Steve Carell achieved stardom as the titular "40-Year-Old Virgin," Andy, a man-child lost in a world of video gamers and action figures. For reasons that are never explained, his emotional and sexual development were grossly stunted somewhere along the way, and as he was round the second turn on the track of life, found himself still never having "been" with someone.
Incredibly, Andy is among Carell's more successful ladies men. In the years since "40," Carell has suffered one tragic romance after another, with the latest coming in "Seeking a Friend for the End of the World," which opens Friday. Today we bring you the five saddest:
5. "Seeking a Friend for the End of the World": Toward the beginning of the film, we see Dodge Peterson (Carell) sitting in a car with his wife (Carell's real-life spouse, Nancy), as they listen to a radio report that mankind's final attempt to avert an apocalyptic asteroid strike has failed. Without a word, she gets out of the car and runs away. Sounds heart-wrenching, no? End of the world, your wife runs off without a word… And yet it's only Carell's fifth-saddest movie split.
4. "Crazy Stupid Love": In the opening scene—THE OPENING SCENE—Cal (Carell) finds himself on a date with his dead sexy wife, Emily (Julianne Moore), who out of nowhere declares that she wants a divorce. Worse yet, it's because she's been making time with her weaselly co-worker David (Kevin Bacon).
3. "Dinner for Schmucks": When you're a "Schmuck," you can only set your romantic sights so high, but that shouldn't preclude success—unless you're being played by Carell. Barry Speck (Carell) works at the IRS, and spends his free time making dioramas populated by taxidermied mice. Remarkably, Barry loses his wife to his colleague Therman Murch (Zach Galifianakis), a pompous jerk who wears dickeys and thinks he has mind control powers.
2. "Little Miss Sunshine": Carell stars as Frank Ginsberg, a once respected academic who is left by his boyfriend for the man who just happens to be Frank's top professional rival. The pain of the heartbreak hits so deeply that Frank makes a vain attempt to take his own life, taking a razor blade to his wrists.
1. "Dan in Real Life": Carell stars as Dan, a widower trying to raise three daughters on his own. That takes the cake. Though he does end up with Juliette Binoche, which makes for a mighty fine consolation prize.
It's a testament to Carell's innate likability and everyman-ness that, despite suffering this almost relentless litany of heartbreak, he's thought of as a lovable clown and not a sad sack loser. Yes, it helps that he occasionally gets the girl after his jolt of misery. Still being romantically involved with Carell in a film is about as steady a gig as being the drummer for Spinal Tap.