04 March 2009

DVD: "The 40-Year-Old Virgin" - Unrated Widescreen

The 40-Year-Old Virgin
Directed by Judd Apatow
Written by Judd Apatow & Steve Carell
Starring: Steve Carell, Catherine Keener, Paul Rudd, Seth Rogan, Romany Malco
DVD Release Date: 13 December 2005
MPAA Rating: Unrated
List Price: $19.98
Cinescopes Personality Types: Invincible Optimist, Vivacious Romantic, Dedicated Idealist

The Film
Andy (Carell) is the titular character, the termination of whose virginity becomes a quest for his stoner co-workers.  That's pretty much the entire premise.  You can imagine the kind of horrible guidance middle-aged stoners can be expected to give a guy in this situation, and they do not disappoint.

Nearly every extra on the DVD is either an alternative, deleted or extended scene.  Given that the extended feature runs 2 hours, 13 minutes anyway, it's intimidating to consider what this film might have been had it included all these removed scenes.  There is a brief documentary of the filming of the infamous chest waxing scene (which is highlighted in all the trailers) that appears on both the rated and unrated DVD releases.  The unrated features include full versions of Andy's fantasies, and a brief segment of Seth Rogen talking with porn actress Stormy.  The DVD package lists "multiple cast commentary tracks," and this is misleading.  There is only one feature commentary (which features Apatow and nearly every member of the cast save Keener); the rest of the commentary tracks consist of Apatow and Rogen discussing select deleted scenes.  Why some of these extras are grouped under "Deleted Scenes" and include these commentaries and others stand alone as their own bonus feature, I cannot say.

The Recommendation
Given that Andy is a middle-aged geek, it would have been very easy for this film to be bullying about its treatment of guys who collect action figures past childhood.  Despite the fun poked at such guys via Andy, the film never devolves into meanness.  Furthermore, Andy's pursuit of sexuality is secondary to finding a woman with whom to develop an actual relationship.  We see his screening process, and it's actually nice to see that there's nothing wrong with holding out for something meaningful.  In nearly anyone else's hands, this film could easily have been a failure; instead, Apatow found the humanity in these characters and situations, and that's what makes it so endearing.  There is also 2-disc release that features more making-of material.

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