40 DAYS AND 40 NIGHTS
Matt Sullivan (Josh Hartnett) is broken hearted when his girlfriend Nicole (Vinessa Shaw) drops him. Unable to get the right advice from his priest and brother, Matt decides to try a drastic remedy as a way of getting over Nicole: he will give up every form of sex for the 40 days of Lent. His cynical workmates and friends take bets on his failing, but he's adamant. And then he meets Erica (Shannyn Sossamon).
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
The producers who gave us Notting Hill and Bridget Jonesís Diary have Ö. screwed up. Working Title is entitled to make an error of judgement, of course, especially when the concept is so, well, kinky, really. Take a redblooded guy and make him swear off sex for 40 days. Then surround him with sexy women, sexy friends, sex in every nook and cranny. Hee hee hee. Well, maybe. But it has to be executed right Ė not executed on the spot. And never mind the producers, whose excuse may be that being English they imagined it differently. What excuse for the cast and crew involved? None. This miserably gross and offensive film does a great disservice to males, but since itís so woeful, no harm done. The biggest sin in entertainment is boredom, and 40 Days and 40 Nights is how long it seems to last. Bad taste is one thing, but repetition of a bad, bad taste joke is unforgivable. Itís only redeeming feature is the lovely and talented Shannyn Sossamon, but I sincerely hope itíll turn out that she didnít read the script before her agent signed her for the role. How much longer will American audiences put up with movies that portray its young people as penis obsessed, semen addicted and very poor soft porn hooked? Do they really think thatís sexy? Itís not funny, either.
Review by Louise Keller:
Abstinence is the theme for 40 Days and 40 Nights, a lively but ludicrous romantic comedy of errors about self-control. Shame about the script, which solidly sinks by its solitary sentiment. It's true that the filmmakers intended this to be a lightweight comedy for a young audience, but the concept (somewhat in bad taste) probably holds for only 40 minutes. The great pity is that there are some good things about the film Ė terrific performances by an energetic young cast headed by Josh Hartnett, a compelling upbeat soundtrack and good production values. Hartnett has plenty of charisma and does the best he can with the material at hand. Shannyn Sossamon is a breath of fresh air; as a newcomer to the Hollywood scene, she is a welcome one. As she displayed in A Knight's Tale, this stunner can hold her own in any situation, however ludicrous. There are a few good laughs and some juicy comedic situations which rely on a bevy of gorgeous girls with long legs, short skirts, tattoos in unlikely places and burgeoning cleavages. But it's all pretty silly and the talent should be put to much better use. For me the best part of the film comes right at the beginning, when Matt 'deletes' all references to his ex Nicole from his computer. I can readily associate with this. After all, in this world of cyberspace, there is nothing more satisfying, proactive or final, than deleting someone from your hard drive. Perhaps that's what should happen to 40 Days and 40 Nights!
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40 DAYS AND 40 NIGHT (MA)
CAST: Josh Hartnett, Shannyn Sossamon, Vinessa Shaw, Paulo Costanzo, Griffin Dunne
PRODUCER: Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Michael London
DIRECTOR: Michael Lehmann
SCRIPT: Robert Perez
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Elliot Davis
EDITOR: Nicholas C. Smith ACE
MUSIC: Rolfe Kent
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Sharon Seymour
RUNNING TIME: 95 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: UIP
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: April 25, 2002
VIDEO DISTRIBUTOR: Universal
VIDEO RELEASE: September 11, 2002 [Also on DVD]