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Comedy too contrived

IT’S understandable that with millions of dollars at stake, the director and writers of “The 40 Year-Old Virgin” would endure screening after screening, making sure that there are just enough of the right jokes, and not too much sex to make audiences as comfortable as possible [“Keeping ‘Virgin’ Funny, but With Its Pants On,” Aug. 14]. But, God, is this a comedy or is it brain surgery?

I can see how a comedic filmmaker like Woody Allen would disdain a test screening. Comedy exists in the moment, as in stand-up; if the joke falls flat, it falls flat. The comic makes a note and cuts or reworks the bit. But in movies there is no second chance; it either kills the first time or the movie hits the video store shelves in six weeks rather than six months.

Still, as someone who appreciates edgy comedy, I’m less likely to see this film precisely because it’s too carefully crafted. I’ll wait for the DVD, when the director’s cut can show me what the real movie was supposed to be like.

ERIC POTRUCH

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Westchester


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