The film that started all of those “From the producers of” tags on Knocked Up, Forgetting Sarah Marshall and a myriad of other films, The 40-Year-Old Virgin made a star out of Steve Carell and put Judd Apatow in the mouths of Hollywood studios. While Universal has put out Apatow’s three biggest productions, he has branched off to produce other studio efforts such as Drillbit Taylor and Walk Hard. The man’s reach seems infinite, but we must not forget about the film that started this entire craze. This is that film and while it’s hard to believe it’s already been three years since its release, it remains every bit as funny as it was back in 2005.
Andy Stitzer (Steve Carell) has gone forty years without “doing it” and after becoming acquainted with his fellow co-workers, they decide to help him out and hook him up with women as fast as they can. Unfortunately for Andy, after all of this waiting he isn’t sure he has what it takes until he meets Trish (Catherine Keener). Although his friends, played by Paul Rudd, Romany Malco and Seth Rogen, attempt to keep him in the game with younger women, Andy eventually falls in love with Trish but is left at a disadvantage: he can’t work up the nerve to tell her about his past and in the process the two pull apart.
Wow, I just made that film sound way more like a romantic comedy than it really is. Don’t get me wrong, it’s definitely a romantic comedy, but as Apatow later proved, it’s more of a romantic comedy for the “man” as the overabundance and excessive use of gross out humor and expletives would turn most lovers of the usual PG-13 romantic comedy off quicker than you can say “man-o-lantern.” Still, the film does have a lot of heart and that’s what made it stand out from the rest of the pack when it came time for this film to find its audience. It followed the usual vulgar humor format that seventeen and older guys have come to know and love from films like Old School, all the while throwing in quite a moving and enjoyable love story. Apatow is king with this angle and can create a movie that both sides of the gender can enjoy, as long as neither is too sheepish about seeing some skin and hearing some absolutely filthy dialogue.
I’ve seen this film many times since its original DVD release and have never once regretted spending the time with it. While critics often rant about the length of Apatow’s films (the unrated cut of this film alone is over two hours), I often find that the most appealing thing about them. While the films may go on for awhile, the characters and humor are what keep you interested and as long as the jokes are still working I see no need to cut it down. Obviously a two hour comedies seem excessive, but when something makes you laugh then I say go for it—you’re bound to want to watch more of it anyway if it’s genuinely hilarious, so the films being a bit long in nature gel perfectly with me.
But enough about the films critical reception, let’s talk about the film itself. A nice thing about the film is that it takes the story of a man who hasn’t “done it” in his lifetime and manages to simultaneously make it feel like it’s not necessarily a bad thing while also railing on it for the scenario. It certainly makes for an interesting and hilarious plotline nonetheless and while I was a bit put off by it at first, unsure of how they’d handle it and worried that’d be all the film was about. In a way it was but…it’s hard to explain. It’s tastefully done and it was definitely one of the more unique storylines to come out of Hollywood in recent years and I’m glad we weren’t deluged with a bunch of “virgin” films after its success.
Steve Carell manages to be flat out hilarious in every sequence he’s in, with the chest waxing scene being as painful to watch as it is hilarious. Paul Rudd’s quips throughout the film are also priceless, as are Seth Rogen’s sequences. Sadly we’ve only seen Romany Malco in several supporting roles in some sub-par films recently, which is a shame since he’s so hilarious in the film. Each of the incidental characters are hilarious as well and overall it’s just a fantastically cast film from beginning to end.
I feel like its kind of after-the-fact to review this film three years (and three home video releases) after it’s been out, so I’ll cut it off here. Bottom line is this film is hilarious and it started the wonderful string Apatow produced Universal films that have never once disappointed. Highly Recommended.
So what’s on this Blu-ray? Well…pretty much the same stuff as the last three editions. Fret not for those who owned the “Double Your Pleasure” two-disc release that came out prior to Knocked Up’s release, as all of those extras from this set are included on this one as well. As with the film, these extras are old hat at this point so I’ll just recap them in brief when we get to that point. First, however, we have the Blu-ray presentation which comes in a standard Elite Blu-ray case, insert advertising the format and the usual Universal blade menu system acting as our navigation for this release. Both the rated and unrated editions of the film are included here, although I have and always will prefer the unrated simply because it adds in more incidental moments that are just as funny as the rest of the film.
The video and audio, the main draw of the Blu-ray release, isn’t quite as astonishing as I’d expected, but the AVC encoded 1080p transfer still is leagues above the still-disappointing DVD releases video quality. While the clarity is kicked up a notch, the colors in the film seem a bit washed out and subdued, but I assume that’s just the way the film was supposed to look and not an issue with the transfer. Detail is high and there are plenty of facial details and backgrounds to make out that were just a blur in the standard definition release. Sadly there is DNR and edge enhancement aplenty, as well as some compression issues…overall this transfer appears to be the exact same copy used for the previous HD-DVD release. The included DTS-HD Master Audio track is forceful for the club sequences, as well as the other more action oriented elements of the film, but for the most part it’s all focused in the front channels, as it should be. All in all a satisfactory mix on both accounts, but nothing that will blow you away; should you be in the market for a Virgin upgrade, however, you can’t go wrong with this release.
As previously mentioned the extras from both the single and two-disc releases have been ported over here and all are in standard definition. New to this release is the U-Control features, which, unlike most recent releases where they stuff all of the extras in this area, we instead get repeats from the massive selection of extras available from the standard extras menu. There isn’t much in the U-control area you can’t get elsewhere on the disc, so I’d say skip this one if you want to see the extras in full—in essence the U-control extras are just shorter versions of what’s already on the disc, so nothing really all that special.
The first major extra is the commentary with Judd Apatow, Seth Rogen, Steve Carell, Paul Rudd, Romany Malco, Gerry Bednob, Jane Lynch, Leslie Mann, Shelley Malil, and Jonah Hill. Yes…they are really all there commenting at once and it is just about the most hilarious commentary track you’re likely to hear for some time. It is truly the highlight of the set and remains one of the most informative and downright hilarious tracks I’ve ever heard for a film, comedy or not. If there was a category for “best commentary”, this one would be right at the top of my list. When you pack that much funny into one room, you’re bound to end up with hilarious results.
The rest of the extras…well good lord, I’ll be here all day if I go through them one by one. The first area to take hold of are the “Deleted Scenes”, of which there are over 30 minutes, so there’s no shortage of hilarious bits to check out that were tossed out of the film. “You Know How I Know You’re Gay?” is an uncut version of the now-famous Rudd/Rogen scene that made this film so memorable. “Date-A-Palooza” packs in all the many sequences from the film that were cut from the speed dating sequence in the film, while “Line-o-Rama” contains some positively hilarious improv bits from a vast majority of the cast.
“Judd’s Video Diaries” is filled with on-set footage while “Auditions” shows our major actors audition tapes for their roles in the film. “Raw Footage” gives us a look into three sequences of the film as the actors riff and improv with one another as Apatow shouts suggestions out from behind the lens. “Rehearsals” are, as they sound, rehearsals for the film, “Waxing Doc” gives us a real time look at the painful sequence from the film while “Gag Reel” throws in a solid amount of funny to close out the “normal” extras on the set.
“My Dinner with Stormy” is the hilarious but odd featurettes with Seth Rogen and porn star Stormy and the final three extras on the disc are a bit more promotional and fluffy in nature. “Reel Comedy Roundtable” and “Cinemax Final Cut” both take a look at the films from a standard interview perspective, while “1970’s Sex Ed Film” is exactly what it sounds like—a really old sex ed film that is as uncomfortable to watch as it is hilarious.
Overall this release is packed and if you don’t already own one of the DVD editions then this comes Highly Recommended. Those who already own the two-disc edition, however, may just want to pass on by. The Blu-ray transfer is hardly revolutionary and is marred by too much “prettying” up that caused more problems than it fixed. Still, if you’re in the market for a high-definition Virgin, you can’t go wrong. Recommended.
The 40-Year-Old-Virgin is now available on Blu-ray.