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On Running Feuds
Wait, Steve Carell Doesn't Really Play Games?
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on January 09, 2006   |   Episode 88 (Show Archive)  


Who knows, maybe we'll see a Produce Pete movie after all!
Each year movie critics make their list of the best and worst films they saw in the last twelve months. While many people are putting King Kong, Brokeback Mountain, and Crash at the top of their lists, there's one movie that has managed to take the nation by storm. It's an unlikely film, a movie that is both funny and sweet. It's a movie called the 40 Year-Old Virgin, it stars Steve Carell (Comedy Central's the Daily Show) and is one of those movies you've either seen or heard about.

Unfortunately for Steve and the rest of the cast, the 40 Year-Old Virgin is the type of movie that critics often forget about months after the initial release. Although most people agree that comedy is harder for an actor than drama, many critics (and awards shows) are afraid of putting these comedy

"The only cowboy movie where the good guys get it in the end!"
greats above the Oscar-caliber fare. They argue that while the 40 Year-Old Virgin was highly entertaining, it's hard to justify putting it before Spielberg's Munich, Cronenberg's A History of Violence, or Gaghan's Syriana. Those are movies that made you think, movies that changed your perception, and movies you talked about months after their release ... but they certainly weren't as funny as the 40 Year-Old Virgin!

This year the critics decided to surprise us by including the 40 Year-Old Virgin on their lists of the best movies. The American Film Institute found a place for Steve Carell and company amongst 2005s biggest hitters, like Good Night, And Good Luck, the Squid and the Whale, and even Capote! And the AFI is not alone, critics all over the world are praising it as one of the best movies of the year, including Richard Roeper who rarely puts comedies on his year-end lists. It's official, the 40 Year-Old Virgin is a film tour de force, the type of movie you really must see. But if you're a gamer, you probably shouldn't go in expecting realism.

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Oh sure, there are plenty of scenes that ring true for the all American single male. Scenes that depict Steve Carell waxing his chest (to get women), using bad pick-up lines (to get women), and even speed dating (to get women). And we haven't even begun talking about him looking for the drunkest girl at the bar to take home. These scenes (and many more) certainly ring true for a man of any age trying to get a little action on a night out. But not everything about the 40 Year-Old Virgin is accurate, especially when it comes to video games.

I think it's safe to say that a large chunk of this movie's target audience are also gamers; after all, nearly everybody under the age of 40 has played at least one or two video games in their life, and most

Patrick's Halo game improved that day, but it's probably the shoes!
of them own a game system or two. And even if they aren't fans of the Xbox, PlayStation, or GameCube, chances are they enjoy the company of a computer game or handheld. Perhaps that's why gaming plays such a prominent role in Steve Carell's masterpiece. But don't be fooled, they may target this movie at us avid gamers, but it appears to be made by people who know nothing about video games!

Mid way through the 40 Year-Old Virgin Paul Rudd (David) and Seth Rogen (Cal) throw jabs back and forth about how they know the other person is "gay" while punching and kicking their way through Mortal Kombat: Deception on the Xbox. So far so good, that sounds like the type of thing some of my friends might do ... if they had better script writers coming up with clever quotes for them. Unfortunately this is where the accuracy ends. As you can tell from the picture below David and Cal are CLEARLY using two different controls for two different game systems! David appears to be playing with the Ultimate Game Chair while Cal is using a ... wait a second, is that a Nintendo 64 control??

Apparently the makers of the 40 Year-Old Virgin decided that nobody would notice that the only two people in frame aren't using the right controls. I guess they didn't notice that the Nintendo 64 control is extremely unique looking, easily one of the most distinguishable game controls of all time. Love it or hate it, the Nintendo 64 control looks NOTHING like the Xbox control; there's no reason for this error, unless the people making the movie aren't the type that know the difference.

At least they decided again using the Dreamcast control, we'd hate for them to promote Sega's swan song!
Of course, this is not the first time we've pointed out Hollywood's general lack of knowledge about video games. In 2005 I wrote a story that looked at the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and how they used Sega control to play their NES. This mistake is pretty common (and kind of funny, as far as I'm concerned). Some would argue that we should leave Hollywood alone, they should be commended for actually showing people play games.

Well, those people are wrong!

The director in question wrote the Fun with Dick & Jane remake, perhaps we shouldn't expect him to be a gamer!
I expected more from the 40 Year-Old Virgin; you would think that this cast of hip actors would have noticed this obvious error. (Okay, maybe not everybody was "hip," that David guy had a pretty meaty role on Friends ... but at least he's not in Joey.) Let's not forget that this is a team that decided to put the Ultimate Game Chair in the movie, that's some damn good advertising for a chair I've actually played Halo 2 in. Although it's not my thing, the general consensus among the Defunct Games staff was that it's unique and kind of cool.

But wait, is David playing Mortal Kombat with only one-half of the control? That's the side the buttons are on, the side with the analog stick that moves the camera. How on Earth is he able to hold his own while playing Mortal Kombat?? Why didn't they notice this? Certainly I can't be the only person who sees the problem, why didn't somebody on the set. It didn't have to be the (nearly) 40 year-old director; it could have been the poorly paid camera man or best boy grip. SOMEBODY! You go as far as to put the Xbox in the shot and advertise the Ultimate Game Chair. But wait a second, is there only one control plugged into that Xbox?? Oh screw it, I guess I should just face it, the games are just a prop and I should be happy they're in the movie at all. They could be playing a better game, though. Oh, nevermind!


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