Sunday, 4 March 2007

Mini Review: The 40 year old virgin

This was the film everyone said I should see when I began writing The Last Gribblehickey, and I know why.

Geeky guy, can't get a girl. Afraid. Well-meaning friends who don't really have a clue. Transvestite prostitutes. True love, almost trumped by a huge mistake and miscommunication.

And all done in a far more R-rated way than I would care to.

It's not that The 40-year-old virgin wasn't funny. It's just that - call me old-fashioned - if I had known that it was this close to porn I wouldn't have seen it. And it had maybe as much swearing as The Departed, which I saw last week (and loved, and haven't reviewed yet).

For all that, it had a really sweet message at its heart - that delaying sex for the sake of a committed, monogamous relationship (some call it marriage!) is a really, really healthy idea.

It's a shocking, surprising idea to come out of Hollywood, but there was plenty of the opposite ideas in the process of telling that idea. Which often happens in movies - note the number of anti-war movies that have horrific violence in them.

Thinking back to the screenwriting - Virgin is a predictable enough tale, but it's buoyed up by a lot of improvisation by some of the hottest comedic talent around. What's an aspiring writer to do with that? All the received Hollywood wisdom says that once you send your script in it'll be changed around beyond recognition anyway, unless you do the whole thing yourself.

Answering my own question: I guess the key is to find, define and own your own space, your own style. And if that style is clean (or at least slightly cleaner!) then maybe, just maybe there's an audience out there for it.

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