Case Number 11474: Small Claims Court


Universal // 2005 // 133 Minutes // Unrated
Reviewed by Chief Counsel Rob Lineberger (Retired) // May 30th, 2007

The Charge

"Wow. This is graphic." -- Andy

The Case

By now you're probably familiar with The 40 Year-Old Virgin. There was a time when you were first getting acquainted with the concept, perhaps had preconceived notions of a cheap, bawdy tale in the vein of crass comedies such as American Pie. Steve Carrell had not yet erupted into the spotlight with the one-two punch of The 40 Year-Old Virgin and Little Miss Sunshine. You might have overlooked the subtle clue that director Judd Apatow was executive producer, director, and writer for the sensitive cult hit Freaks and Geeks.

Hindsight is so much better. By now, many of our snide dismissals of The 40 Year-Old Virgin have evaporated in the warmth of a movie that, while crass and vulgar, leaves its characters with integrity. We know know that Steve Carrell (Andy) and Catherine Keener (Trish) establish a believable, engaging relationship, capably supported by a stellar cast. The film hauled in a respectable $110 million at the box office and continues to do well on DVD. It was first released on December 13, 2005 as an R-Rated Fullscreen Edition, an Unrated Full Screen Edition, and an Unrated Widescreen Edition. A noteworthy gap -- the R-rated Widescreen Edition -- was filled shortly thereafter on January 24, 2006. 2006 also brought us a double package of The 40-Year-Old Virgin with American Wedding in both widescreen and fullscreen formats.

All of this brings us to The 40 Year-Old Virgin (Unrated 2-Disc Double Your Pleasure Edition). This is essentially a repackaging of The 40-Year-Old Virgin: Unrated Edition -- reviewed by Judge Brett Cullum last year -- with new features.

In his review, Brett made two key statements that also apply to this edition. The first is this:

Sometimes too much of a good thing is a bad thing. I saw The 40-Year-Old Virgin in theatres, and felt it ran a little long. Now they have this unrated version, and it's seventeen minutes longer than the general release print. Jokes seem to go on far too long for their own good. This story didn't need fleshing out. The Academy Award-winning Crash (2004) from the same release year is ten minutes shorter than this movie. This is like the Gandhi of gross-out comedies. You could make a miniseries out of it. I almost wish they could have used a branching feature to allow you to chose either the original or extended version.

Like Brett, I found this version overlong. Ironically, the inserted scenes are almost seamless; though I've seen the movie twice, I couldn't clearly tell where new footage began and ended. This is a credit to the extended scenes and a compliment to the editors. Yet the extended cut is imbalanced. Andy's relationship with Trish doesn't take precedence until much later in the film, which changes the emphasis of the plot. Tertiary characters consume more time, and while those characters are funny they shouldn't be the focus of the film. When you're calling the film The 40 Year-Old Virgin, you aren't setting us up for an ensemble piece.

The second point has equal merit for this release:
If you're a fan of the movie, the real reason to get this edition of the DVD is the embarrassing mass of extras found on it. You get outtakes, alternate lines, a group commentary, gag reels, entire sequences that were not used, live footage from the set, and even a couple of surprises that are better left undescribed. The commentary is as funny as the movie, and you'd do well not to skip it. Same with the endless outtakes. This is a movie that knows how to milk those extra features well.

The original slate of extras are all they're cracked up to be. The commentary is superlative, as are the gag reel, alternate takes, "Dinner with Stormy," and everything else. Most of those features made it onto this release except for "Deleted Sequence -- Andy's Fantasies" and possibly the "surprises that are better left undescribed." But wait, there's more...

* Collectible packaging: O-Ring flap with hilarious Steve Carell "waxed" reveal!
Universal deserves recognition for making a cardboard sleeve with actual entertainment value. They are usually foil-embossed clones of the DVD case which can be comfortably thrown away. But this one has a very special visual that really sets the mood.

* Judd's Video Diaries
These extensive excerpts from Apatow's on-location video notes from the shoot are mesmerising. He is frank about the challenges and fears he was experiencing at the time, dishing about cast members, producers, and the technical aspects of filming. This is a true making-of featurette that gives us an intimate peek into the life of a director.

* Auditions
The biggest insight I got from the Auditions is that Elizabeth Banks is smoking hot even without the perfect lighting of a movie set.

* Raw Footage and Rehearsals
These extras are of most interest to budding film makers or those with real curiosity about the mechanics of film making. The rehearsals show the formation of cast chemistry while the raw footage shows how quickly Apatow got multiple takes of the same lines. The editors must have had a field day with this one.

* Reel Comedy Roundtable and Cinemax Final Cut: "The 40-Year-Old Virgin"
These glossy interviews rehash much of what we've already seen in the outtakes and heard in the commentary. Extras like these reveal just how practiced the pitch and marketing of a movie can become. Though the cast and Apatow seem relaxed and off-the-cuff, we know that the comments have been said many times before. There is little new info here, but it is a nice peek behind the marketing engine.

With the same mediocre transfer (there are pervasive edge halos and dirt throughout) and the same soundtrack options, your choice is threefold: Hold on to the previous Unrated Edition, seek the rare widescreen theatrical cut, or pick up this release. If Universal had included the theatrical cut as an extra in this set, the choice would be clear: pick up the Unrated 2-Disc Double Your Pleasure Edition. But alas, it's not that clear cut.

If you are a casual movie fan who loves The 40-Year-Old Virgin for its sunny, outrageous humor, then stick with the previous release of your choice. If you're really interested in the mechanics of filmmaking and this film in particular, the new extras are worth a look. There are plenty of candid looks at the supporting cast, most notably co-producer Seth Rogen, who is hilarious at any time of day. The raw footage is somewhat dry but of interest, while the marketing blitz is glossy. The real gem is "Judd's Video Diaries," which offer true insight that will please his fans.

No matter which version you get, prepare to be charmed by the 40 year-old virgin.

Review content copyright © 2007 Rob Lineberger; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2016 HipClick Designs LLC

Scales of Justice
Judgment: 95

Perp Profile
Studio: Universal
Video Formats:
* 1.85:1 Anamorphic

Audio Formats:
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround (French)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround (Spanish)

* English
* French
* Spanish

Running Time: 133 Minutes
Release Year: 2005
MPAA Rating: Unrated

Distinguishing Marks
* 17 minutes of deleted scenes
* Judd's Video Diaries
* Auditions
* Raw Footage
* Rehearsals
* Reel Comedy Roundtable
* Cinemax Final Cut: "The 40-Year-Old Virgin"
* Collectible packaging
* Commentary Track by Director Judd Apatow, Actors Steve Carell and Paul Rudd, and Other Cast Members
* Gag Reel
* Alternate Take of "You Know How I Know You're Gay?" Sequence
* Line-O-Rama: Featuring Alternate Jokes and Lines From Various Scenes
* Feature With Actor/Co-Producer Seth Rogen Having Dinner with Porn Actress Stormy Daniels
* Deleted Scenes With Commentary
* Alternate Takes on Various Sequences
* Live Footage of the Chest Waxing Scene

* IMDb

* Review of Unrated Director's Cut