Scott Hardie: “It was ok.”

There's something about this movie that's like There's Something About Mary. Almost a decade ago, that movie built early buzz among film hipsters with a killer cast and trailer, then unsurprisingly turned into a blockbuster hit with its scatological and sex-anxiety humor, and, flush with vindication, the hipsters praised the artistic genius of the Farrelly brothers for bucking the system and making a movie their way. A few of us were left cold by the movie itself, wondering how intelligent adults were turned into 13-year-old boys, laughing at penis jokes and relating to anxiety about pretty women. It's not that the movie was bad; it's just a mystery to us how it became a massive hit with middlebrow cred.

The same story now applies to Judd Apatow's 40-Year-Old Virgin, a movie that shouldn't appeal to 40-year-olds anywhere but has somehow made Apatow a revered new king of Hollywood comedy. It may have a great supporting cast, with Romany Malco, Seth Rogen, and Paul Rudd nailing their lines, and some surprising visual gags from out of nowhere, on par with, say, "Brett" turning out to be Favre. But most of the time, it's just not funny, meandering around in humorous riffs without taking off. Apatow sets up his scenes and then lets his actors improvise most of the dialogue, which lends unpredictability at the expense of a screwball pace. What should be a madcap sex romp sags into a muddled sitcom about male sexual anxiety that's squeamish for all the wrong reasons. It's not a bad movie, but it's a very overrated one.

And the less said about the Age of Aquarius, the better.

− December 10, 2007 • more by Scottlog in or create an account to reply

Kris Weberg: I'm of two minds on this movie: I found it undeniably funny when I first saw it, but it's neither an evergreen comedy nor a particularly well-constructed film.

As to the popularity of Apatow and the Farrellys, I think it has less to do with their supposed boundary-pushing than with the way in which both make some token effort to write proper, if monodimensional characters.

For so long the scatological comedy genre was dominated by the likes of Porky's and Meatballs. Apatow's and the Farrellys' films are flsuh with easy gags and stereotypical characters, but at least they're stereotypes which require a full phrase to describe rather than a single adjective.

The spiritual forefather to all of these movies is, of ocurse, the infinitely superior National Lampoon's Animal House, which is still wittier and, to abuse a term, subtler than the current crop of gross-out yukfests. What we've got today is still an improvement one what we had int he 1980s, though. − January 2, 2008 • more by Kris

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