REVIEW: THE 40 YEAR-OLD VIRGIN

40 YEAR

CAST
Steve Carrell (Get Smart)
Catherine Keener (The Interpreter)
Paul Rudd (Ant-Man)
Romany Malco (Blades of Glory)
Seth Rogen (Paul)
Elizabeth Banks (The Hunger Games)
Leslie Mann (This Is 40)
Jane Lynch (Role Models)
Kate Dennings (2 Broke Girls)
Jonah Hill (Get Him To The Greek)
David Koechner (Anchorman)
Hilary Shepard (Power Rangers Turbo)
Carla Gallo (Bones)
Kevin Hart (Central Intelligence)
Jordan Masterson (Last Man Standing)
Mindy Kaling (Ocean’s 8)
Cedric Yarbrough (Get Smart)
Barret Swatek (American Housewife)
Jenna Fischer (The Office)
Suzy Nakamura (Dr. Ken)
Andy Stitzer (Steve Carell) is a 40-year-old virgin who is involuntarily celibate. He lives alone, collects action figures, plays video games, and his social life seems to consist of watching Survivor with his elderly neighbors. He works in the stockroom at an electronics store called SmartTech. When a friend drops out of a poker game, Andy’s co-workers David (Paul Rudd), Cal (Seth Rogen), and Jay (Romany Malco) reluctantly invite Andy to join them. At the game (which he wins, due to playing online poker constantly), when conversation turns to past sexual exploits, Andy desperately makes up a story, but when he compares the feel of a woman’s breast to a “bag of sand”, he is forced to admit his virginity.
Feeling sorry for him (but also generally mocking him), the group resolves to help Andy lose his virginity. Throughout the next several days, the group’s efforts prove to be unsuccessful, partly because all three men give Andy different and sometimes contradictory advice. They take him to have his chest waxed. Cal advises Andy to simply ask questions when talking to women, which makes Andy seem mysterious. His advice proves to be the most helpful, when Beth (Elizabeth Banks), a bookstore clerk, takes a liking to Andy. Andy starts to open up, and begins to form true friendships with his co-workers. David continues to obsess over his ex-girlfriend, Amy (Mindy Kaling). After meeting her unexpectedly during a speed-dating event attended by the group, he has an emotional breakdown while making a sale and is subsequently sent home by store manager Paula (Jane Lynch), who promotes Andy to fill in for him.
Jay, seeing Andy’s continued reluctance to approach female customers, attempts to force the issue by hiring Andy a prostitute. When Andy discovers that Jay has inadvertently hired a transvestite, he is prompted to confront his friends, and tells them that he is taking matters into his own hands. Andy lands a date with Trish Piedmont (Catherine Keener), a woman he met on the sales floor who owns a store across the street. After Andy and Trish’s first date, in which they are interrupted by Trish’s teenage daughter Marla (Kat Dennings) as they are about to have sex, Andy decides to tell Trish he is a virgin. Before he can tell her, Trish suggests that they postpone having sex, to which Andy enthusiastically agrees; they decide they won’t have sex until their twentieth date. Meanwhile, Paula is impressed by Andy’s salesmanship and promotes him to floor manager.
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As Andy draws closer to his twentieth date with Trish, his friends begin to deal with the consequences of their lifestyles. David, still spiraling in his obsession with Amy, has become disillusioned with sex and has taken a vow of celibacy, prompting Cal to lure him out by hiring an attractive young woman named Bernadette (Marika Dominczyk) to work in the stockroom. After overreacting during an argument with an obnoxious customer (Kevin Hart), Jay reveals that his girlfriend Jill broke up with him after learning he had been cheating on her. Andy comforts Jay, who says that sex can ruin a relationship. Jill later decides to take Jay back (she is pregnant, and her misgivings about Jay as a father figure were what had spurred the breakup). Andy and Trish’s relationship grows, and Trish suggests that Andy sell his collectible action figures in order to raise enough money to open his own store. Later, Andy takes Marla to a sexual health clinic, where Marla reveals herself to be a virgin. The counselor (Nancy Carell) remains sympathetic, while the other patients in the clinic laugh at Marla. Andy defends Marla by admitting that he is a virgin as well, but only gains ridicule himself. On the way back to Trish’s house, Andy tells Marla that he only fabricated his virginity to protect her, but Marla deduces that Andy was actually telling the truth, and promises to keep this secret away from Trish, feeling that Andy should later inform her about it himself.
When they finally reach the twentieth date, Andy is still reluctant and resists Trish, upsetting her. An argument ensues, in which Andy accuses Trish of pushing him into changing his life against his will, and Andy leaves for the nightclub where Jay is celebrating his girlfriend’s pregnancy. He quickly gets drunk, and after running into Beth, leaves for her apartment with her. Meanwhile, David finally relinquishes his celibacy and hooks up with Bernadette, Marla convinces Trish to go and make up with Andy. By this time Andy has sobered up and, after witnessing Beth’s methods of foreplay, he starts to have second thoughts. As Andy is leaving her bathroom, he finds his friends waiting outside, having followed to warn him about Beth and encourage him to go back to Trish. They leave together (except for Cal), and Andy returns to his apartment, where he finds Trish waiting for him.
He attempts to apologize, but Trish, having found myriad suspicious belongings in his apartment, now thinks that Andy may be some sort of sexual deviant. Andy tries to convince her otherwise and declares his love for her, but she leaves in alarm and disgust. Andy chases after her on his bike, but at the moment of intercepting her, he collides with her car and flies headlong into the side of a truck. Trish rushes to his side in concern, and he finally confesses to her that he is a virgin. She is surprised to learn that this is the reason behind his strange behavior, as she does not consider it to be important, and they kiss. Later, Andy and Trish are married in a lavish ceremony with everyone in attendance, with a sidelong mention of Andy’s action figures having sold for approximately half a million dollars. Afterwards, they consummate the marriage over a period of two hours and one minute transitioning into a musical scene where the characters sing and dance to “Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In”.
Quite simply this is a very funny film Great performances from Carrell, Keener, Rudd and Rogan and from the rest of the excellent supporting cast

REVIEW: BLADES OF GLORY

 

CAST

Will Ferrell (Zoolander)
Jon Heder (Napoleon Dynamite)
Will Arnett (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Amy Poehler (Mean Girls)
Jenna Fischer (Slither)
William Fichtner (The Dark Knight)
Craig T. Nelson (The Incredibles)
Romany Malco (No Ordinary Family)
Nick Swardson (Bolt)
Luciana Carro (Falling Skies)
Andy Richter (Scary Movie 2)
Rob Corddry (Operation: Endgame)
Nick Jameson (Frozen)
Luke Wilson (That 70s Show)
Katharine Towne (Evolution)

Jon Heder in Blades of Glory (2007)

Professional figure skating is a subject so ripe for cinematic satire that it’s truly a wonder that ‘Blades of Glory’ is first big budget comedy to exploit it. The costumes, the music, the pageantry, the preening — as much as we may watch in awe as the enormously talented athletes create magic on the ice, it’s hard not to also stifle a giggle at the grandiose excess of it all.Will Ferrell and Jon Heder in Blades of Glory (2007)

Much the same way he did with formula one racing in “Talladega Nights” Will Ferrell lampoons the sport to great effect with ‘Blades of Glory.’ This fantastically silly, utterly preposterous comedy was the sleeper hit of early 2007, grossing over $100 million and for once delivering all the laughs its trailers promised.

Will Ferrell and Jon Heder in Blades of Glory (2007)

Ferrell stars as Chazz Michael Michaels, an uber-hetero world-class figure skating champion (and adult film star, but nevermind that). After a on-rink run-in with his rival, the angel-cheeked skating prodigy Jimmy MacElroy (Jon Heder, not straying too far from his classic ‘Napoleon Dynamite’ persona), both are stripped of their gold medals and permanently banned from men’s single competition. However, after a few desperate years stuck on the has-been, quasi-celebrity skating circuit, the two find a loophole that will allow them to qualify as the world’s first all-male pairs team. Here is where ‘Blades of Glory’ could have simply been another of those one-joke movies — nothing more than a series of cringe-inducing homophobic barbs about how funny men in tights are. But if ‘Blades of Glory’ isn’t exactly high-brow, Ferrell and Heder find just the right tone in satirizing not “gayness,” but instead the male discomfort with the sexual stereotypes of “effeminate” sports like figure skating. Ferrell in particular creates such a hyper-masculine alpha male in Chazz — one who’s overcompensating to a ridiculous degree, that it becomes truly inspired social commentary. ‘Blades of Glory’ is actually quite astute, even sublime, in skewering male anxieties.Will Ferrell and Jon Heder in Blades of Glory (2007)The film also doesn’t limit itself to obvious satire by having a field day with the highly-competitive nature of Olympic sports. Fulfilling the villain requirement are Stranz and Fairchild Van Waldenberg, a brother-sister team of rival German skaters who will do anything to defeat Chazz and Jimmy. As played by Will Arnett and Amy Poehler (who also happen to be married off-screen), they’re like Boris and Natasha on ice, twirling their mustaches as they hatch a series of increasingly bizarre schemes. It all leads to an extended chase sequence, as Stranz chases Chazz over ice, through a crowded shopping mall and finally onto the rink in a madcap bit of lunacy that is one of the movie’s highlight sequences.MV5BMTU3NjYxNzc1NV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMTUyMjI0Nw@@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,1494,1000_AL_If ‘Blades of Glory’ were only spandex and slapstick, however, it probably would have been nothing more than a second-rate “SNL” sketch that quickly wore out its welcome. But typical of Ferrell’s more recent penchant for humanistic comedy over sheer satire, he sets the tone for the rest of the film by plumbing some genuine (if completely ridiculous) pathos out of these larger-than-life characters. When Chazz is forced to endure a stint inside a giant furry animal costume in the kiddie spectacular “Grumlets on Ice” (a pitch-perfect parody of those awful Icecapades shows), he somehow manages to make it simultaneously sad, touching, and hilarious. Indeed, we will come to like all of the characters in ‘Blades of Glory,’ because however over-the-top they may be, there is a kernel of recognition to even their most outlandish behavior that rings true. Of course, ‘Blades of Glory’ is ultimately impervious to critical analysis, because it aims to be nothing more than just a very funny movie. It takes a sport that just cries out to be made fun of, hits the laugh bull’s-eye more than it misses.