REVIEW: HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER – SEASON 4

Starring

Josh Radnor (The Hunt)
Jason Segel (Sex Tape)
Cobie Smulders (Avengers: Endgame)
Neil Patrick Harris (Gone Girl)
Alyson Hannigan (Buffy: The Vampire Slayer)
Bob Saget (Full House)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Lyndsy Fonseca (Kick-Ass)
David Henrie (Paul Blart Mall Cop 2)
Sarah Chalke (Scrubs)
Charlene Amoia (American Pie: Reunion)
Regis Philbin (Shrek The Third)
Darcy Rose Byrnes (Desperate Housewives)
Virginia Williams (Fuller House)
Dan Lauria (The Spirit)
Jamie-Lynn Sigler (Dark Ride)
Krista Kalmus (Veronica Mars)
Bryan Callen (The Hangover)
Adam Paul (One For The Money)
Courtney Ford (Legends of Tomorrow)
Candace Moon (Speed Demon)
Will Sasso (Mom)
Erin Cahill (Power Rangers Timeforce)
Kim Kardashian West (2 Broke Girls)
Amy Gumenick (Arrow)
Eileen Seton (Dakota Skye)
Jordan Masterson (Last Man Standing)
Frances Conroy (Catwoman)
Brooke D’Orsay (Two and a Half Men)
Laura Prepon (That 70s Show)
Hayes MacArthur (Super Troopers 2)
Taran Killam (12 Years a Slave)
Marshall Manesh (Will & Grace)
David Burtka (Neil’s Puppet Dreams)
Italia Ricci (Supergirl)
Bill Fagerbakke (Spongebob Squarepants)
Kevin Michael Richardson (The Cleveland Show)
Dan Castellaneta (The Simpsons)
Ron Roggé (Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue)

Jason Segel and Josh Radnor in How I Met Your Mother (2005)The Ted-Robyn relationship provided much of the ongoing story arc for the first three seasons; In season Three Ted embarked on a romance with Stella (guest star–and Scrubs regular–Sarah Chalke) that provides that year with a cliffhanger–will she accept Ted’s marriage proposal? Well, spoiler alert, she does. But this stroke of happiness for our Ted is short-lived; their rushed wedding, in episode five, ends with Stella leaving Ted at the altar following a reconciliation with her ex. Bruised and a little battered, Ted spends the remainder of the season mostly playing the field; this year’s will-they-or-won’t-they involves not Robin and Ted, but Robin and Barney, who slept together at the end of season three, leading to–shockingly and alarmingly–a genuine flush of romantic feelings by the notorious womanizer.Neil Patrick Harris, Alyson Hannigan, Regis Philbin, Jason Segel, Josh Radnor, and Cobie Smulders in How I Met Your Mother (2005)By this point in its run, How I Met Your Mother has settled into a comfortable routine, and I mean that in a good way; the show is in the character-comedy mold of Seinfeld and Friends (its two clearest influences), and like those shows, the situations get funnier, the more familiar we are with the characters. The series’ ingenious structure and inventive narrative tricks also continue to entertain; the hopscotching timelines of the “Three Days of Snow” and “The Front Porch” episodes are outstanding, while the clever flashbacks of “Sorry, Bro” build to some big laughs. Other standout episodes include “I Heart NJ,” which perfectly encapsulates the love/hate relationship between island-dwelling New Yorkers and commuters from the Garden State; “The Best Burger in New York,” a fine portrait of New York foodie-ism (and how to best utilize a Regis Philbin guest shot); and “The Stinsons,” which reveals one of Barney’s more peculiar secrets.Neil Patrick Harris, Alyson Hannigan, Sarah Chalke, Jason Segel, and Josh Radnor in How I Met Your Mother (2005)But the season’s finest episode, without question, is “Murtaugh,” centered on Ted’s “Murtaugh List”–i.e., a list of things that would fall under Danny Glover’s Lethal Weapon catchphrase, “I’m getting too old for this shit” (the replacement of “shit” with “stuff” in the story that aged Ted is telling his children is a particularly nice touch). It’s a funny idea (and dovetails nicely with the season-long running theme of aging; there’s 30th birthdays all around this season), well-developed, and the episode’s B-plot includes an homage to Teen Wolf, so what else could you ask for? Radnor and Smulders, continue to develop into engaging, charismatic comic actors. Hannigan and Segal’s chemistry remains one of the show’s biggest assets. But Harris’ Barney Stinson remains the show’s comic gold mine, and the skilled thespian uses the season-long Robin crush to lend some additional pathos to the character. His desperation reaches a fever pitch in the wonderful “Benefits” episode, in which new roommates Ted and Robin end up sleeping together to end domestic arguments, leading jealous Barney to start dropping by with groceries and pitching in on household chores–all the better to keep tempers smooth and to keep the “friends” out of each other’s pants.Josh Radnor in How I Met Your Mother (2005)How I Met Your Mother remains one of the most consistently, reliably funny series on network television. Season four finds the show continuing in fine form, taking its characters in interesting new directions and providing its talented cast with a prime showcase for their crackerjack comic skills.

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