We all remember the first time we took a brief (yep, very brief) shot at makin' bacon. The awkward fumbling. The eventual genital union that was more like a 12-pint drunk trying to get a key in a door rather than the graceful docking-of-shuttle-with-space-station scenario we'd expected... Now imagine the `first-time' didn't happen in your teens. Or your 20s. Or, come to that, your 30s. Before you know it, you're a single, sensibly-attired 40-year-old oddball who's considered to be a nice guy/serial-killer.
That's the scenario with Andy (Steve Carell, a Saturday Night Live alumni and America's incarnation of David Brent);a man epitomised by his weekend highlight of spending three hours making a haute cuisine egg sandwich... and then discovering he's out of bread. His situation changes, however, when his chaste status is revealed to his nearly-compassionate colleagues, the trio of hapless workmates promptly taking him on a Swingers-esque pilgrimage. "There's a code in every man's DNA that says "pounce on drunk bitches"," offers one buddy. And that's the good advice.
As with Will Ferrell's Anchorman (in which Carell co-starred), The 40-Year-Old Virgin riffs off just one simple set up - - in this case, a bloke's futile attempts to be fertile - - and while it lacks that film's inspired lunacy, it's still scattershot hilarious. Carell makes the leap from supporting clown to chief jester with ease. Finally given room to breath, after his scene-stealing supporting turns in the likes of Bruce Almighty, he ensures Andy isn't just funny, but human, too. There's warmth behind the smutty laughs.
He also deserves plaudits for pure determination. Just look at the man-mane waxing scene where Carell spews a stream of clearly improvised expletives as his chest hairs are ripped away a strip at a time (with no chance of a second take). It's moments like these that could make Virgin the ultimate date-movie for inexperienced blokes... though we recommend you go down the pub and get her pissed instead.
American Pie with a twist, it's a bit hit and miss, but comes with plenty of keep-your-pecker-up one-liners and close-to-the-bone visual gags.