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Judd Apatow’s directorial debut, The 40-Year-Old Virgin, changed the way that comedies were made forever. Prior to that, comedy movies were often rigidly scripted, with the actors following the dialogue as written and then moving on to the next scene. But Apatow saw the potential to capture comedic lightning in a bottle and allowed his actors to improvise on-camera. The method led to a huge amount of film being used during the shoot, but the rewards are obvious. Now, every comedy filmmaker tries to emulate that improvisational tone. It led to some great quotes too.
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Updated on July 24th, 2021 by Mark Birrell: The best quotes from The 40-Year-Old Virgin are some of the funniest and most memorable from all of Judd Apatow"s movies, which is certainly saying something. They"re also some of the most famous lines from the movie careers of huge stars like Steve Carell, Seth Rogen, Paul Rudd, and Jane Lynch, making the film all the more impressive. From the waxing scene to the infamous "bag of sand" line, these hilarious quotes continue to live rent-free in fans" heads, and likely will do for many years to come.
One of the most iconic scenes of The 40-Year-Old Virgin–if not the most iconic–is the chest waxing scene in which Andy painfully tries to get a smooth chest on the advice of Jay. The incredibly painful ordeal causes Andy to blurt out a series of obscenities every time a fresh strip is ripped off. The most memorable of them all, however, is when Andy screams out the name of the American Idol winner.
The whole scene is funny, but this particular reaction is so unexpected and out of sync with the rest that it stands out as one of the movie"s most famous lines.
9 “If I have to hear ‘Yah Mo B There’ one more time, I’m gonna ‘Yah Mo’ burn this place to the ground.”
When a customer goes into an electronics store and there’s a DVD on loop, such as a Michael McDonald concert, they only have to watch that DVD and listen to those songs for a few minutes. But Paul Rudd’s character David has to work at that store, so every single day, he has to listen to that Michael McDonald DVD and he’s sick of it.
He tells his boss Paula, played by Jane Lynch, “If I have to hear ‘Yah Mo B There’ one more time, I’m gonna ‘Yah Mo’ burn this place to the ground.” The whole rant, and the build-up to this line, is a perfect introduction to David"s character, showing off the extent of Rudd"s outstanding comedic timing.
When Jay’s girlfriend finds crude comments written on his speed dating card, he tells her it was Andy’s and he gets Andy to act like the kind of guy who would say those things. Suffice to say, he goes overboard with it: “Look, who the f*** are you to put me on trial? I’ve never even met you. So, why don’t you back the s*** off, and stop with the inquisition? Ya know what, I don’t have to answer to you."
Steve Carell delivers it perfectly, with Andy clearly being out of his comfort zone and overcompensating by leaning too hard into the lie. What"s funnier is that it actually seems to work.
7 "¿Dónde vas con tanta prisa? Al partido de futbol."
When Paula begins to hit on Andy at work, she recounts some of her early experiences, talking about a gardener who serenaded her with what she believed to be a beautiful Guatemalan love song. When she gives a heartfelt rendition of the song, however, the lyrics reveal that it"s just a mundane set of Spanish phrases. Indeed, as per The Washington Post, Lynch herself revealed in interviews that the lyrics were ripped straight from her high school Spanish textbook.
It"s another moment where the delivery really sells the comedy, with the melody sounding genuinely sweet and convincing but the untranslated lyrics being obviously suspect by the end, even to a person completely unfamiliar with the Spanish language.
Most people know Steve Carell as a huge star of TV and movies who is infinitely likable and comedically talented. However, long before he was a star, he wrote The 40-Year-Old Virgin with Judd Apatow to launch his acting career and, as per EW, in the first week of shooting, Universal considered pulling the plug on the movie altogether, because they feared that Carell’s character would alienate audiences due to his serial killer-like appearance.
Seth Rogen’s character, Cal, made a reference to this in the final cut of the movie: “He’s a really nice guy and all, but I’m pretty sure that he is a serial murderer.” Cal, of course, changes his mind once he gets to know Andy, and specifically apologizes for thinking this later on, but it"s nonetheless a somewhat reasonable interpretation of Andy"s strange and reclusive behavior.
5 “You know, I always thought that Matt Damon was like a Streisand, but I think that he’s rockin’ the s*** in this one!”
After making his name in dramas like Good Will Hunting and The Talented Mr. Ripley, Matt Damon became an action star when he played an amnesiac spy in The Bourne Identity. Audiences across the world suddenly realized that this guy couldn’t just play a genius janitor who solves equations and falls in love – he can kick ass, too.
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Paul Rudd’s character, David, reflects the staggering realization that movie audiences had about Matt Damon as he watches The Bourne Identity on one of the TVs in the store: “You know, I always thought that Matt Damon was like a Streisand, but I think he’s rockin’ the s*** in this one!” It"s a moment made all the funnier by the fact that Andy is trying to have a serious conversation with everyone in the room, with David just completely off on his own wavelength.
One of the funniest scenes in The 40-Year-Old Virgin comes about when Trish’s daughter, played by Kat Dennings, wants to go to the sexual health clinic to sit down and learn some things, with Andy jumping at the opportunity to ask some questions of his own.
When Andy gets to the clinic, he’s intimidated by all the sculptures and diagrams and his almost childish level of inexperience prompts him to ask: “Is it true that if you don’t use it, you lose it?” It"s a humorous line made all the funnier by Carell"s completely sincere delivery.
3 "I"m very discreet... but I"ll haunt your dreams."
Paula flirts with Andy at work again after sharing her love song with him, reiterating her offer of a no-strings relationship, with Lynch delivering her funniest line in the whole movie.
As Andy is clearly in love with Trish, he"s uninterested and shows his usual degree of shyness, with Paula making her final pitch with this hilarious line. It"s the seriousness with which Lynch delivers the final part, after a lengthy pause, that makes it so funny.
While Andy and Trish"s daughter are at the sexual health clinic talking and asking questions, they"re not the only ones there, with other parents and their children also asking their own questions and getting advice. When some guidance is given on how to perform sexual acts that don"t involve full intercourse, one of the kids comments slyly that the list of acts sounds like his Friday night, to which his exhausted father retorts with a hilarious dose of reality.
The pair are only in the movie for this scene but they both kind of steal it, with Seth trying to sound cool and his father matter-of-factly laying out the truth of things.
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1 “You know, when you grab a woman’s breast...and you feel it, and...it feels like a bag of sand.”
After Andy says this, it doesn’t take long for the other guys to catch on that he’s inexperienced. It’s a huge turning point in the progression of the plot because it kickstarts their efforts to find him a partner. They’re sitting around a poker table, swapping sex stories, and before long, Andy is asked to share a story with the guys. So, he starts making up a story and ends up drawing an unusual comparison in the improvisation: “You know, when you grab a woman’s breast...and you feel it, and...it feels like a bag of sand when you’re touching it.”
Andy himself clearly knows how silly a thing it is to say, even as he"s saying it, but he"s worked himself into a corner by this point and the truth coming out like this helps make the awkward moment endearingly funny.