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Now or Then – I Love You, Man or The 40-Year-Old Virgin?

I Love You, Man or The 40-Year-Old Virgin?” width=”560″/>


Now: I Love You, Man
(2009)
Then: The 40-Year-Old Virgin (2005)

Although the new bromance I Love You, Man, comes from writer-director John Hamburg and not Judd Apatow, its main cast members Paul Rudd and Jason Segel will be familiar to anyone who’s seen an Apatow movie. In I Love You, Man, Rudd’s a nice guy real estate
agent who realizes he doesn’t have any candidates to play best man at his wedding. Also in search of something? Andy Stitzer (Steve Carell) in Apatow’s gross-out hit The 40-Year-Old Virgin. A mousy stock supervisor at an electronics store who
has never had sex, Andy, with help from his friends, sets out on a quest to lose
his virginity. So which of
these comedies about nice guys missing something from their lives should you
seek out?


Our Deprived Hero


I Love You, Man
: As his fiancé discovers while they start
planning their wedding, Peter (Rudd) is helpful, earnest, kind and attentive. And he has absolutely zero male best buds, being content to just spend his time
with his wife and her friends.


The 40-Year-Old Virgin
: As his co-workers at an electronics
store discover during a poker game, Andy is shy, hardworking and a gentleman. And he has never had sex before, being content to just spend
his time with his action figures and video games.


Winner: I Love You, Man
. Virginity might make for a richer
mine of comic material, but there’s something curiously sweet about this
premise.

A Series of Failed Attempts


I Love You, Man
: Peter tries desperately to find a new best
friend — he joins his wife’s friend’s husband’s poker game, he cruises the Internet, all to no avail. One of his attempts ends in projectile vomit,
another in a mistaken case of sexual preference.

The 40-Year-Old Virgin: Andy and his co-workers try
desperately to score a girl for him — they go to clubs, they go on speed-dating
ventures, they hire a hooker, all to no avail. One attempt ends in projectile
vomit, another in a mistaken case of gender.


Winner:
The 40-Year-Old Virgin.

The Laid-Back Savior


I Love You, Man
: Into Peter’s open house walks Sidney (Segel), who is confident, cool, and owns his own business, which
requires him to just sit around at home in his bathrobe.


The 40-Year-Old Virgin: Into Andy’s electronics store walks single mother Trish (Catherine Keener), who is beautiful, wise, and owns her own business,
which requires her to just sit around and pretend to work.


Winner
: A tie. Both Keener and Segel shine
in their respective parts.

Tongue-Tied in the Face of Love

I Love You, Man: When he first calls Sidney to try and meet
up, Peter is hopeless on the phone, trying pathetically to sound laid-back and
cool.

The 40-Year-Old Virgin: When he first calls Trish to try and
make a date, Andy is hopeless on the phone, and winds up pretending to be a
telemarketer.


Winner: I Love You, Man
. Believe it or not, Rudd out-cringes Carell with his ridiculous phone banter.

Unabashed Love of ’80s Bands


I Love You, Man
: Peter and Sidney bond over their common
love of Rush.

The 40-Year-Old Virgin: Andy is remorselessly mocked for his
undying devotion to Asia.


Winner: The 40-Year-Old Virgin
. That Asia poster on Andy’s wall says so much about his character.

Verdict


I Love You, Man
: The fairly unoriginal plot is mostly just an excuse to watch Paul Rudd do his expert Everyman shtick and Jason Segel
do his lovable man-child routine.
The 40-Year-Old Virgin: It’s a touchstone of the raunchy
comedy genre, but it’s distinguished by a surprisingly sweet tone and a
generous approach to its characters.


Winner:
The 40-Year-Old Virgin. We like I Love You, Man
fine — but there’s a reason why Virgin is a modern-day classic.

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