The virgin of the title is Andy Stitzer (Steve Carell), who is indeed 40, works as an employee at an electronics store and collects vintage action figures, which are displayed all throughout his nice bachelor pad for all to see. He has a lovely home theater system and watches "Survivor" with his two kind elderly neighbors. He's a pretty picturesque definition of the Lonely Guy who needs to go out more and talk to more women.
Now here's the real novelty with this picture: it does the impossible task of actually dealing with its subject matter in a cute, mature fashion. This is a movie that could very easily have turned out a lot differently in the hands of a more transparent team of filmmakers. It could have descended into endless sex gags and jokes but thankfully this picture never stoops that low. Sure there are sex jokes here and there and even a few prods are aimed at the gay community (which are, in no way, meant to be taken as gay-bashing), as two of the characters exchange insults towards each other while playing a video game ("Mortal Kombat: Deception," no less - the ultimate testosterone-driven fightfest for guys).
As someone who is rapidly approaching 20, collects McFarlane Toys action figures AND has himself never done the deed, I found this film amusing and touching in a way that a similar-themed movie could never have been. I was able to relate to the character of Andy Stitzer more than anyone in the theater because I was the only teenager present at this showing; everyone else looked like they were all past 40. A bit arrogant, I know, but would you ("you" is italicized) still be able to relate if you were the only teen present at an afternoon screening of "The 40 Year-Old Virgin"?
Of course Andy has never had sex and wakes up everyday with "morning rise" (don't ask), and he's pressured by his buddies to try outlandish methods of gaining the attention of the opposite sex. When it's first discovered Andy is a virgin, at 40, his three buddies and fellow electronics store coworkers David (Paul Rudd), Jay (Romany Malco) and Cal (Seth Rogen) all at first assume he's gay because he's never been with a woman, which couldn't be any further from the truth. The truth is, Andy loves women, but past traumatic experiences (revealed hilariously one after the other in a flashback sequence) have put him on the sidelines for good.
David, Jay, and Cal each embark on a mission to get Andy laid, so help them all. But you know that such escapades will only end in disaster, as proved by one date with Nicky (Leslie Mann), who puts Andy through the worst drunk-driving experience I think anyone would not want to go through and he has a rather creepy encounter with Beth (Elizabeth Banks), the pretty girl who works in the bookstore and is eventually revealed to be a total sex fiend.
Things brighten up for Andy when he meets Trish (Catherine Keener), the friendly woman who works at a store across the street that sells stuff on eBay for people. Hmmm. And with that nice-looking collection of action figures, you can go figure that in the end a large financial payoff awaits him, that is if he can ever "do the deed."
At last, this is the sex romp we've been waiting for. It deals with a very real issue a lot of Lonely Guys probably go through, not that anything is wrong with being a virgin but let's look at the big picture: How many of us "Lonely Guys" want to be a lonely guy forever? The important thing we're taught in this picture is that Lonely Guy must be himself. I don't think he needs to go through body waxing like Andy does (which is side-splitting to be honest, and according to this website and various other news articles, was in fact real, and so was the blood on Carell's shirt afterward).
"The 40 Year-Old Virgin" was directed by Judd Apatow and co-written by himself and Carell, which originated as a skit that starred Carell. Carell is sweet and human, as his character is not some layabout who approaches this thing with his eyes shut. This is probably one of the most intelligent romps I've ever seen and is not offensive (a whole lot) because its characters are treated with dignity and respect. Even Carell's buddies, who pass off bad advice to cover up their own relationship insecurities, can be related to on a fundamental level.
The way "The 40 Year-Old Virgin" plays out is indeed funny in the end, but I'll leave that up to you, the viewer, to observe. Surely, if anyone can go through the things Andy does and still have the strength to attract a woman as sexy as Catherine Keener, then it's true: It is never too late!