Worth the Wait

Columbus Alive | August 18, 2005
The feature directorial debut of writer and producer Judd Apatow (Freaks and Geeks) is remarkable for taking the hallmarks of trying to have sex for the first time—awkwardness, feelings of inadequacy, uncomfortable physical comedy—and drawing them out to movie length. Now that’s stamina. And it’s a testament to his comedic skills, plus the truism that it’s always easier to watch someone else suffer than to do it yourself, that people don’t run screaming from the theater.

Somehow, Andy (Steve Carell, who also co-wrote with Apatow and executive produced) has found himself living the film’s title, though not for lack of trying to lose his virginity as a younger man. Inviting him to play poker one night, David (Paul Rudd), Jay (Romany Malco) and Cal (Seth Rogan), his co-workers at a chain electronics store, discover Andy’s secret and set out to get him laid.

A sampler of screwed-up ideas about women—and sexuality in general, though the “you know how I know you’re gay” taunts seem more like a high school habit than homophobia—Andy’s friends prove that wisdom doesn’t come with gettin’ some. All their advice about going for the drunkest girl at a bar and hiding the clues to his PlayStation- and action figure-filled life fall flat, especially after Andy meets Trish (Catherine Keener), a single “hot grandma” who sells other people’s stuff on eBay.

The central workplace and the mostly clueless advice offered by co-workers recalls Office Space’s balance of the smart and the hilariously stupid, but with a lot more sex talk. The dialogue takes full advantage of the film’s R rating, and physical comedy runs from the truly gross (the inevitable result of finding the drunkest girl at a bar) to the painfully inspired (the film’s funniest scene, a completely authentic chest waxing session—that’s Carell’s real blood on his chest).

Most surprising, aside from an out-of-the-blue taste of musical theater, is the genuinely innocent and endearing spirit Carell brings to his part and to the film, which makes a strange case for saving yourself for true love, no matter how much grief you take. At times, the discomfort and awkwardness of his situation wins out over humor, but not often.

Columbus Alive

Founded in 1983, Alive is the Capital City's oldest and only independent alternative and is known for providing a forum for the area's free thinkers. The paper's spirited and original perspective on music, arts and culture distinguish it from the...
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