedians. Here we see Carell doing improv on the spot with various lines of dialogue from himself and other off-screen characters. Man-oh-man the noises Banks’ makes in the bathtub. Ay yay yay.

Probably the most out of place extra is on the second disc: the 1970s Sex Ed Film. Corny as anything you’ve ever witnessed. While it was playing I was waiting for a graphic to appear that had “Samuel L. Bronkowitz presents … Catholic High School Girls in Trouble,” and then cut to the moment in The Kentucky Fried Movie where a guy finds out the truth about masturbation. It burns the corneas.

Rounding out the extras is a gag reel (4:35) which is lacking when compared to some of the other montages and extended scenes, and two puff piece featurettes: Cinemax’s Final Cut (12:43) and Reel Comedy Roundtable (21:06). Both cover the same kind of ground – inspiration for the story, worst dating experiences – but the first feature is cut in a studio environment while the second occurs in a more down-to-earth setting: around a table. Such a difference impacts the candor one can expect watching the short features.

Looking at the special features, it’s really a toss up if you want to upgrade. Some of the best bits – “Line-O-Rama,” “Date-a-Palooza,” and “You Know How I Know You’re Gay” – are found on the earlier release. Unless you have a hankering to see how sex was taught back in the seventies, or watch Apatow and the gang in made-for-TV, behind-the-scenes specials, then you may want to stay away from this potential double-dip. The only way this release would have made it a “must buy” is if it had included both the theatrical and unrated versions.

THE INSIDE PULSE

Decisions decisions. The 40-Year-Old Virgin is a great comedy. It has a high replay value with more than its fair share of memorable one-liners. This unrated edition is a bit on the long side, so if you remember seeing it in theaters and enjoying it, well you may want to track down the widescreen edition on DVD. Those who already own the unrated, single-disc version aren’t missing much with this “double your pleasure” release. That is unless you are on the fence about seeing Knocked Up. (Because a free movie ticket is awfully tempting.) Such a treat would make this a must buy rather than a rental.

The DVD Lounge’s Ratings for
The 40-Year-Old Virgin: Double Your Pleasure Edition
CATEGORY
RATING
(OUT OF 10)
THE MOVIE

9.5
THE VIDEO

8
THE AUDIO

8
THE EXTRAS

9
REPLAY VALUE

9
OVERALL
8.5
(NOT AN AVERAGE)