DVD & Blu-ray Reviews
The 40-Year-Old Virgin (2005), Blu-ray
Published on October 2, 2008
Starring: Steve Carell, Catherine Keener, Seth Rogen, Paul Rudd, Romany Malco
Director: Judd Apatow
Studio: Universal Studios Home Entertainment 61105463
Video: 1.85:1 widescreen, 1080p HD
Audio: DTS HD Master Audio 5.1, French DD 5.1, Spanish DD 5.1
Extras: Audio Commentary, Featurettes, Television Specials, Deleted Scenes, Outtakes, Auditions, Video Diaries, U-Control PIP functions
Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
Length: 133 minutes
Funny guy Steve Carell has had an almost meteoric rise in Hollywood over the last few years; at the time The 40-Year-Old Virgin was released in 2005, most people probably only recognized him from his brief appearances in feature films such as Bruce Almighty and Anchorman, and his recurring stints on The Daily Show. Of course, then along came The Office and Little Miss Sunshine, and suddenly, Carell’s a very hot property, and in no small measure because of his hilariously comedic work in The 40-Year-Old Virgin. And although, outwardly, the film smacks heavily of just being another over-the-top sex comedy filled to the rim with rampant vulgarity (and trust me, it very nearly is), what the film lacks in restraint, it more than makes up for with real heart. Carell plays Andy Stitzer, just your average reclusive middle-aged guy; he collects action figures and works at an electronics store, and has a handful of pretty cool friends, who soon discover that Andy’s still a virgin, and they make it their mission to get him laid by whatever means necessary.
Although the movie readily follows the classic comedic formula of “nice guy gets put through the wringer nonstop, 24/7,” Carell saves the film by showing that deep inside, all he really wants is to meet a nice girl and settle down and maintain some level of normalcy in his life. The object of his affections, single mom Trish, is played by the always-excellent Catherine Keener, and she brings the perfect blend of desperation and dating paranoia into the equation. And, of course, while these two are diligently trying to form a relationship, Andy’s well-meaning friends and co-workers are pulling out all the stops to guarantee that Andy loses his virginity pronto. The Blu-ray disc includes both the 117 minute theatrical release, and the slightly more over-the-top unrated cut that adds an additional 16 minutes of raunchiness to the mixture.
The video quality is, unfortunately, a bit of a mixed bag; the image quality varies frequently from razor sharp to quite soft, and the same is true of contrast, which is in places really good, and elsewhere quite murky. The film doesn’t really display a whole lot of grain, but speckles of dirt appear with regularity, which is really inexcusable for a film of such recent vintage. Of course, this film is by no means a classic, with the typical viewer looking for a few laughs and not much else, so I can probably understand Universal’s lack of attention to the video transfer. The DTS HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack is a real improvement over the DVD’s audio content, but the movie, being mostly dialogue-driven, doesn’t really take much advantage of the surrounds, and leaves most of the action up front. While the overall presentation is acceptably good, it could easily have been so much more had a little more attention been lavished on the transfer.
The Blu-ray helps negate some of its shortcomings with an extensive offering of bonus materials; there are multiple featurettes and behind the scenes footage galore that in many instances is almost as entertaining as the actual movie! The disc also include Universal’s Profile 1.1 ‘U-Control’ feature, however, unlike some recent Universal releases, much of the material accessed through U-Control on this release is tagged to existing bonus footage (translation: there’s very little in terms of HD exclusives available in this otherwise excellent offering of bonus material).
On the whole, I found this film hilariously entertaining, if perhaps over-the-top in places, and with a boatload of redeeming qualities. And while the Blu-ray disc is technically somewhat underwhelming, it still offers a truly entertaining viewing experience. Recommended.
– Tom Gibbs