First, I need to make a confession. When The 40 Year-Old Virgin came out, ten years ago in August of 2005, I was not a 40 year-old virgin.
I was a 39 year-old virgin. But, since I hadn’t been on an actual date in more than four years, I felt pretty confident that I would reach 40 with my virginity intact. (Don’t worry, I did.)
When I first heard they were making a movie called The 40 Year-Old Virgin, I was quite excited about it, for several reasons. I had just finished watching Freaks and Geeks on DVD, so I was familiar with and liked the work of Judd Apatow and Seth Rogen. Also, I had been a big fan of Steve Carell since seeing his “Germans Who Say Nice Things” skit on The Dana Carvey Show. (“That cloud looks like a pony!”)
And I thought maybe, just maybe, they might show things from my perspective. It might just be a funny movie to which I could actually relate. You know, without the main character having sex on the first date all of the time. (Do people really have sex on the first date? Seems kind of scary to me.)
To me, the casting of Steve Carell as the virgin was perfect. He was handsome-ish, but not too handsome. He was just quirky enough to be believable as a virgin, but cool enough for me (and all the other virgins out there) to say, “Look, we aren’t all freaks.”
So, I was excited to see the movie. But, when it came time
to actually go to the theater, I was filled with more than a bit of
trepidation. One of the reasons I became a 39 year-old virgin is that I am a
Mormon. Mormons are taught that having sexual relations outside of a marriage
is one of the worst sins you can commit. I was 39 years old. I had never been
married. Hence, I was a virgin.
|My lame attempt to copy the poster from The 40 Year-Old Virgin.|
(Unfortunately, I'm not as handsome-ish as Steve Carell.)
Mormons are also told that they shouldn’t see R-rated movies. But, on the scale of sin seriousness, the sex sin is much higher than the movie sin. And, since the movie seemed to be speaking to me personally, I made the decision to go see it.
That trepidation wasn’t totally unfounded; it was a very vulgar movie. One of the first scenes shows Steve Carell’s Andy walking to the bathroom in the morning, leaving little to the imagination. (I’ll never hear the opening bass line to Joe Walsh’s “Life of Illusion” the same ever again. Vulgar? Yes. But also a perfect musical cue.)
I was impressed by how much they got right about life as a 40 year-old virgin. Some of it, of course, was pretty obvious. A virgin would be an introvert, shy, not willing or likely to talk much about sex. But some things were a bit more insightful, such as when Andy would have short bursts of temper toward inanimate objects, like his bicycle. Those pent-up frustrations need some kind of release, and things that can’t fight back, like a bike or a wall, are perfect subjects for that release. (A scene with him cursing at his computer for a slow internet connection would have been very appropriate.)
And, I’ve got to admit, I thought Andy’s apartment was pretty amazing. I recognized several toys from my youth. I used to have that Iron Man
doll action figure. I used to have that doll action figure of
The Thing from the Fantastic Four. And while no, I never had a doll
action figure of the Six-Million Dollar Man’s boss, I knew his name (Oscar
Goldman) and I wouldn’t have been opposed to having one.
I also never had a poster of the rock group Asia on my wall. But I did have an Electric Light Orchestra poster featuring the spaceship from the cover of their “Out of the Blue” album. (Does this make me a more cool virgin than Steve Carell’s Andy? I think so.)
Another similarity between this real virgin and the movie’s virgin? I, too, would have been a bit flummoxed by the plastic model of a vagina at the sex education class.
As the plot of the movie unfolds, Andy’s co-workers get more and more desperate for him to have sex even as their own love lives are in disarray. It’s funny, but the moral of the movie is very similar to what I was taught in church: sex without love has very little meaning.