Retro Review: 40 Days & 40 Nights

Imagine yourself being forced to cut out the most delightful thing from your life. Well after a humiliating break-up, Matt Sullivan (Josh Hartnett) decides that the only way to overcome the break-up is to remain celibate during the “40 Days and 40 Nights” of Lent.

For Matt giving up sex is his most delightful recreation. Matt is convinced that giving up sex is the only way to get ex-girlfriend, Nicole (Vinessa Shaw), out of his system.

His best friend and roommate, Ryan (Paul Costanzo) doesn’t believe him. He is so convinced that his friend won’t make it that he creates a betting pool at work.

And thus erupts the chaos but all seems sunk when Matt hooks up with laundry girl, Erica (Shannyn Sossamon).

Will Erica disrupt the pledge and destroy the betting pool? Only time will tell.

“40 Days and 40 Nights” is the kind of film that should be coupled with those “American Pie” films as it has a lot of the same kind of humor and characters with about the same intelligence. If you psychoanalyze this film to death, you are bound to feel cheap and used when leaving your favorite multiplex. If you take it with a grain of salt and chuckle as you would with “American Pie” you are bound to laugh a lot. The jokes are quite funny and Josh Hartnett is a blast to watch.

If you were to psychoanalyze the film, you would realize that first of all 40 Days isn’t that long. We are human beings and we know how to restrain ourselves. Do we really sit around and dwell when we will have sex again? Probably not, but it does make for good humor. It seems that Hollywood has been going to sexual humor a lot lately.

The reason this film is delightful and funny to sit through is because of the performance of star Josh Hartnett. We really feel for this poor slob and want him to be happy. He gives us very little reason not to like him. Unlike other sex-comedies in recent months like “Slackers”, we really can connect with this guy. The sad thing about this guy’s quest is that it ends rather brutally and we are more shocked than happy at its outcome. Matt deserved a better resolution.

The second thing is the female lead, Sossamon, who is a horrendously bad actress and constantly reminds me of ex-Cosby kid, Lisa Bonet. Does this girl know it’s the new millennium? Why did they cast her? I mean this film needed a strong female lead. This is a second thing that Matt needed to be better.

I liked “40 Days and 40 Nights” except for the end and the female lead. The real reason the film works is because of Hartnett. “40 Days” is still a lot better than “Slackers”; by a long shot.

(3.5 of 5)

So Says the Soothsayer.

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