ByNicholas Staniforth, writer at
Spewing film-related flim-flam and poppycock when necessary. Follow me @nickstaniforth
Nicholas Staniforth

2015 will be a year worth remembering for Judd Apatow. With his next film, Trainwreck (set for release this July) already receiving rave reviews, it’ll also mark the tenth anniversary of his big screen directorial debut of The 40-Year Old Virgin. Breaking onto the big screen from his beloved TV series, Freaks and Geeks, this side-splitting laugh fest about one man’s mission to give it up to one lucky girl was a platform for an array of talent that the comedy genre just couldn’t be without nowadays. Here’s what Apatow’s arrival did for us, and why we should be so thankful that he let Andy pop his cherry in the end.

1. It Gave The World Steve Carell

After throwing tridents at men on horseback and making a lot of loud noises in Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, it was taking the lead in The 40-Year Old Virgin that put Carell on the map and sealed his cinematic career for all the years to come. Having already gained some attention for taking the managers mantle of Michael Scott in The American Office, this was his first big lead in what would become one of his most popular films, that he co-wrote as well. We’d already got a taste of his bashful and bewildered nature, not to mention his improvised outrageous outbursts in Anchorman, but this proved audiences could not and would not get enough of him. He also had a crack at the Justice League long before Jason Momoa made the cut.

Now still as popular as ever, Carell has stepped out of his comedic comfort zone recently, gaining plenty of award nominations for his chilling appearance in Foxcatcher, where he played it unsettlingly serious for once. He’s going to continue to venture into more dramatic territory with Freeheld, which tells the true story of Laurel Hester, a police detective who fought to pass her pension onto her girlfriend, Stacie Andree, after she was diagnosed with a terminal illness. After he’s done with that he’ll be back with the laughs, working alongside Warner Bros. and the sorely missed Looney Tunes in the live-action film, Acme.

2. It Gave The World Paul Rudd...Again

It could be argued that Clueless, which was released ten years before The 40 Year-Old Virgin gave us Paul Rudd. Check back with his performance in this though, and it all becomes clear as to why he suddenly became a favorite funny man and a key member in Apatow’s entourage from then on. Having already been given a helping hand and a heavy dose of Sex Panther in Anchorman alongside Carell, Rudd also went onto appear in some of Apatow’s most popular productions including; Knocked Up, This Is 40, Forgetting Sarah Marshall and reprising his role of Brian Fantana in Anchorman 2. Just think, without this we may never have had our bass slapped, nor a worrying trip to Cirque De Soleil, or a dunderheaded surf instructor with a keen ear for accents.

Excluding his Apatow-related appearances, Rudd practically became the unofficial seventh friend and Phoebe’s fella, Mike Hannigan, in Friends. There, I said it. He also made recurring appearances in Reno 911 and most recently Parks and Recreation. All of these roles are almost insect-like though, in comparison to his next big endeavor as Scott Lang, a.k.a. Ant-Man, which will be arriving in cinemas this year.

3. It Sent Seth Rogen From The Small Screen To The Big

In the vast array of man-babies littered among what Premiere now deem as one of the funniest movies of all time, one particular funny figure has stuck it out in cinema both in front and behind the camera. Already working with Apatow in the critically-acclaimed Freaks and Geeks, Seth Rogen made a strong appearance as Cal, another advisor at Andy’s workplace who was keen to see his pal jump in the sack. Tattooed up to the eyeballs and wielding some impressive facial hair, Rogen was in fact, one of the youngest of the cast at the innocent, and herb-adoring age of 22. Like Rudd and Carell, Rogen became a prominent figure in Apatow’s cinematic entries, starring, and going on to write and direct as well. After taking the lead in Knocked Up, Rogen also wrote and co-starred in Superbad, following those up with the likes of Pineapple Express, and Funny People.

More recently Rogen caused a now immortalized stir by getting up the back of North Korea in The Interview, which he co-wrote as well. His next big scribbling sesh is adapting Garth Ennis’ revolting but revolutionary graphic novel Preacher for television on AMC, which is slowly gaining cast members. Honestly, for all that is holy Mr. Rogen, please don’t mess it up.

4. It Has The Best Advice On How To Talk To Women Ever

For the past ten years, Apatow’s insight into the adult life has shown some real gems, but none more so than the explanation of how to talk to women. What self-help books have sold for years is compressed into just under four minutes and executed by a man who previously had no hope whatsoever. Yet there we have it, a 40-year old virgin winning the attention of a full-blown nympho (Elizabeth Banks at her cheekiest). There really is hope for the rest of us.

5. It Gave Us Leslie Mann & Family

Unbeknownst to a lot of audience members at the time, one of Andy’s early conquests that led to a rough time on the road was none other than Apatow’s own wife, Leslie Mann. Now a familiar and very funny face (not in that sense, of course), Mann made a great turn (as well as a few drunk ones) as the girl from the bachelorette party who steers our hero down a very dark path before spewing all over him. Interestingly, the portion of the scene that saw her pass out mid-drive was suggested by the couples oldest daughter, Maude. Clearly the funny bone runs strong through the family.

After terrifying our hero to rethink giving up the good stuff, Mann went on to work with her husband and her daughters on various films, beginning with Rogen and Rudd in Knocked Up and then reprise the same role in This Is 40. Naturally, her angelic and womanly like ways were kept intact throughout.

6. It Has Apatow-Authorized Ad-libbing

Sometimes the best moments in some of Apatow’s films were when the cast were coming up with stuff on the spot, and one of its strongest examples was with Rogen and Rudd in The 40-Year Old Virgin. During what looks to be an intensely focused game of Mortal Kombat the two hurl an array of abuse at one another, all sparking from the starting line of "you know how I know you’re gay." Real mature.

It’s tedious and titter worthy in equal amount and displays a chemistry that would be reignited between the two again in Knocked Up. The joke continues to crop up for the rest of the film, but these two idiots were the ones to lay the foundations.

7. It Has Great Cameos

While there are plenty of familiar faces on the front line of the 2005 hit, there are appearances from a few other now well-established talents that appear in a blink-or-you’ll miss them capacity.

Besides a rather sozzled Leslie Mann showing up as mentioned, there’s also a double-WHAMMY during the sex-ed meeting Andy takes Trish’s daughter (played by a young Kat Jennings). Not only does his Anchorman co-star, David Koechner take a seat as another troubled parent, but Carell’s real wife, Nancy is leading the meeting. Coincidentally, they would both reappear alongside big Ste’ in The American Office too, alongside Mindy Kaling, who also turns up as well. A personal favorite however, is the visit from Jonah Hill, as the interrupting eBay customer who butts in on Andy and his love interest, Trish (Katherine Keener).

8. It Brought A New Breed Of Bromance

Armed with an array of dick and sex jokes, there was something stirring in the laughs of The 40-Year Old Virgin that would help form the solid career of its director and the cast involved. Carrying a familiar trait that left Freaks and Geeks being as popular as it was, The 40-Year Old Virgin’s greatest asset was the boisterous banter between Andy has his sex-searching chums. The chemistry between Rudd, Rogen, Carell and Romany Malco is on point, and the driving force for the entire film.

Our bed-fearing hero wasn’t the only point of interest, but also Rudd and his heartbreak over his ex of two years (Mindy Kaling in her first film), as well as Malco and his struggle to keep it in his shorts. With this Apatow managed to not only cover the bases when it came to relationships, but the friends that were there to help one another that would be replicated and improved upon for all his future rom-com’s to come.

9. It Gave Us Steve Carell’s Chest Hair...And Then Took It Away

Besides that brutal back and forth between Rogen and Rudd, one other improvised scene that will follow Carell for years to come was when we saw him lose patches of his chest hair while screaming Kelly Clarkson’s name.

Only able to be done in one take, the hair-raising (ahem, sorry) scene is easily the film's highlight and proved that all those involved did a great job of not breaking character. Carell on the other hand, wails with every strip yanked from his body, and who could blame him? The man appears to be part-Wookie.

10. It Gave Us The Age of Aquarius

There are some songs that will always stick in your head, sometimes for the wrong reasons. Just as some will always picture Simon Pegg hitting a man with a snooker cue to the beat of ‘Don’t Stop Me Now,’ so too will they always picture Steve Carell dancing across the hills to ‘The Age of Aquarius.’ It’s the most unexpected moment of the film and gets the entire cast involved (including Hill, who suffered sunstroke on the day of filming). Finally, our hero got laid, time to sing and dance about it. Altogether now...

When the moon is in the seventh house...


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