40-Year-Old Virgin

This is one of those movies that looks like a snicker-and-grin type, you know, juvenile humor, crass teenage stuff, and lots of crude jokes. Well, yeah...but then...it actually has a sweet center to it. It is elevated by the wonderful performances of the two leads, Steve Carell ("Little Miss Sunshine" and "Bruce Almighty") and Catherine Keener ("Capote" and "Being John Malkovich").

As the title implies, Carell is our hapless hero who, through a series of completely understandable events, is in his current chronic state. He collects action figures - never takes them out of the boxes as that would detract from their value as collectors' items. He works in an electronics store and his co-worker/drinking buddies are just that until they tumble to his "condition."

After all of the unwelcome comments, including speculation that he is gay, they devote themselves to rectifying it - Speed Dating - Computer Dating - Sleazy Pickup Joints - etc., etc. He is just fastidious enough that he finds most of it fairly repugnant. He does, however, discover what poseurs his friends actually are, much to their chagrin, and leaves them to it!

Naturally, this is Hollywood, so watch the film and enjoy the romance... ...and the juvenile humor, crass teenage stuff, and lots of crude jokes... ...smile...we all do, ya know...


Dear Frankie

One of my favorite, multiple-viewings films is "Dear Frankie." This is a Scottish film about a deaf boy being raised by his single mother, played by Emily Mortimer ("Match Point" and "Two Brothers and a Bride") and his chain-smoking grandmother. They are constantly on the move (from his abusive father, as it turns out) but he doesn't know why.

Our little hero blithely writes letters to his absent father who he has been led to believe works on a ship which travels from port to port. The boy tracks the ship from information he receives in the mail; he has a world map which he keeps on his bedroom wall. Trouble is, even though the seaman father is fictitious, it turns out the ship is real and it is coming to their port!

The mother has been intercepting the boy's letters and responding to them for years. Now, she has to scramble! She's got to find someone to pretend to be his father for a day. Enter The Stranger, played by Gerard Butler ("Timeline" and "Lara Croft") in his first featured role. Do you think you can figure out where this is going?

I don't care. This is a lovely film and I am glad I own it.

Per Maltin, "Warm but never mawkish" and he gives it three stars.