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A view from the Blu (-ray) on DVDBeaver by Leonard Norwitz


A Little Background     Openers     


    Modus Operandi     The Scorecard:     

Emotive Connection      Audio     Operations    Extras     The Movie     Equipment




The 40 Year Old Virgin (Unrated) [Blu-ray]


(Judd Apatow, 2005)







Review by Leonard Norwitz



Theatrical: Universal Pictures

Blu-ray: Universal Studios Home Entertainment



Region: All

Runtime: 132 min

Chapters: 20

Size: 50 GB

Case: Standard Amaray Blu-ray case

Release date: September 30, 2008



Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Resolution: 1080p

Video codec: AVC



English 5.1 DTS HD Master Audio; Spanish & French DTS 5.1



English, English SDH, Spanish & French



• Commentary by Director/Co- Writer Judd Apatow, Actor/Co-Writer Steve Carrell and Cast.

• Deleted Scenes with optional commentary (27:31)

• Line-O-Rama (6:20)

• Date-A-Palooza: Deleted dating material (9:18)

• 1970s Sex Education Film (5:26)

• My Dinner with Stormy: (2:08)

• Judd Apatow: Video Diaries of 10 days of shooting. (20:46)

• Raw Footage: uncut & unedited (19:23)

• Reel Comedy Round Table (21:08)

• Cinemax Final Cut: an uncensored interview with the cast. (12:44)

• Auditions (7:33)

• Gag Reel

• Waxing Documentary of Steve's chest.

• More . . .



Overview of the Ultimate Unrated Comedy Collection:
On September 30, Universal will release their "Ultimate Unrated Comedy Collection" (where "ultimate" modifies unrated, not comedy), comprising the raunchy work of Judd Aptow and friends: The 40 Year Old Virgin (2005), Knocked Up (2007), and Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008).

We might as well get this "Unrated" stuff out of the way first. You probably already know this but just to make sure: "Unrated" means just that: the film in this form has never been rated. What it does not mean is that you will see more of the luscious Miss Heigl in compromising or lascivious positions – with or without clothes, or anyone else of significance – unless Jason Segel's thing happens to be your thing. After all, these movies were only R-rated to start with - "for pervasive sexual content" among other things. (By the way, have you wondered what kind of nudity isn't graphic or how the unmodified term "language" is grounds for a rating of any kind?) With an eye to home video, more "R" material was shot, but you are likely to be disappointed if you expect titillation to be consummated.



The by now familiar faces of actors Paul Rudd, Seth Rogen and Jason Segel show up in two or more of these features as misguided nerds, dopeheads, narcissists and generally all-around losers. There are varying degrees of raunchiness and nudity – but the surprise of it all is that none of it is mean-spirited, and both sexes receive their share of demeaning stereotypes. The men are made much more the butt of raunchy humor of than the women, while the women seem to exist for the men to examine their existential problems. I think this is supposed to be funny, but for me – perhaps it's just my age – I simply find it trendy. I think my general objection is that once I am exposed to relatively uncharted images like a man pissing in his face because he can't get his erection to behave, I find no charm in revisiting them.

In the interests of full disclosure I must admit my default lack of interest in movies of this sort, so I was surprised that I not only was able to sit though them, but also found it easy to discriminate one from the other. I even found myself smiling now and then sometimes in recognition, sometimes at the outrageousness of it all, particularly evident in Knocked Up. But just because there exists in these movies a patina of sensitivity to real adult situations, doesn't in my view make them good movies. Forgetting Sarah Marshall is, I felt, the least guilty in this regard, partly because its writer and star, Jason Segel, doesn't attempt to examine the maturing process, or the lack of it, in such sweeping terms as Judd Aptow does in the other two movies.

What makes me want to watch even the loudest or silliest comedy over and over (think: Fawlty Towers, here) is that the audience learns the lesson, even if the character doesn't. Or, as in Valley Girl or The Sure Thing, the journey to change or acceptance is unclear. This was one of the things I admired about Mad About You: resolution came not from insight, but perspective. The same could be said for Some Like it Hot. In raunchy comedy, even these relatively good ones, I don't believe enough in the characters' journey. Perhaps it's because there are so many distractions – the very things that make them special, I imagine – that get in the way of my caring as much about them as I'd like.

The Movie: 6
Points for a catchy title that delivers on its promise. The title character is one Andy Stitzer, who works in the service department at the local hi-fi/home theatre store. Clearly it's not just women he's uncomfortable with, making the smallest talk possible with his coworkers – all self-described studs, whether or not they really are, is awkward for him, and for them. Andy lives alone (no, not with his mother) surrounded by collectable action figures, about which he knows everything. He is handy with tools and paint, applying his talent in the detail work needed for the finishing touches. He even plays the tuba.

But Andy's life is designed to keep him at a safe distance from women. He won't even help a female customer if he can avoid it, unless on the safe side of his service door. One evening his "buddies" at work (Romany Malco, Paul Rudd, and Seth Rogen) find themselves in need of another hand at poker and invite the reclusive Andy, who turns out to be a whiz at the game, but not so good at regaling the others with his sexual exploits. Once the cat is out of the bag, his friends set out to right this wrong with their ideas about how the game is played. Watching Carell try his best to appease his friends, even as he is shocked and repelled by the thought is most of the substance of the movie. When he meets Trish (Catherine Keener), an actual adult and a non-floosie if ever there was one, Andy begins to feel that the stakes are higher than any mere game. His friends, however, see things quite differently.

Andy's buddies, who are pretty good at self-deceit to begin with, give him a piece of good advice: better you save your efforts at a real relationship until you've practiced with ones that you can expect will go nowhere. In Andy's case, he should be learning to be less anxious, less fearful of being with women. The tactics these guys propose are the stuff of parody and Carell brings each of them off brilliantly. The truth is, however, they do not translate into "fundamentals of relationship" at any level. So Andy's buddies don't really know anything about relationships – a fact which is demonstrated in their own personal lives. It's a common failing of men that we want other men to fail in the same way we do. Probably related to what rams do to sort out who will get the girl.

I know I am out of the mainstream twice over in my general lack of regard for Steve Carell, whose characters, so far, never impress me as real persons. Of course, in a comedy, we expect a certain amount of caricature. But then how do we explain Catherine Keener, whose character, Trish, is a real person in this movie (though her daughter isn't)? My feeling is that the movie boils down to a series of vaudeville sketches, except that some of them involve a real person. Doesn't quite work for me.



Image: 6/8
The first number indicates a relative level of excellence compared to other Blu-ray video discs on a ten-point scale. The second number places this image along the full range of DVD and Blu-ray discs.

To my eye the image appears oversharpened with maybe some DNR as well. Contrast and color is good, tending toward the blue, which is probably intentional (blue=cool), but detail stands out instead of merely being clear.















Audio & Music: 7/7
Given the nature of the movie, the audio mix is largely front-loaded. The surrounds are engaged for the music and club scenes. The dialogue is clear enough, nicely balanced and properly located.


Operations: 9
The menu is laid out like other Universal Blu-rays I have seen so far – and they are all very cleverly laid out, indeed. I like the arrows that tell you which way to direct you remote, and the bonus feature instructions are detailed and intuitive. High marks here. The chapter menu includes buttons for U-Control in case you want to approach those functions from that point. And there is also a way to adjust the PIP volume in the set-up menu.




Extras: 7
As you can see from the listing, this Blu-ray edition has an astonishing number of bonus features of various lengths, all in standard definition. Much of what is available in the extras are incorporated into the U-Control feature, though in smaller PIP style. Most of the extras are pretty self-explanatory and of variable interest. My favorite was the 1970's sex-education film, which harkened back to Reefer Madness in its naiveté. The main audio commentary is a laugh track of its own. Worth a listen, even without the film running. Also, with a 2.0 player, you will be able to download stuff via BD-Live if that's your thing.



Bottom line: 7
This popular Apatow comedy is a great vehicle for Steve Carell, who doubles as co-writer. The image is halfway decent, if not unnaturally sharpened. Generous, entertaining extra features.

Leonard Norwitz
September 28, 2008




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