starring Steve Carell, Catherine Keener, Paul Rudd, Romany Malco
screenplay by Judd Apatow & Steve Carell
directed by Judd Apatow
by Walter Chaw You should go just for the spectacle of Elizabeth Banks masturbating in a bathtub, but the real surprise of the piece is the disarming understanding that the usual Greek Chorus of man-friends giving bad advice seem to spring this time from a piquant desire to recapture something of their own lost youth. With a title like The 40 Year Old Virgin (and with a marketing campaign that borders on genius), you know that, as with other "losin' it" pictures (Losin' It, Revenge of the Nerds, Hardbodies, The Last American Virgin, and on and on), the hero's going to get laid--most often to a fireworks accompaniment (or selections from Hair, as the case may be). The only question is if he will get there via the respectable, wife/long-term girlfriend method or bust his cherry against some kind of Tara Reid-esque trollop. But what elevates The 40 Year Old Virgin beyond the same old musty sex-quest flick is the feeling that at its heart it believes there is actually something precious about chastity--even when its preservation has slipped past pathetic. The film is essentially sweet-natured and occasionally insightful about the ways that men never really grow up; small wonder it was co-written and directed by one of the co-creators of "Freaks and Geeks".