THE 40 YEAR OLD VIRGIN *
Region 2 (UK) Edition [Region 2 coded only]
Reviewed by Richard Spurr
Carell, Catherine Keener, Paul Rudd, Romany Malco
First up, a confession. I was dreading
seeing this film. Not sure why I took on this commission at all in fact! I
hate the kind of gross out comedy you find in film like American Pie
and Road Trip. From everything I'd seen on the film, The 40
Year Old Virgin looked like another dumb film from that genre.
Thankfully, nothing could be further from
the truth. Although there is the occasional joke you might find in an
American Pie type film for the most party this is a witty and
The films premise is a simple one. Andy
Stitzer (Steve Carell, star of the American version of The Office)
is a Virgin. He also 40 years old (do you see where they get the title of
the film from now!?!). His work colleagues, Cal (Seth Rogen, Freaks and
Geeks), Jay (Romany Malco, Weeds) and David (Paul Rudd,
Friends) discover this fact and resolve to help Andy lose his
virginity. And that's basically it.
The film isn't without its problems. At two
hours seven minutes long it drags in places and could easily have had
twenty minutes cut from it without effect the (admittedly slim) storyline.
It's also a disjointed film. It feels more like a collection of sketches
rather than an actual storyline. Not a lot of thought seems to have gone
into the storyline, the writers and director (perhaps rightly)
concentrating on making the audience laugh rather than making the story
make sense. There are a couple of scenes that are left unresolved that
really needed to be.
Despite all that it is a good entertaining
film that won't waste two hours of your life on if you watch it.
It's worth noting that the UK DVD version is
the "XXL Version" of the film, which contains seventeen
minutes of additional footage. This is presumably the same as the US DVD
Unrated version, which is also extended by seventeen minutes.
Universal's US division puzzles American DVD buyers as much as their UK
operation mystifies UK consumers. In the US there are three separate DVD
editions: an extended widescreen edition, an extended full-frame version,
and a full-frame version of the R-rated theatrical edit. There is no
option to buy a widescreen version of the theatrical version of the film.
The disc opens in an extremely annoying
fashion. When you put the disc in it plays an anti-piracy advert which you
can't skip. I'm all for putting this kind of thing on the disc if it helps
stop piracy but it should have been made skippable. You can fast-forward
through it, but being able to press the next chapter button to move on
would have been so much easier. As it stands it takes a minute and
twenty-seven seconds just to get to the main menu!
The menu set-up is extremely simple, no
animated nonsense here. The only problem is the buttons for turning the
commentary on and off. To say they are baffling is an understatement!
Instead of saying on/off which would be the sensible option they have
instead put two boxes, one a blank oblong and one with a cross in the
middle that makes it look like the “You've Got Mail” sign turned on its
side. Took me a couple of minutes to figure out that one with the cross
plays the extras with the commentary and one without plays it without. In
fact, I just had to go double check the disc so that I got that the right
way round for this review!
The transfer of the film and the extras is
good, what you'd expect from a modern film. The transfer is sharp, and
there are some signs of artificial sharpening. The film is virtually free
from dirt. The film has a muted palette, but the colour balance is
naturalistic. Film grain is evident, but there are no compression-related
The main feature is an anamorphic 1.85:1 transfer while the extras are
4:3 but presented in their correct aspect ration throughout. There is only
one audio option: a Dolby Digital 5.1 track. This is a modest mix, weighted to the front
channels. Dialogue is invariably locked to the centre channel, and is
clear and distinct.
Bit-rate for the main feature is reasonably
healthy, peaking at around 8.5Mb/sec, and never dipping below 5Mb/sec. The
average bit-rate is 5.37Mb/sec. The extras are equally
THE BONUS FEATURES
Extras-wise this is a strong but, like the
film, a disjointed set. There are three pages of extras which makes it
look like there will be a wide variety of goodies to watch. However, on
clicking on them you quickly discover that all but a couple of them turn
out to be deleted scenes! Amazingly for a film that is over-long there is
a lot of deleted material. A lot of the film seems to have been improvised
on set so a lot of this stuff, is present on the disc. Funny as it is
leaving it in the film would have made it even more disjointed than it
already is (one of the improve scenes is ten minutes long!). The scenes
have found their natural home on DVD.
There are two featurettes. There's a short
piece on the making of the waxing scene (watch the film to find out more
about that!) which is the only behind the scenes footage present on the
disc. There is also a piece called My Dinner With Stormy where
co-producer Seth Rogen “interviews” Stormy for the role of the porn star.
A staged piece done for DVD comic effect it really doesn't work.
Also on there is a good gag reel and a
couple of trailers, neither of which are the trailer for The 40
Year Old Virgin! Instead you get the trailers for Serenity and
The Skeleton Key.
There are no interviews on the disc, not
even the sanitised boredom that is an electronic press kit. Call me a
cynic but I wonder if that's all being held back for a special edition six
months down the road?
In addition to the above there is a
commentary on some of the deleted scenes by co-writer/director Judd Apatow
(Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, Freaks and Geeks)
and actor/co-producer Seth Rogen. Entertaining, and informative, its
strange that they don't commentate on all the deleted scenes. Also there's
no commentary on the actual film either!
Overall, this is
an entertaining film given a decent transfer to DVD with a good selection
of extras. I'm sure more could have been done on the extras front (the
lack of behind the scenes stuff and interviews is irksome but maybe none
were filmed since I'm sure the film performed way above what was expected
of it in terms of box office returns) but that is a minor quibble. Richard
says – buy it!
* The sleeve of the DVD says "The 40
Year-Old Virgin". The disc menus say "The 40-Year-Old-Virgin".
The on-screen title has no hyphens at all: it's called The 40 Year Old
A promotional trailer for the DVD can be