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Film / The 40-Year-Old Virgin

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"Is it true that if you don't use it, you lose it?"
Andy Stitzer

The 40-Year-Old Virgin is a 2005 comedy film starring Steve Carell in the title role, and the first film to put director Judd Apatow on the map (after television stints with Freaks and Geeks and Undeclared).

It is the story of Andy Stitzer (Carell), a 40-year-old man who, due to a series of unfortunate mishaps all throughout his youth, never experienced sexual intercourse during his formative years and has lost interest in his adulthood. One night, while playing cards with his friends from the electronics store where they all work, Andy inadvertently reveals that he's a virgin; this initially results in the expected chummy jeers, but shortly thereafter his friends Cal (Seth Rogen), Jay (Romany Malco), and David (Paul Rudd) decide to help him lose his virginity. Eventually, Andy meets a nice woman named Trish (Catherine Keener) with whom he shares a genuine emotional connection, and though he's nervous about telling her the truth about his virginity and the subject of sex in general, he must learn to overcome his insecurities to discover both sex and romance.


Since we all know that no true man is a virgin and that Loners Are Freaks, this movie surprised many by portraying the title character, a virginal and nerdy (he collects action figures and comics) introvert, not as some kind of loser or freak but as a likeable fellow who's simply chosen not to have sex after a short series of rejections in his youth. Since it dresses in the skin of a Sex Comedy, it's also refreshing to see the subject of sex summed up as "a nice thing to have, but meaningless without love," as seen in Andy's well-meaning but dim-witted friends, who all lead active sex lives but are probably less happy than Andy because their romantic relationships are unfulfilling.


The 40-Year-Old Virgin provides examples of the following tropes:

  • All There in the Manual: Andy's last name, Stitzer, is never mentioned in the film, but is in the trailers and other promotional materials.
  • AM/FM Characterization: Andy is a fan of Asia, as a way of showing that his musical tastes, along with most of his decour, hasn't evolved since The '80s.
  • Angrish: During the chest waxing scene, Andy quickly devolves from random screaming to swearing at the waxer to Gratuitous Spanish to even Kelly Clarkson.
  • As Herself: Adult film star Stormy Daniels has a cameo playing herself during a dream sequence.
  • The Blind Leading the Blind: Andy may not have much romantic experience, but his friends have their own host of problems (David's inability to get over his ex, Jay's infidelity, Cal's boorishness) that make them much more incompetent than he is even with his inexperience.
  • Butch Lesbian: Gina from the speed-dating party.
    Gina: Jy-na.
  • Cannot Spit It Out: Andy is afraid to tell Trish that he's a virgin. It takes him until near the end of the film to finally tell her.
  • Carpet of Virility: Andy has so much chest hair that it's practically a character in its own right.
  • Celebrity Resemblance: It's mentioned that Andy looks a lot like Luke Wilson.
  • Central Theme: The Power of Love. Sex is not to come before love. Sex is a nice thing every now and then but love is the most important thing.
  • Cold Turkeys Are Everywhere: The scene where Andy's running away from work because the guys were making fun of him.
  • Coming of Age Story: Of the delayed variety, as you can tell by the movie's title.
  • Cool Loser: Played with for Andy. On the one hand, he has many stereotypically "nerdy" and "child-like" interests and hobbies such as collecting action figures, reading comic books, and playing video games. On the other hand, he does not have an overtly nerdy manner of dress, does not wear glasses, has a fairly muscular physique from working out a lot (and from riding a bicycle everywhere in lieu of even having a driver's license) and is played by the handsome and manly-looking Steve Carell. Carrell even worked out extensively for the role and Apatow liked the idea, to reinforce that Andy's virginity is due to his shyness rather than his looks.
  • Cringe Comedy: Anybody remembering their first forays into romance will cringe at Andy's awkward attempts at flirting using his friends' advice
  • Dance Party Ending:
  • A Date with Rosie Palms: Averted; David wants to get Andy into it, but Andy just doesn't feel comfortable.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Andy, to a degree.
  • Did Not Think This Through: Hiring retail space only to sell all the inventory on eBay is a pretty confusing business model, which is commented on in-universe. Ironically, with wi-fi becoming more accessible since the movie came out, this might not be considered such a setback.
  • Dirty Old Monk: Downplayed. At the end when Andy and Trish get married, the priest conducting the services earnestly demands they "consummate their marriage" as soon as possible. He is later seen embracing one of the female dancers during the "Aquarius" sequence, but it cuts away before things get too passionate.
  • Drag Queen: "If she was a transvestite, she was the Mona Lisa of transvestites." Averted, though, in that she is betrayed by a quite deep voice.
    "I am Jay's party."
  • Drunk Driver: Nicky drives so inebriated that she would be dangerous driving a tricycle, much less a car, and it's implied this isn't the first time she's done so.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: Andy is melancholic (very friendly while also very lonely), David is phlegmatic (laid-back and easygoing but obsessive when it comes to his ex), Cal is sanguine (the most passionate when supporting Andy's romantic endeavors), and Jay is choleric (often rude and loudly so, but also supportive of Andy).
  • Gendered Insult: The salonist who chest waxes Andy calls him a "pussy" at one point during his session.
  • Good People Have Good Sex: The first time lasts 60 seconds. The second time lasts two hours...
  • Hidden Badass: Andy. His cycling means he's in good shape for a man his age, which comes in handy during the chase scene towards the end as well as carrying Trish up to their bridal suite which is implied to be up a long flight of stairs.
  • Hidden Depths: Due to playing it many nights online, Andy is really good at poker.
  • Holding Hands: "Hold my hand, man." "What?" "Hold my goddamn hand, man!"
  • Hollywood Dateless: Despite Andy having been an awkward virgin until his forties he finds himself on numerous dates with very attractive women in a short period of time.
    • To be fair up until the movie he never really tried to date after his formative years.
  • In-Universe Factoid Failure: Andy displays his complete lack of sexual experience when he mentions that breasts feel like bags of sand.
  • Jizzed in My Pants: The unrated version features a flashback montage of young Andy's hilariously unsuccessful attempts at losing his virginity. Shockingly, one of them involves Andy falling victim to this trope.
  • Kavorka Man: Cal, he even lampshades it: "Look at me! I'm ugly as fuck by traditional standards, but I know how to get with women!"
  • Lousy Lovers Are Losers: Seemingly played straight but then Averted in the ending. When Andy consummates his marriage with Trish and finally loses his virginity, it lasted 60 seconds. He's floored but she's clearly unsatisfied. But then she asks if wants to do it again and he does and the scene fades to a Sexy Discretion Shot, and this time it lasts two hours and they both look exhausted and satisfied in bed.
  • Love Hurts: As Andy and Trish's twenty-date deadline draws to a close he starts pushing her away out of fear of sex and disappointing her. She becomes completely heartbroken and tearfully begs him that she'll do anything to stay with him.
    • Also David, who is a consistent buzzkill to his friends because he's so obsessed with his ex.
  • Manchild: Downplayed with Andy, to a degree (at least insofar as his action figure collection is concerned). His friends, on the other hand, play this straight in every other aspect.
    • It's one of the few correlations between sex and worthiness at first, but it's later clear that his childish hobbies are a healthy outlet for the spare time he has that others would dedicate to being horndogs, and a sign of commitment and passion. When Trish tries to use some of his lifestyle choices as proof he's a Manchild, he defends himself pretty easily.
  • A Man Is Always Eager: Inverted. Andy passes up a handful of potential partners instead of taking up with the first one who offers. He doesn't even take the first opportunity to have sex with his girlfriend. It's because he places love and romance over sex and refuses to have the latter without the former first. Not everyone gets this at first, especially Trish, who thinks there must be something wrong with her because of Andy's reluctance to have sex.
  • Milholland Relationship Moment: Andy hides his virginity from Trish until the very end of the movie, where she's surprised but doesn't consider it an issue at all (especially since she had mistakenly assumed he was a deviant serial killer).
  • Misaimed Marketing: The tagline seen in the page pic is rather contrary to the film's actual, more empowering message. Possibly invoked, as the resulting surprise would have more impact on watchers.
  • Modesty Bedsheet: At the very end of the movie Andy and Trish are shown lying in bed covered by one of the L-shaped variety after consummating their marriage.
  • Nature Abhors a Virgin: Played with. While Andy initially tries to hide his virginity, he's not really bothered by the expectations to have sex or have sex be the central part of a relationship. His friends, however, go to great lengths to get him some action, though in the end Andy loses his virginity on his own terms.
  • Nerds Are Virgins: Played with significantly. While Andy's hobbies paint him as nerdy, it's been observed by some female reviewers that Andy should be the one with the active sex life, not in spite of his personal habits, but because of them. For instance, while his friends are observed to be whiny losers, Andy is a handsome man who prefers an "unmanly" bicycle to get around, but it helps keep him in great shape on top of his regular exercise regime, giving a handsome exterior complementing his winning interior.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: One would think looking at the trailer that the movie would be American Pie with STEVE CARELL! Turns out the actual message of the movie is nearly the opposite.
  • Nice Guy: Sweet mercy, Andy. As the story progresses and they find out just how great a person he is, the other characters become confused and even a little upset that someone like him is still alone.
  • Nipple and Dimed: Averted... by the scene at the quick-dating-place. Yup, you guessed it — Wardrobe Malfunction. And something else, too.
  • Of Course I'm Not a Virgin: At the poker game, the guys start sharing their wildest sex stories, when they ask Andy about his, he starts telling a story about a woman whose breast felt like a "bag full of sand." The guys deduce Andy has no idea what he's talking about, and start making fun of him for being a virgin, despite him loudly denying it.
  • Older than They Look: It's remarked upon a few times that Andy looks quite youthful. Taken to the utmost limit when David - played by the equally youthful-looking Paul Rudd - states that Andy looks younger than he does.
  • Pac Man Fever: Utterly savage example: Cal and David play a PlayStation 2 game with Nintendo 64 controllers (one of which is upside-down). At least what they're playing is portrayed correctly, if anything. Until the fatality, which the movie seems to think is interactive. (It isn't.) While the N64 controller is inexcusable, the "upside-down" controller is actually the joystick attached to the game chair Andy has. Made extra-confusing by the fact that Mortal Kombat 4 did appear on the N64, but they chose to use footage from one of the PS2 Mortal Kombat games instead.
  • Painful Body Waxing: The chest waxing scene, which makes Andy bleed through his shirt. Enforced Method Acting, too.
  • Performance Anxiety: A good part of the reason why Andy is still a virgin is that the fact that he hadn't lost his virginity in his younger years caused him to feel more pressure to have sex, which made him more anxious when he tried dating women and only caused him to turn them off.
  • Porn Stash: David's gift to Andy, in an ill-conceived and unsuccessful attempt to make him comfortable about sex.
    "Hey buddy. Got a big box of porn for ya."
    • This inevitably ends up as one of the cruelest Brick Jokes ever.
  • Raging Stiffie: Andy has this a couple of times to the point where he has a hard time, uh, pointing himself towards the toilet.
  • Rousseau Was Right: Several movie critics have remarked on how the humor doesn't involve teasing or pranks, but the honest, if misguided, attempts of Andy's friends to help.
  • Sex as Rite-of-Passage: Played with. Andy and Trish consummating their love is part of his development, but more as a sign of him opening himself up to mature intimacy than becoming an "adult" as he's much more mature and developed than his sexually active, but boorish and childish friends.
  • Sex Comedy: Four guys try to get their friend laid. Unlike the usual raunchy fare, however, the movie is much more warm and sympathetic towards Andy.
  • Sex God: Andy finally breaks his duck with an as-expected three-thrust wonder. The action then cuts to some time later after his second performance and it's clear he's astonished his more experienced new wife with "natural talent".
  • Shout-Out: Verging on Company Cross References — Andy has in his room a poster for Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie, and a giant poster/sticker of Thunderbird 5 over his bed, specifically the 2004 film version — both of those films and this one were produced or distributed by Universal.
  • Speed Dating: Andy's friends push him into speed dating to get him into meeting women, though it's a pretty much a bust for everybody but Jay.
  • Stalker with a Crush: David went a little overboard in regards to Amy.
  • Straight Man: The title character: much of the film's humor stems from Andy's deadpan reactions to his friends' whacky attempts to get him laid.
  • Sudden Musical Ending: With zero buildup, the ending segues from Andy and Trish in bed to a glorious, uplifting song and dance montage.
  • That's Gotta Hurt: During the chase scene, Steve Carell ends up going through a billboard car.
    Trish: Oh my god! Andy! Are you okay?!
    Andy: There were two sides to that billboard, and they both hurt equally!
  • Their First Time: Trish and Andy in the end. Their first time lasts, appropriately, all of 60 seconds. The second time, on the other hand...
  • This Is Gonna Suck: When Andy wakes up the morning after the poker night and realizing he needs to face his coworkers.
  • Time Passes Montage: counting down the 20 dates.
  • True Companions: As misguided as they are, Andy's friends are definitely this.
  • Two Gamers on a Couch: Could this be the first film version of the Two Gamers on a Couch Webcomic trope?
  • Unsettling Gender-Reveal: The transvestite prostitute that Jay orders for Andy causes this for both Jay and Andy. While Andy gets over it quickly and the two just settle down to watch TV together, Jay had previously gotten oral sex and keeps trying to pretend that he was actually a woman.
  • Ur-Example: While not the first movie ever to be entirely improvised, it was the first to expand the concept of a "line-o-rama" reel (i.e., film lots of improvs and then cut all the best parts together) from more than just B-Roll of actors goofing around while filming a feature to being the feature.
  • Virginity Makes You Stupid: Averted and played straight, along with driving the entire plot.
  • Virgin-Shaming: This movie takes this trope apart at the seams and sews it back up in a cultural-commentary sort of way.
  • Volleying Insults: "You know how I know you're gay?"
  • You Need to Get Laid: Not only is this the driving plot of the movie, pretty much everybody says this to Andy after learning he's a virgin. Andy himself isn't as bothered.
  • Wardrobe Malfunction: During Andy's speed-dating montage, one of his dates has her nipple peek out of her shirt. She remains completely unaware of it and oblivious to Andy's resultant discomfort and repeated subtle hints to cover herself.
  • What Have We Ear?: How Andy attempts to impress Trish's youngest daughter.
  • What It Says On The Tin: Trish's store is called "We Sell Your Stuff on eBay".

Alternative Title(s): The 40 Year Old Virgin