I am no expert on comedy or laughing, and you know that. But not too long ago I reviewed a movie called “THE WEDDING CRASHERS” which I said was lazy formulaic forgettable throwaway crap that will be forgotten forever about 20 minutes after the last time they advertise the dvd on tv. The movie is already considered a smash hit but I still stand by my evaluation. If you want to see Owen Wilson lie to a girl to get laid and then really fall in love and go riding bikes onbeaches and saying cutesey shit and then having his secret discovered and being hated but then proving himself by going and making a long humiliating speech about how much he really loves her and that other horse shit, please, by all means, go watch it. You’ve never seen anything like it, unless you have a TV or grew up in a country where there are TVs.
I wanted to say a few words about STEVE CARRELL IS… THE 40 YEAR OLD VIRGIN though because in my opinion this is a movie that could be a good influence on WEDDING CRASHERS and teach it how to grow up and become a man and contribute to society.
This movie is about people who work at a The Good Guys type electronics store. They are short one guy for their poker game so they decide to invite Andy, a nerdy guy from the stock room. During the game they are exchanging sex stories and Andy’s story is so out of touch that it immediately becomes clear that he is a virgin. So the other 3 guys make it their mission in life to help this poor bastard stick his dick in something.
Of course, there’s alot about what a nerd this guy is (he collects action figure dolls, plays video games, wears bad clothes, is apparently familiar with Baby Geniuses) but the surprise is they make him a credible, likable person. His humiliating secret becomes a symbol for whatever shame we have suffered in our life. Like maybe you had a job where you were the only one who had a record. Or maybe you accidentally let it slip that you have seen the first couple seasons of Felicity. Who knows it could be anything. The sweet thing is that his co-workers are not just laughing at him, they really want to help him. “For now on, your dick is my dick,” is how Romany Malco (who was in TICKER with Seagal and played MC Hammer in a tv movie) puts it.
People will hold it up to ANCHORMAN because Carell was in that one. ANCHORMAN made me laugh but I liked this one alot better. ANCHORMAN had a sort of sketch comedy type of randomness (suddenly they get in a huge battle to the death with other news anchors) that alot of people liked but I thought kind of wore thin at some point. This one has a different type of randomness more like real life, where the characters can go off on tangental conversations like real people do, but they don’t ever start doing parodies of action movies and don’t start singing until the end credits. If I had to compare this to another movie it would probaly be OFFICE SPACE, because both are sort of broad and cartoony but are observant enough to hit on all kinds of fresh, non-movie kind of moments that you recognize from life. And both have great casts of lesser or unknown actors who do a better job than the marquee names. They even managed to make a movie with no cameos by Will Ferrell, Ben Stiller, any of the Wilsons or Jack Black, even though the filmatists are friends with all those guys.
And everything I hated about WEDDING CRASHERS is not represented in this movie. There are no serious love montages. No relationship problems caused by stupid misunderstandings or unneccessary lies. In fact, there’s a part where the love interest, Catherine Keener, gets mad because she finds a huge box of porn in The 40 Year Old Virgin’s apartment. He says it’s his friend Dave’s. And he’s actually telling the truth. And she doesn’t believe him, so he lets it go.
He does not make a speech to prove to her that it is Dave’s porn! He just drops it. You hear that, Owen Wilson?
It’s only at the end that you start to notice the formula underneath the story, and by that time it goes by so fast it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t fuck around with alot of “serious” moments. It’s 99% laughs and by the time there is a straightfaced cutesey moment (just one line near the end) it feels more sincere than anything in your standard roman-comed (short for romantic comedy). It’s earned.
a couple other things worth mentioning:
- There are pop culture references but instead of referencing things that are popular or obscure in a hip way they are to bad or forgettable movies along the lines of WEDDING CRASHERS. One of my favorite parts was when Seth Rogen said he wanted Andy to “be like David Caruso in JADE” and Andy said “I know exactly what you’re talking about.” It takes place in the real world where alot of people watch bad movies.
- I bet this will be a huge hit but it is not bland crossover shit to take your grandma to like WEDDING CRASHERS. It is closer to the “raunchy R-rated sex comedy” they were hyping that one up as. Although I could’ve used some bush. I should probaly erase that from this review but I will leave it in for now and come back and erase it later is my plan
I would like to see more like this. not a part 2 though please. The cherry has been busted (spoiler) I don’t think there’s much you can do after that
VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.