"In cooking, as in all the arts, simplicity is a sign of perfection." - Curnonsky

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Dinner & a DVD: 40 Year Old Virgin

Tonight is the calm before the storm. The temperature today was 73 degrees here in SW Michigan. Tomorrow they are forecasting 35 degrees and snow! T. S. Eliot was right - April is the cruelest of months. So with that in mind, I fixed this slow-simmered and seasoned with rosemary, mustard, and thyme tasty pot roast.

Melt-in-Your-Mouth Pot Roast

Red potatoes quartered
Baby carrots
Beef chuck roast
Dijon mustard
Garlic salt
1 1/2 cups beef broth

Place potatoes and carrots in a slow cooker. Combine the mustard, rosemary, garlic salt, thyme and pepper; rub over roast. Place in slow cooker; top with onion and broth. cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours.

Featured Attraction: 40 Year Old Virgin

When you see someones list of their favorite comedy movies, you hear names like Dumb and Dumber, There's Something About Mary, American Pie, and all the other raunchy classics that everyone loves. The 40 Year Old Virgin will go right up there as one of the best.

Andy Stitzer (Carell) has never done the deed and it becomes known to three co-workers, who make it their duty to correct this anomaly. Andy prefers to compensate by creating seemingly healthy obsessions such as collecting action figures (including the Six Million Dollar Man's boss), gaming and the like. Just in case you forgot, he is 40-years old. As we come to learn through flashbacks, he really has tried, but just has not been "successful".

Prior to last year's sleeper hit "Little Miss Sunshine", Carell's possible career highlights have been as a "Daily Show" correspondent and the lead on one of the most under-looked and great groan-inducing comedies, "The Office". He has also stole scenes in "Anchorman" and "Bruce Almighty". This role showcases his expert timing, charisma, knowledge of constructing a joke and romantic/dramatic reach.

Paul Rudd (David), Seth Rogen(Cal), and Romany Malco (Jay) are cast as the co-workers and eventual buddies who insist on passing on their collective wisdom, baggage and mistakes. Each character is perfectly honed, project great matter of fact sensibility and hilarious in every scheming scene/disaster. The stage is then set for two crazy encounters, which continue to reinforce his decision to remain a virgin for all eternity. I must mention Leslie Mann (the drunk), Elizabeth Banks (the sex freak), Jane Lynch (the boss) and the elder Indian co-worker, each of whom generates great laughs and support in their roles.

Andy insists that he will do this the right way, which at once is ambitious...finding a perfect woman, building a relationship and making it work. His buddies come to realize that there is a degree of merit to the approach, which they have come to have forgotten through their encounters over the years.

He believes he has found this in Trish, played by Catherine Keener. Their chemistry is wonderfully playful, sincere and believable given both their characters' background.

Ultimately, the movie is a brilliant piece of comedic work and is set to a great accompanying soundtrack, which itself strikes a euphoric chord. Amidst the barrage of mediocre and painfully unfunny comedies in recent years, this one really sticks out. It's definitely not for the easily offended, but despite many of the crude jokes, it never sinks to just tits-and-ass levels or plain crudeness. The film has the courage to believe in its own convictions. Great raunchy fun with a real heart.

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