Ruddtrospective #15: Judd Apatow Is A Good Director – Part One

Full spoilers for The 40 Year Old Virgin.

Paul Rudd has had a very odd career. When he was trying to break into the acting career he would take on odd jobs like being a DJ at a Bar Mitzvah or glazing hams. Then he went from being a mostly dramatic actor, to Phoebe’s husband in that stupid show, to a full-on comedic performer in Anchorman and the Judd Apatow movies. Now he’s a superhero, and he was in a Ghostbusters sequel(RIP Ivan Reitman). He also owns a New York candy store with Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Hilarie Burton, which is kind of weird. And over the years he’s kind of done every genre of movie. But before we dip deeper into the weirder additions to his filmography,(like the horror movie that he filmed before Clueless, or the insane Hong Kong sci-fi action movie that he agreed to do as a joke) I wanted to highlight Paul Rudd’s collaborations with Judd Apatow, since they really kind of shaped his career going forward. I already talked about Forgetting Sarah Marshall, which Apatow produced, and I believe he was involved in the Anchorman movies, but I’m saving them for a rainy day. So today I’m talking about The 40 Year Old Virgin, and next week I will be covering Knocked Up. And maybe This Is 40, since it’s the sequel. It’s a long movie, so we’ll see.

The 40-Year-Old Virgin has an incredible cast. It includes Steve Carell, Catherine Keener, Paul Rudd, Seth Rogen, Romany Malco, Elizabeth Banks, Jane Lynch, Leslie Mann, Gerry Bednob, Shelley Malil, Kat Dennings, Jonah Hill, Mindy Kaling, Mo Collins, Erica Vittina Phillips, and Kevin Hart. The script was written by Steve Carell and Judd Apatow, and it was the first feature film that Judd Apatow directed.

The plot isn’t that complex. Steve Carell plays Andy, a nice man who works at a tech store not unlike Circuit City or Best Buy. He loves comic books, movies, and video games. And as the title suggests, he’s a virgin. And he’s forty years old. One day his colleagues David, Jay, and Cal invite him to poker after work. They start talking about past relationships and it quickly becomes very evident that Andy is a virgin. So the three of them set out to make Andy not be a virgin. From there on the movie is kind of just a series of sketches, mostly focusing on what it would be like to be a 40 year old virgin. There’s also a lot of great retail gags at the tech store. In one of the first scenes, Paul Rudd’s character, David, rants at his boss, Paula(Jane Lynch), about a DVD that’s been playing on the display TV for at least a year. As someone who saw the trailer for The Secret Life of Pets 2 at least twenty times a day, five days a week for three months, I can sympathize. The rant is one of the great Paul Rudd quotes of all time, as you will soon see:

DAVID: “Hey, Paula.”
PAULA: “Yeah.”
DAVID: “I gotta tell you something. I’m really excited about it. Uh, for the first time, today, I woke up, I came to the store, and I- I feel confident to say to you… that if you don’t take this Michael McDonald DVD that you’ve been playing for two years straight off, then I’m going to kill everyone in this store, and put a bullet in my brain!”
PAULA: “David, what do you suggest we play?”
DAVID: “I don’t care. Anything! I would rather- I would rather watch Beautician and the Beast! I would rather listen to Fran Drescher for eight hours, then have to listen to Michael McDonald. Nothing against him, but if I hear Yah Mo B There one more time, I’m going to Yah Mo burn this place to the ground.”

I don’t know about you, but this is one of my favorite jokes of all time for many, many reasons. But yeah, there are several scenes of Andy’s coworkers trying to fix his “problem”. And yes, the premise is a little creepy, but it’s clear that the men in this movie are meant to be a little creepy. Eventually, Andy meets a woman named Trish that he really likes, and the two of them end up together at the end of the movie. I’m not going to tell you how the movie ends because the last scene is truly a sight to behold.

There’s not much else to say. There are a lot of funny scenes. I want to watch the Director’s cut but I can’t find it anywhere. Oh, and you’ve probably heard about the waxing scene, when they wax Steve Carell. If you haven’t seen that scene, look it up. It’s really funny to watch because they did it for real. He walked around for half of the shoot with something resembling a face carved into his chest hair.

Paul Rudd, as I mentioned above, is very funny in this. Obviously. I don’t love his character, mostly because he spends the majority of the movie whining about the woman he dated for four months two years ago. Which is the point of the character. He’s meant to be sad. But he’s a little annoying. Seth Rogen and Romany Malco are both very funny in this as Cal and Jay. And there are hilarious cameos from Leslie Mann(One of my favorite actresses) and Elizabeth Banks(Another one of my favorite actresses). There’s not much else to say. You should watch it.

Oh, I should say something about Judd Apatow. He always does a pretty good job making funny movies where not a lot happens. This is one of them. All of his movies seem like a series of sketches with great comedians, but that’s because he’s really good at highlighting how mundane life is. This is also the first of two Judd Apatow movies with the number 40 in the title, and the first with a main character who rides a bike all the time. That’s not really a fun fact. Just a really boring pattern I noticed.

Overall Rating: 8.8/10(It’s a funny movie that I enjoy. It isn’t for everyone, obviously. But I like it. That’s why I didn’t spoil the whole thing.)
Rudd Rating: 7.8/10(He does a really good job being a sympathetic friend and a complete dumbass at the same time. I also ranked him higher than I would have because even though he has terrible hair in this, he’s still very attractive.)

As I said before, I will be reviewing Knocked Up next week! So I hoped you enjoyed this review, and watch The 40-Year-Old Virgin if you haven’t!

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