Judge Dennis Prince enjoys a good dose of crass humor but even he admits that some jokes can be done to death.
Our reviews of The 40-Year-Old Virgin (Blu-Ray) (published September 30th, 2008), The 40 Year-Old Virgin: Double Your Pleasure Edition (published May 30th, 2007), and The 40-Year-Old Virgin: Unrated Edition (published March 20th, 2006) are also available.
You know how I know you're gay? Because you know all of the dialogue of the you-know-how-I-know-you're-gay routine from The 40-Year-Old Virgin, including the extended dialog from the special edition!
Steve Carell (Dan in Real Life) is Andy Stitzer, a backroom support schlep at the local electronics mega-mart, SmartTech. Although he's socially adept enough to co-exist and even intermingle with his brash co-workers, Andy leads a largely clandestine life surrounded by his plethora of pristine action figures, sealed model kits, and fantasy lead figurines. But Andy's bubble world is about to come under attack when his generally well-meaning co-workers realize he's still "mint in box" himself. Quickly determining Andy isn't a closet case ("You know how I know you're gay?"), the SmartTech guys pull out all stops to…well…get the virginal Andy laid. Matters become even more complicated when Andy falls for nearby online auction maven, Trish (Catherine Keener, Capote), and is forced to confront his intimacy inexperience lest he fails when it matters most.
The 40-Year-Old Virgin made a significant impact when it exploded on movie screens during Fall 2005 and became a cult favorite on DVD by December of the same year. Chock full of quotable lines (many that need to be whispered among mixed company), the film has somewhat cemented itself in the fleeting pop-culture sensibility. While the original version never disappointed on its decidedly crass sophomoric level, this unrated version offers 17 additional minutes of unmentionable mirth, horrendous hair waxing, and you-know-how-I-know-you're-gay assertions. But like all good comedic timing, the success in execution comes from knowing when the beaten horse has died. Unfortunately for this extended version, the gags simply go on too long and, therefore, lack the pleasantly jolting impact of the hit-and-run indiscretions enjoyed in the theatrical cut.
There's little to complain about when it comes to the acting here, Carell underplaying his awkward Andy to precision while now-firmly-established Seth Rogen (Freaks and Geeks) is just as dutifully extreme and unapologetic in his delivery. Paul Rudd and Romany Malco are well-suited as "accessory caricatures" to round out the SmartTech entourage. The real gems here, though, are Jane Lynch as the confidently unabashed nymphomaniac store manager, Paula, and the emotionally unstable Mooj played Gerry Bednob ("This is total bullsh*t! Why don't you go f*** a goat!").
Now the other aspect of The 40-Year-Old Virgin that has gotten far too little attention is the wonderful array of collectibles that overrun Andy's modest apartment. To those who can recognize such delights on sight, the film morphs into an I Spy for the collectibles contingent. Most recognizable are the numerous 12-inch display figures manufactured by Sideshow Toys. Additionally, there are plenty of reissued styrene monster model kits courtesy of Polar Lights (sadly, now defunct). Those who know their vintage collectibles will certainly recognize several 8-inch figures from the 1970s, including some from Remco and Mego. Of course, we're given a few brief moments with Kenner's Six Million Dollar Man figures, Steve Austin and Oscar Goldman.
If you're one who knows your collectible toys as just noted, that doesn't mean you're gay (not that there's anything wrong with that), yet if you happen to have gone to great lengths to collectible the various versions of The 40-Year-Old Virgin on DVD, well, your situation may come into question. If you're a collector geek yourself and you absolutely adore this film, chances are you've already purchased the various DVD releases and have kept them in their hermetically sealed perfection, having purchased two copies of the one edition you chose to use for actual viewing, being careful to retain any cellophane stickers that you neatly trimmed off the plastic and carefully slipped under the keep-case clear cover, positioning it precisely where it had existed when displayed in the retail point-of-purchase settings. If this describes you in some way, then you likely were an early adopter of the HD DVD technology and have established a place in your HD library for this disc. Of course, if you are an extreme collector, then this will be your second HD purchase of this film, given that this edition is unrated and includes the unique shutter-window slipcase the transforms the goofy Andy from collared shirt to a patchwork of chest hair, compliments of a botched wax job.
As for the transfer itself, here you'll find an image quality that is a definite improvement over a standard-def experience yet nothing that truly screams "the look and sound of perfect" despite the clean 1080p/VC-1 encode delivering a 1.85:1 widescreen picture. The detail levels are well-managed and you'll be able to pick out many identifying features of Andy's collectibles yet the overall look of the picture is inconsistent and often a bit muted. Skin and hair textures are an improvement over SD but not of the quality many have come to expect of the enhanced technology. Audio is presented in a satisfying Dolby Digital-Plus 5.1 mix but don't expect an endless barrage of surround effects—although there are some good sequences, mind you. When it comes to the extras, you'll find a conglomeration of all the same bonus goodies present on the initial DVD release plus the subsequent "double your pleasure" two-disc edition. This means the director and cast commentary track (enjoyable and lively), Director Judd Apatow's video diaries, screen tests, raw footage, and all the rest are offered in this tidy package. Additionally, this HD DVD release includes the HD-exclusive U-Control feature that delivers pop-up commentary windows during the film's playback. All told, you'll be spending hours upon hours to view all of the material on top of the feature film and, unfortunately, it becomes all too much all too soon.
Now, with several months having passed since we had been overrun with the marketing blitz of The 40-Year-Old Virgin, it seems the storm has finally died down and, while the picture is certainly good for a laugh, it's arguably more enjoyable when taken in small doses. But, no real collection would be complete without this release so indulge if you feel you must.
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