Commentary Commentary

Monday, March 20, 2006

The 40 Year Old Virgin

Plot synopsis: The title pretty much says it all. Steve Carrell plays the titular character, a nerdy but cute fellow who’s never had sex. His new friends (Rudd, Rogan and Malco) take it upon themselves to cure him of his virginity. Hilarity ensues. Meanwhile, he must deal with a burgeoning relationship with the always saucy and sexy Catherine Keener.

Voices behind the commentary curtain: director Judd Apatow, stars Steve Carrell, Seth Rogan, Paul Rudd, Jane Lynch, Leslie Mann, Romany Malco, Gerry Bednob – pretty much the entire cast and crew. Maybe the cleaning staff and Apatow’s mom too. I’m not sure.

Summary: Apatow, Carrell and company deliver zinger after zinger, along with amusing anecdotes and bizarre non sequiters.

Commentary: One of the best films released in 2005, The 40 Year Old Virgin catapulted Steve Carrell into legitimate leading man standing (of course, those of us who knew him from the equally awesome “The Office” television series were already well aware of Carrell’s comedic talents). The film was written and directed by Judd Apatow, already beloved by hipsters everywhere for his work on shows such as “Freaks and Geeks” and “Undeclared.” Other indie favorites like Seth Rogen (an Apatow regular), Paul Rudd and Jane Lynch also appear in the film. Actually, almost 80% of the people involved in this movie fell into the “Why the hell aren’t these insanely talented people like a hundred times more famous?” category.

First the good stuff: this commentary is hysterical. Several of the cast are experienced improv veterans (including alums from the famous Second City troupe), and it shows in their razor sharp wit. Seth Rogan and Paul Rudd are particularly amusing – at one point Rogan gives Carrell the following feedback about his scene: “Less semen, more emotion!” Later on, one of the running jokes involves every cast member (including the fabulous Jane Lynch) implying that they made out with with Judd Apatow’s wife. His wife, as it turns out, is Leslie Mann, who played the drunk girl who pukes on Carrell. Very, very funny. And, as you can see, very crude. I’d imagine that if you are fan of the movie this sort of humor isn’t going to bother you. So, enjoy the foul-mouthed goodness.

However, the commentary suffers at times from a lack of focus. With pretty much the entire cast trying to comment or tell a story, the commentary veers all over the place. A lot of film passes by without any direct comment, since someone is usually busy telling an unrelated anecdote or joke. For example, they spend five minutes talking about Gerry Bednob’s stand-up routine (which he then delivers to the listener), which I could have done without. Fortunately, most of the digressions are amusing, so it’s largely forgivable. Still, I wish they had either split the cast into two groups, or kept the commentary to the four primary cast members and the director.

They do manage to address the most infamous scene in the movie – the chest waxing scene. The commentary here is both entertaining and informative. Plus, that scene never gets old, so even if you don’t like the commentary, you can always re-enjoy watching Carrell shriek Kelly Clarkson's name at the top of his lungs.

There’s a patch of dead space towards the end when they seem to run out of steam, but overall, they enterain most of the time. This one is a can’t miss. Definitely cue it up in the DVD player and be prepared to giggle your brains out.

The Verdict: A must-hear commentary that will have you laughing out loud. Though it has minimal educational value (film buffs looking for tips will be disappointed), its awesome-icity level is at the max. Final grade: B+


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