Judd Apatow’s directorial debut, The 40 Year-Old Virgin, was first released in US cinemas 10 years ago today, on 19th August 2005.
Starring and co-written by Steve Carell, the film follows the story of Andy – a shy middle-aged introvert who spends the majority of his days either working or pursuing one of his many hobbies. During an awkward poker match, his colleagues (played by Paul Rudd, Seth Rogen and Romany Malco) discover that Andy is a virgin, who after several failed attempts at popping his cherry, has simply given up trying. Feeling both bemused and concerned by this revelation, the guys attempt to help Andy end his reign of celibacy once and for all.
A lot of the spontaneous humour embedded into the film comes from the almost constant improvisation that happened on set. For instance, the famous “You know how I know you’re gay” scene was entirely improvised by Seth Rogen and Paul Rudd. The scene in which Andy has his chest hair removed was also impromptu, in the fact that Carell’s chest hair was actually ripped out in the scene. Before filming the one-shot scene, the actor told Apatow: “It has to be real. It won’t be as funny if it’s mocked up or if it’s special effect. You have to see that this is really happening.” The production also used over a million feet of film.
The film was a summer hit, opening at No.1 at the Box Office and grossing a mammoth $21,422,815 during it’s opening weekend alone. The movie would later go on to earn a worldwide revenue of $177,378,645.
The movie is also partly responsible for the longevity of beloved US sitcom, The Office. In early 2005, the first season – which saw Carell take on the role of Dunder Mifflin’s regional manager, Michael Scott – was met with mixed reviews and mediocre ratings. However, NBC renewed the series for a second season due to the anticipated success of this film.
Watch the trailer for The 40-Year-Old Virgin below.