Viewers have reason to cheer when Andy gets invited to a late-night poker game with his male co-workers. He finally has his chance to emerge from his shell and, perhaps, gain some real friends at the same time. However, as the night progresses the guys figure out Andy's virginal qualities, but instead of ribbing him over about it - which men often do in this situation - they take it upon themselves to do whatever it takes for Andy to bed a woman.
Andy's new, eclectic group of friends provide the backbone of the movie, giving it solidarity with their various, often hilarious idiosyncrasies. There's David (Paul Rudd, who has no need to prove his comedic chops again after "Anchorman," although he still does) is the softie of the bunch, despite having a debilitating obsession with a girl he knew for only four months, which eventually gets him into trouble at work. Jay (Romany Malco) is the promiscuous ladies' man, which wouldn't be that bad if he didn't have a steady girlfriend. Cal (Seth Rogen) may understand women the best of the lot, but approaches relationships with a nonchalant irreverence that is all too typical amongst members of my gender.
At first, their advice to Andy is full of cliches - pursue violently inebriated women, etc. They just want him to get it over with - with anyone. It's a good thing Andy realizes why acts like this should be abhorred, because soon enough he meets Trish (Catherine Kenner), who personifies to Andy all the great things about the opposite sex. While, at first, his friends loathe the idea of Andy getting involved with a single grandmother - she has three children, one of whom is also a mother - they eventually come around and realize their own shortcomings, and in the end every one of them learns a truly important revelation worthy of a Flannery O' Connor story.
Relationship between Trish and Andy makes movie something special
What really makes this movie something special, though, is the on-screen relationship between Trish and Andy. Having a graceful, seasoned actress like Keener was a bold move on the part of director Judd Apatow, and it pays off in metaphorical gold bullion - as it will, likewise, at the box office.
Carell nicely wears the coat of a romantic lead, all the while maintaining his trademark timidity, and the audience absolutely believes every minute of his performance.
In recent years the genre of the "sex comedy" has made a comeback with movies such as the "American Pie" trilogy and all its knockoffs, but "The 40-Year-Old Virgin" eclipses these because it is geared more towards a more mature audience, allowing it to be more meaningful in the end, having not given in to 'tween-ness. It's a great movie for couples, as long as the lady of the group can tolerate the sometimes raunchy, obscene jokes, and she should, because the payoff at the end is so deserving for the characters.
While not as rife with one-liners as Judd Apatow's last effort, the aforementioned "Anchorman," which he produced, the zingers left behind will satisfy the men enough, and the chest-waxing scene will have everyone laughing. There are also the obligatory cameos - watch for another "Anchorman" alum, David Koechner, to steal a scene that also includes Carell's wife, Nancy Walls, fellow former "The Daily Show" correspondent.
All in all, "The 40-Year-Old Virgin" is pure entertainment, devoid of any big-name actors that can sometimes kill a comedy. Instead, the film relies on character actors to provide verisimilitude and give the movie a more personal feel.
If people can rise above pigeonholing it as a raunch-fest, it may just make it into the upper-echelon of romantic comedies. And maybe, just maybe, it will provide hope for all those too scared to let someone in for whatever reasons, and reassure us once and for all that the opposite sex really isn't from another planet.
David Carrier is a Lincoln County High School graduate and attends Somerset Community College.