Crimson Quill’s Appraisal #400
Number of Views: Multiple
Release Date: August 11, 2005
Country of Origin: United States
Box Office: $177,400,000
Running Time: 133 minutes
Director: Judd Apatow
Producers: Judd Apatow, Clayton Townsend, Shauna Robertson
Screenplay: Judd Apatow, Steve Carell
Cinematography: Jack Green
Score: Lyle Workman
Editing: Brent White
Studios: Universal Pictures, Apatow Productions
Distributor: Universal Pictures
Stars: Steve Carell, Catherine Keener, Paul Rudd, Romany Malco, Seth Rogen, Elizabeth Banks, Leslie Mann, Jane Lynch, Gerry Bednob, Shelley Malil, Kat Dennings, Jordan Masterson, Chelsea Smith, Jonah Hill, Erica Vittina Phillips, Marika Dominczyk, Mindy Kaling, Mo Collins, Kevin Hart, Jenna Fischer
Suggested Audio Candy
 James Ingram & Michael McDonald “Yah Mo Be There”
 JoBoxers “Just Got Lucky”
“I hope you have a big trunk… because I’m puttin’ my bike in it”
It’s time for Keeper to stand up and be counted. For my 400th appraisal, I have decided to make a decidedly frank admission. I was the 30-year old virgin; never made it to forty but still managed to hold onto my cherry right through my first marriage. How you may ask? Well, my wife was indifferent to sex or so she said, possibly to massage my ego after failing to perform my marital duties for the umpteenth time. My first time, at seventeen, was an absolute cataclysm; choosing a far more experienced bed buddy left me frozen like a rabbit in headlamps and questioning whether or not I had the minerals to take on such a complex task. For over a decade I carried that shit around like an underarm chihuahua and each attempt to break my duck only heightened the anguish.
“All you got to do is use your instincts. How do you think a lion knows to tackle a gazelle? It’s written, it’s a code written in his DNA, says, “Tackle the gazelle.” And believe it or not, in every man there’s a code written that says, “Tackle drunk bitches”
Eventually I overcame adversity and took the pussy down from its pedestal but not before significant psychological trauma had been soaked in and I had been made to feel inadequate for my entire twentysomethings. The more disheartening factor was that I believed myself to be all alone in my plight; all around me the whole world were fucking like Persian minks while I sat around feeling sorry for myself like a neglected puppy. It wasn’t all bad as I did become something of a cunnilingus wizard in the interim but I would have traded it all for one good long, hard, sweaty screw.
Judd Apatow and Steve Carell achieved infinite hero status with Keeper the moment the pair penned The 40 Year-Old Virgin. Suddenly, I realized something. I wasn’t the only guy to suspect his machinery to be defective. Men just don’t talk about that shit in locker rooms. Chinese whispers come to pass which suggest that seven flaccid inches is the national average and the jocks make sure to slap their Johnsons about their thighs for a full minute before unleashing the python so as to uphold their reputations. Meanwhile, there are always those few kids who come away feeling inadequate. One misguided attempt at coitus later and we are punished for being deep-thinkers. In 2005 I learned the real truth and a massive burden was finally lifted.
The 40 Year-Old Virgin chronicles the sexual misadventures of Andy Stitzer (Carell), a warehouse support schlep at local electronics mart SmartTech, and less than proud owner of a pair of sexual L-plates. For one reason or another, he has ambled through his adult life with virginity still very much intact and taken to collecting rare action figures to keep depression from setting in. They remain pristine, much like his penis, and it isn’t looking at all encouraging for Andy’s hopes of removing the shrink-wrap. However, all is not lost, as Andy has his very own entourage determined to put an end to his dry spell.
“From now on, your dick is my dick. I’m gonna get you some pussy”
Andy’s relationship with workmates Cal (Seth Rogen), David (Paul Rudd), and Jay (Romany Malco) is critical here. While they mock him to the nth degree and pass off dud advice to mask their own relationship insecurities, it is also clear that they genuinely like Andy. And who wouldn’t? Despite fitting the nerd stereotype fittingly, he is quick-witted, kind-hearted, and impossible not to root for, and Apatow and Carell make the very most of this dynamic. In addition, superb supporting turns from Jane Lynch as their unabashed nymphomaniac store manager and Apatow’s real-life spouse Leslie Mann as one of Andy’s long list of failed conquests keep the incident at a maximum throughout a 133 minute running time which has become par for the course with Apatow features.
“Really? All your girlfriends wanted to have sex with virgins, too? That’s funny… I didn’t even know you girls talked like that. I think my first time might be your best time, too. Well, I knew it. You know what? I knew that you’d react that way and I knew that you would want to lead me through my first sexual encounter will all the compassion and care that someone would give to their soulmate”
The reason why it never once outstays its welcome is that everything is so smartly observed. Apatow can write characters like few others and exchanges come across as unforced because many of them were actually improvised by the gifted ensemble. It all works and astute, meaningful dialogue is only ever a short intake of breath away. There are a number of observations, never more so than when Andy is forced into taking a long, hard look at his obsession for collectibles, which will resonate to any man culpable of looking for love in all the wrong places. The icing on this particularly sweet pastry is the love interest and if there is any candidate more perfectly suited for the role of Trish than the lovely Catherine Keener then I’ll gladly get my chest waxed.
Their blossoming relationship is utterly palpable and both actors embrace the chemistry willingly. The 40 Year-Old Virgin is a particularly funny movie with numerous quotable moments and outlandish scenarios aplenty but it isn’t the frat boy comedy suggested by its title and has a bona fide heart beating at its center. When you take in any Apatow film for the first time you are encouraged to relate and he makes it easy to do so by writing such multifaceted characters and leaving so much of his own life experience out to graze. Thus, I feel obliged to do the same. I may have endured a full decade less angst than Andy but I do know how he feels. And I would like to think that he will take comfort from the knowledge that there are plenty of other Andys out there.
Crimson Quill’s Judgement: 9/10
Richard Charles Stevens
Keeper of The Crimson Quill
© Copyright: Rivers of Grue™ Shadow Spark Publishing™