Tuesday, September 06, 2011

The First 15 Minutes Project #2: The 40 Year Old Virgin

It’s no surprise, since I derived a lot of my criteria for what makes a good movie from Silence of the Lambs, that Clarice Starling was pretty much the ultimate example of my definition of a good hero. But now let’s try some other genres and some other heroes who are less sterling than Starling. Today, we’ll tackle…

Andy in The 40 Year Old Virgin

  1. Andy lies in bed, bored, waiting for morning alarm to ring. His house is filled with sci-fi posters and action figures. The alarm finally goes off.
  2. He tries to take a leak, but he’s hampered by a seemingly permanent erection. Credits roll.
  3. He works out while looking at a picture of Doug Henning.
  4. As he leaves his apartment with his bike, the retired black couple on their porch upstairs teases that he should get a car. Andy teases them back. They agree to watch Survivor together on Thursday. After Andy pedals away, the retired husband turns to his wife and says, “That guy needs to get laid.” Wife chuckles and says, “Tell me something I don’t know!”
  5. As Andy enters his Circuit City type workplace, a blonde hottie asks him a question but he awkwardly points out that he’s says he’s not a salesman. Jay (Romany Malco) takes the sale.
  6. Andy takes up his postion at the help desk. Cal (Seth Rogen) comes in, apologizes for running late, says he had a crazy weekend, saw a show in Tiajuana where a woman had sex with a horse, asks about Andy’s weekend. Andy tells a story about spending the weekend making an egg salad sandwich (and he calls the ingredients “the accoutrement”). After Andy turns away, Cal is aghast as how boring Andy is.
  7. The other employees bicker amongst themselves about various things.
  8. Cal, David and Jay debate asking Andy to their poker game. Cal fears Andy’s a serial killer, but he’s overruled.
  9. They ask him to play poker that night in the back of the store. Andy asks if that’s allowed, then says flatly that he’ll turn them in. They believe him, but he’s kidding. They relax. After he leaves, they say that they almost feel guilty about taking this rube’s money...
  10. But Andy plays a lot of online poker and cleans up at the poker game. The get comfortable with him and lapse into “guy talk” and sex stories. Jay is cheating on his girlfriend, Cal is having one night stands, David tries to tell a romantic story about making love to his ex, but they all shout him down, pointing out that that was two years ago. Andy awkwardly says “no ass is worth thinking that much about, I always say,” which stops the conversation dead…
  11. Jay asks Andy for a real nasty sex story. Andy fakes it: “she’d say, ‘Ah, you’re nailing me! Man!’” They get suspicious and ask for a description of her breasts. Andy says that a woman’s breast feels like a bag of sand. They quickly figure out that he’s a virgin. They all want to get him laid.
  12. Distraught, Andy bicycles home angry, hearing their laughter.
  13. Andy wakes up in the morning, not having slept, fearing what will happen at work. He says to himself, “This is gonna be bad…”
  14. He arrives and sure enough everybody at work wants to talk to him about it, until the boss finally comes out and announces, “Let the virgin get back to work!”
  15. Andy flees. David chases him down and corners him. Andy feels that he has to quit his job now. David says don’t. Carrell says he doesn’t want to go out with them: “I respect women. I love women. I respect them so much that I completely stay away from them! I have a very fulfilling life…”
  16. Quick montage of Andy’s life: He plays tuba alone in apartment, he paints figurines, he plays a skateboard video game, he sings karaoke alone, he chuckles over a comic book...
  17. David convinces Andy to come to a coffee shop and talk it over…
  18. In the coffee shop, David asks how this could have not happened. Andy explains that he’s just gotten more and more nervous over the years. David tells him 40 is the new 20. Andy agrees to let them take him out...
This guy doesn’t do everything I say a hero should do (he doesn’t want anything much at the beginning of the movie, for instance) but he’s still very sympathetic. Meanwhile, are you starting to see some bizarre trends emerging? I sure am. Let’s rack up some more data tomorrow…


j.s. said...

One of the things I like so much about this film is it takes the romcom cliche of an uptight guy and literalizes it to the extreme. Unlike Cary Grant in BRINGING UP BABY Andy doesn't just need some manic pixie dream girl to loosen him up. He needs to get laid, period.

There's an ingenious simplicity to it. A story that wouldn't be at all interesting if he's a teenager (and of course in those movies, the heroes are always actively trying to get laid), becomes fascinating because he's middle aged -- a demographic that's usually supposed to be box office poison.

As for bizarre trends, I suppose that Hollywood shorthand for white protagonist likeability is having black friends.

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