The 40-Year-Old Virgin

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The 40-Year-Old Virgin
Theatrical release poster
Directed byJudd Apatow
Produced by
Written by
Music byLyle Workman
CinematographyJack Green
Edited byBrent White
Distributed byUniversal Pictures
Release date
  • August 19, 2005 (2005-08-19) (United States)
Running time
116 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$26 million
Box office$177.4 million

The 40-Year-Old Virgin is a 2005 American romantic comedy film directed by Judd Apatow in his directorial debut.[1] The film stars Steve Carell (who co-wrote the film's screenplay with Apatow) as the titular 40-year-old virgin Andy, a clerk at an electronic store, with Romany Malco, Seth Rogen, and Paul Rudd playing colleagues who resolve to help him lose his virginity. Catherine Keener also stars as Andy's love interest. Filming took place in San Fernando Valley, California from January to April of 2005. The 40-Year-Old Virgin was released theatrically in North America on August 19, 2005 through Universal Pictures. It received positive reviews from critics and grossed over $177 million worldwide on a $26 million budget.


40-year-old Andy Stitzer is an employee of electronics store Smart Tech who lives alone in an apartment with a collection of action figures and video games. When a conversation at a poker game with his co-workers David, Cal, and Jay turns to past sexual exploits, they learn that he is still a virgin and resolve to help him lose his virginity. Andy's co-workers give him various—often contradictory—pieces of advice on his appearance and how to interact with women. Jay drags Andy to various social events, books a painful waxing appointment, and sets him up with a transvestite prostitute, which all end with embarrassing results. Cal advises Andy to simply be confident and "ask questions". He practices this on a bookstore clerk named Beth, who quickly becomes intrigued by him. David gives Andy his porn collection, encouraging him to masturbate.

Andy eventually lands a date with Trish Piedmont, a woman he meets on the sales floor. At the end of their first date, they almost have sex but are interrupted by Trish's teenage daughter Marla. Trish suggests that they postpone having sex, and Andy enthusiastically agrees; they agree to abstain for twenty dates. Andy and Trish's relationship flourishes over the following weeks. Trish encourages Andy's dream of starting a business, suggesting they fund it by selling his collectibles. After Marla argues with Trish over wanting birth control, Andy takes her to a group information session at a sexual health clinic, where she is mocked for being a virgin. Andy admits his own virginity to defend her, earning him Marla's respect.

Meanwhile, David suffers an emotional breakdown at work over his obsession with his ex-girlfriend, Amy, and takes a vow of celibacy. Concerned for David, Cal hires a woman named Bernadette to work at the store hoping to match her with him. Jay's girlfriend breaks up with him due to his infidelity, and after getting in a fight with a customer, Jay concedes to Andy that sex can ruin a relationship. Jay and his girlfriend eventually reconcile, and he invites Andy and the others to a nightclub to celebrate his girlfriend's pregnancy.

On Trish and Andy's twentieth date, Trish tries to initiate sex, but Andy resists, which upsets her. The two argue, and Andy leaves to meet his friends at a nightclub. He gets drunk and leaves with Beth to have sex at her apartment. Cal gets David and Bernadette to hook up, while Marla convinces Trish to make up with Andy. At Beth's, Andy sobers up and decides to leave without having sex just as his friends arrive and encourage him to go back to Trish.

Andy returns to his apartment to find Trish waiting for him. She has found David's porn collection; Andy tries to explain, but she flees in alarm and disgust, fearing Andy may be a sexual deviant. While pursuing Trish on his bike, Andy collides with her car and flies through the side of a billboard truck. Trish rushes to his side, and Andy finally confesses that he is a virgin. Trish is relieved and accepting, and the couple profess their love for each another.

Andy and Trish eventually marry in a lavish ceremony with everyone in attendance, with a sidelong mention that Andy's action figures sold for over half a million dollars. They then have sex for the first time. The film ends with a musical sequence where all the characters sing and dance to "Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In".


Credits adapted from TV Guide.[2]


The film is based on a sketch Carell created while performing with the improv comedy troupe Second City. Carell did many versions of the sketch, trying out different scenarios where the 40-year-old man is hiding a "big secret."[3][4] Apatow had difficulty coming up with the ending for the film. Garry Shandling suggested it was important to show that Andy was having better sex because he was in love, and instead of directly showing the sex they decided to have Andy sing and have a musical number.[5][6] Apatow started casting the film early in the development process and having no preconceptions about the friends and workers in the store was able to tailor the script to the strengths of the actors.[7] Catherine Keener was the first choice for the female lead.[7][8] Lots of dialogue in the film was improvised.[9] Keener stated in 2010 that Apatow "never really would even say cut" and instead would say "reload" when burning through film due to the improvisation, calling the experience "hysterically funny". She also mentioned "you had to kind of lose sense of being self-conscious on that movie because it was sort of an all-in in terms of throwing a joke out or even the writer would sit behind the monitors behind the curtain".[10]

Filming for The 40-Year-Old Virgin started on January 17, 2005, and wrapped on April 1, 2005. It was shot in parts of San Fernando Valley, California, such as Ventura Boulevard.[11] Production on the film was halted by Universal Pictures after the first week, due to concerns that the physical appearance of Carell's character resembled that of a serial killer, and that the early footage was not funny.[12] Paul Rudd was criticized for being overweight and the studio was unhappy with how Apatow was "lighting [the film] like an indie".[13][14] Universal had also refused to allow Apatow to cast Jason Segel in the film.[15]

The chest waxing scene was done for real in one take, with five cameras set up to capture the moment. Carrell insisted on having an actaul wax, telling Apatow "It won't be as funny if it's mocked up or if it's special effect. You have to see that this is really happening."[16] According to Miki Mia, it took three or four hours to shoot this, and she requested for some of the chest hair to be trimmed in advance in order to reduce his pain. Mia noted that only "a tiny bit" was removed "so that it'll look great on camera". The chest was never fully waxed for its recordings, and he shaved off all the hair after three weeks.[17] The production used over a million feet of film, a milestone reached on the last day of filming and recognized with free champagne by Technicolor.[18][19]

The American Humane Association withheld its "no animals were harmed..." disclaimer due to the accidental deaths of several tropical fish used in the film.[20][21]


On August 19, 2005, The 40-Year-Old Virgin premiered in theaters within the United States. The film opened at No. 1 at the North American box office, grossing $21,422,815 during the opening weekend, and stayed at No. 1 the following weekend. It grossed a total of $109,449,237 in this market, and $67,929,408 internationally, for a total of $177,378,645 against a budget of $26 million. The film was 25th in global gross, and 19th in the United States that year. It was released in the United Kingdom on September 2, 2005,[22] and topped the nation's box office that weekend.[23] A 2008 Blu-ray release of the film features an additional 17 minutes under the banner "unrated".[24] For the 100th Anniversary of Universal Pictures, its theatrical edition was released on Blu-ray on January 10, 2012. This version also had a similar banner of "unrated".[25]


Critical response[edit]

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 85% based on 189 reviews, with an average rating of 7.20/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Steve Carell's first star turn scores big with a tender treatment of its titular underdog, using raunchy but realistically funny comedy to connect with adult audiences."[26] Rotten Tomatoes declared it the "Best Reviewed Comedy of 2005."[27] On Metacritic, the film has a score of 73 out of 100 based on 35 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[28] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A–" on an A+ to F scale.[29]

Ebert and Roeper gave the film a "two thumbs up" rating. Roger Ebert said, "I was surprised by how funny, how sweet, and how wise the movie really is" and "the more you think about it, the better The 40-Year-Old Virgin gets."[30][31] The pair gave minor criticisms, with Ebert describing "the way she (Catherine Keener as 'Trish') empathizes with Andy" as "almost too sweet to be funny" and Richard Roeper saying that the film was too long, and at times extremely frustrating.[30] Roeper later chose the film as the tenth best of 2005.[32] Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly gave the movie an A-, saying that Carell "plays him [Andy] in the funniest and most surprising way possible: as a credible human being."[33] Manohla Dargis of The New York Times called the film a "charmingly bent comedy," noting that Carell conveys a "sheer likability" and a "range as an actor" that was "crucial to making this film work as well as it does."[34] Emanuel Levy gave the film a B+ grade calling it "Raunchier and funnier than Wedding Crashers, this is an R-rated comedy that despite crude surface and foul lingo has a generous heart and a sweet, almost naive center."[35]

Brian Lowry of Variety wrote: "Crude, sophomorically homophobic but frequently funny, pic also overstays its welcome a bit and indulges in some juvenile excesses. All told, though, The 40 Year Old Virgin delivers enough belly laughs."[36] Lou Lumenick of the New York Post gave the film 2 out of 4 stars, and called it "A calculating crowd-pleaser aimed squarely at the under-25 crowd, who can feel free to add a star or two to my rating."[37] Ann Hornaday of The Washington Post is critical of the film but praised Carell for his performance: "the most surprising thing about 'The 40-Year-Old Virgin' may be that despite the flagrantly exploitative and gratuitous efforts of his friends, Andy remains steadfastly chaste and genuinely humane. [...] Carell has succeeded in creating a character of old-fashioned decency in a movie that otherwise flouts it at every turn."[38] A 2018 article from Detroit Free Press contributor Julie Hinds noted that The 40-Year-Old Virgin was "Michigan's favorite romantic comedy", and called that ranking "a fine choice" when "Carell's character has a heart of gold" and "eventually lands in a solid, committed relationship".[39]

The film was criticized by Harry Forbes of Catholic News Service for promoting "the false premise that there's something intrinsically wrong with an unmarried man being sexually inexperienced,"[40] and by political columnist Cal Thomas for being an example of societal decline in regards to "self-control or what was once known as purity."[41]


In December 2005, the film was chosen by the American Film Institute as one of the ten best movies of the year, the only comedy film to be so recognized (though the comedy-drama The Squid and the Whale was also chosen). The film was also ranked No. 30 on Bravo's 100 Funniest Movies.

Association Award Recipient Result
American Film Institute Awards Movie of the Year Won
ASCAP Film and Television Music Awards Top Box Office Films Lyle Workman Won
Award Circuit Community Awards Best Original Screenplay Judd Apatow
Steve Carell
Boston Society of Film Critics Awards Best Supporting Actress Catherine Keener Won
Critics Choice Awards Best Comedy Movie Won
Gold Derby Awards Best Original Screenplay Judd Apatow
Steve Carell
Golden Schmoes Awards Best Comedy of the Year Won
Best Surprise of the Year Won
Best Breakthrough Performance of the Year Steve Carell Won
Best Line of the Year ("You know how I know you're gay?") Won
Best Screenplay of the Year Judd Apatow
Steve Carell
Favorite Movie Poster of the Year Nominated
Most Memorable Scene in a Movie (Chest waxing scene) Nominated
International Online Cinema Awards Best Original Screenplay Judd Apatow
Steve Carell
Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards Best Supporting Actress Catherine Keener Won
MTV Movie Awards Best Movie Nominated
Best Breakthrough Performance Romany Malco Nominated
Best Male Performance Steve Carell Nominated
Best Comedic Performance Won
Best On-Screen Team Steve Carell
Paul Rudd
Seth Rogen
Romany Malco
National Society of Film Critics Awards Best Supporting Actress Catherine Keener Nominated
New York Film Critics Circle Awards Best Supporting Actress Nominated
Online Film & Television Association Awards Best First Feature Judd Apatow Nominated
Best Breakthrough Performance - Male Steve Carell Nominated
Best Original Screenplay Judd Apatow
Steve Carell
Online Film Critics Society Awards Best Breakthrough Filmmaker Judd Apatow Nominated
St. Louis Film Critics Association Awards Best Animated, Musical, or Comedy Film Nominated
The Stinkers Bad Movie Awards Most Overrated Film Nominated
Writers Guild Awards Best Original Screenplay Judd Apatow
Steve Carell

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Judd Apatow." Bio. A&E Television Networks, 2015. Web. 15 Aug. 2015.
  2. ^ "The 40 Year-Old Virgin - Full Cast & Crew". TV Guide. Retrieved March 29, 2020.
  3. ^ "The 40-Year Old Virgin Production Notes". 2005 Movie Releases. Universal Pictures.
  4. ^ Pincus-Roth, Zachary (2 February 2006). "Judd Apatow and Steve Carell, 'The 40-Year-Old Virgin'". Variety.
  5. ^ Rodrick, Stephen (27 May 2007). "Judd Apatow - Motion Pictures - Knocked Up - 40-Year-Old Virgin". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 13 June 2017. You have to make us understand that Andy's sex is better than everybody else's sex in the movie — because he's in love.
  6. ^ Eric Eisenberg (17 April 2015). "The 40-Year-Old Virgin Ending: Judd Apatow Tells Us Why He Went Out On A Musical Note". Cinemablend.
  7. ^ a b Evan Jacobs (13 December 2005). "MovieWeb Gets Personal With 'The 40 Year Old Virgin' Director Judd Apatow". Movieweb. I think that there's no way that you could have a sequel. I think the deed has been done.
  8. ^ "Judd Apatow, Seth Rogen and Romany Malco Talk 'The 40 Year Old Virgin'". Movieweb. 18 August 2005.
  9. ^ "The 40-Year-Old Virgin Movie Script". Project Casting. April 3, 2013. Retrieved April 11, 2021.
  10. ^ Block, Melissa (April 30, 2010). "Indie Favorite Catherine Keener On 'Please Give'". NPR. Retrieved April 11, 2021.
  11. ^ "The 40 Year Old Virgin". American Film Institute. Retrieved March 25, 2021.
  12. ^ Steve Carell: Universal Pulled The Plug On “The 40-Year-Old Virgin”. CONAN on TBS. 12 January 2016 – via YouTube.
  13. ^ Lynch, John (Jun 19, 2015). "'The 40-Year-Old Virgin' was shut down 2 days into production for a ridiculous reason". Business Insider.
  14. ^ Rodrick, Stephen (27 May 2007). "Judd Apatow - Motion Pictures - Knocked Up - 40-Year-Old Virgin". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 2017-06-13. Instead, he incorporated the first note into the film by having Andy's friends riff on his resemblance to a serial killer.
  15. ^ Itzkoff, Dave (13 April 2008). "Jason Segel of 'Forgetting Sarah Marshall' Is a Young Actor With Nothing to Hide". The New York Times. Mr. Apatow also sought Mr. Segel for a supporting role in "The 40-Year-Old Virgin" as a friend of the title character, portrayed by Steve Carell, but was refused by Universal Pictures.
  16. ^ Rebecca Murray (18 December 2005). "40 Year Old Virgin - Steve Carell Interview on 40 Year Old Virgin Movie". Archived from the original on December 18, 2005.
  17. ^ Evan Jacobs (13 December 2005). "MovieWeb Gets Waxed by 'The 40 Year Old Virgin's' Miki Mia [Exclusive]". Movieweb.
  18. ^ Jeff Otto (16 August 2005). "Interview: Steve Carell and Paul Rudd". IGN. Archived from the original on 2012-04-11.
  19. ^ "Steve Carell has become 'The 40 Year Old Virgin'!". Movieweb. 15 August 2005. We had a million feet of film. This is a true thing, I never realized this. If you shoot a million feet of film the film company will buy champagne for the cast and crew. (laughter) They do.
  20. ^ "The 40-Year-Old Virgin-Rating:Monitored, unacceptable". American Humane Association.
  21. ^ Roger Cormier (19 August 2015). "17 Things You Might Not Know About The 40-Year-Old Virgin". Mental Floss.
  22. ^ "The 40-Year-Old Virgin (2005)". Box Office Mojo.
  23. ^ "Weekend box office 2nd September 2005 - 4th September 2005". 25th Frame. September 4, 2005. Retrieved February 9, 2017.
  24. ^ "The 40-Year-Old Virgin (Unrated) [Blu-ray]". Amazon. September 30, 2008. Retrieved March 19, 2014.
  25. ^ "The 40-Year-Old Virgin [DVD + Digital Copy] (Universal's 100th Anniversary)". Amazon. January 10, 2012. Retrieved April 11, 2021.
  26. ^ "The 40-Year-Old Virgin". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved March 27, 2021.
  27. ^ "Best Reviewed Comedy of 2005". Rotten Tomatoes. Archived from the original on 2006-07-20.
  28. ^ "The 40-Year-Old Virgin Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 2014-03-19.
  29. ^ "Cinemascore". CinemaScore. Archived from the original on 2018-12-20.
  30. ^ a b Review on Ebert & Roeper. Archived from the original (MP3) on 2006-01-06.
  31. ^ Ebert, Roger. "The 40-Year-Old Virgin movie review (2005)". Chicago Sun-Times.
  32. ^ "Ebert & Roeper, The Best of 2005". Archived from the original on 2006-01-14.
  33. ^ Owen Gleiberman (August 26, 2005). "40-Year-Old Virgin". Entertainment Weekly.
  34. ^ Manohla Dargis (August 19, 2005). "Losing His Innocence, Not a Minute Too Soon". The New York Times.
  35. ^ Emanuel Levy (August 12, 2005). "40-Year-Old Virgin: Apatow Funny, Raunchy Comedy, Starring Steve Carell".
  36. ^ Lowry, Brian (12 August 2005). "Film Review: 'The 40 Year Old Virgin'". Variety.
  37. ^ Lumenick, Lou (19 August 2005). "NOTHING TO CELIBATE". New York Post.
  38. ^ Hornaday, Ann (19 August 2005). "Despite Plenty Of Potential, 'Virgin' Just Doesn't Do It". The Washington Post.
  39. ^ Hinds, Julie (February 14, 2018). "Michigan's top romantic comedy is '40-Year-Old Virgin' and we're OK with that". Detroit Free Pres. Retrieved April 11, 2021.
  40. ^ "Catholic News Service". Archived from the original on 5 October 2009.
  41. ^ Cal Thomas (Aug 17, 2005). "When gas was cheap and people were valuable".

External links[edit]