I don’t understand why the crowd at the Manhattan all-media screening of Judd Apatow’s The 40 Year-Old Virgin (Universal, 8.19) was laughing so much. Because this thing is mostly…you know what I’m going to say, right?…not even vaguely funny. And the first half is damn near agonizing. And it’s one of the ugliest, most flatly lit films (the dp is Jack Green) I’ve seen in a theatre in a long while. Matters improve slightly during the last third when Steve Carrell’s virginal electronic-store worker is allowed to behave in a less broad, less desperate-for-laughs way and comes down to earth and acts like a semi-believable unhappy guy with a slight…er, problem. The very last bit is the funniest bit. And okay, Henry Cabot Beck wasn’t wrong. Catherine Keener is warm and likable as a positive-minded 40ish woman, and in a way that feels for the most part grounded and reflective of someone you might actually meet somewhere other than a film set. But at the same time let’s not get that excited about her performance. I mean, you know… show some restraint already. This is first and foremost an extremely insubstantial film. It doesn’t come close to catching a whiff of the energy or the attitude of The Wedding Crashers so forget it, Apatow…off to the showers!