40 Year Old Virgin, the - Social deconstruction and vomit
| Steve Carell’s time has come and The 40 Year Old Virgin is the perfect vehicle.
After appearing in a lot of smart television – no that isn’t an oxymoron despite popular opinion and the American Idol phenomenon – Carell takes his first starring role in this sex comedy which turns out to be surprisingly smart.
For the most part, the script, co-written by Carell is an intelligent attack on sexism and heteronormativity while managing to throw in a few good punches as racial and class stereotyping. None of this prevents it from being good old fashioned low-brow funny. There is enough vomit and toilet humour for the best of them, but underneath this façade is an interesting deconstruction of post-modern western gender roles.
The language is adult and the humour is raunchy. Yet, the Carell’s virgin character, a perfect medium for his charming yet off-putting persona, is constructed as the “other” used to blow apart our understanding of gender relations. What is a virgin, especially a male one, if not an alien in our society? Through his eyes we see how ridiculous our mundane reactions to sex are. Through his ridiculousness he points out our own absurdity.
The 40 Year Old Virgin does a good job of showing us how silly we are and how much we all just need to grow up.
Also, Carell is smart to employ such a talented cast. With the sole exception of the extremely unlikeable Catherine Keener, the cast is one hilarious joy after another.
Okay, the plot does drag a bit in the middle and not all the jokes hit home. There is also a disturbing trend of sentimentality that builds into what seems to be a disappointing crescendo at the end but fortunately they move past the sappy end line into a wonderful musical montage ending that saves the film. While not a masterpiece, The 40 Year Old Virgin is an intelligent treat.
Here’s hoping Carell manages his new found stardom a little better than Will Farrell.