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Overall Rating

Awesome: 14.29%
Worth A Look: 20%
Average: 22.86%
Pretty Bad: 18.1%
Total Crap24.76%

8 reviews, 57 user ratings

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40 Days and 40 Nights
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by Erik Childress

"A Flacid Waste of Comic Possibilities"
2 stars

I suppose we can thank both Seinfeld and There’s Something About Mary for this one. Everyone remembers the episode where Jerry, George, Elaine and Kramer each make a wager on who can hold out the longest without enacting the art of self-gratification. The Farrelly Bros. then helped paved the way for fluids to be shown on the big screen and used for screwball comedy. 40 Days and 40 Nights blends the ideas for these concepts, but never has the foresight to create any funny new ideas for itself, the characters or the situations. Not since Sterling Hayden gave his “precious bodily” speech in Dr. Strangelove, have I ever seen a film so revolved around fluids. There are jokes about fluids, about faking fluids, looking for fluids and talking about fluids. It’s just a shame that someone wasted their fluids creating a number of the people responsible for this absolute mess.

This fluid milkshake written by first-time screenwriter Rob Perez stars the eternally squinty Josh Hartnett as Matt Sullivan, a handsome dot-commer who still isn’t over his last girlfriend, Nicole (Vinessa Shaw). So stressed out is he that he’s constantly talking about black holes and seeing cracks in the ceiling as he’s making love to one of his several latest rebound gals. His problem isn’t related to his libido standing up to fight, but it tends to not be able to finish the battle.

Believing the problem is the anxiety he still feels about Nicole, Matt makes a vow to his priest brother to swear off sex and all sex-related activity as this will somehow make him forget about his ex. Perhaps a stretch of twisted logic, especially since he never considers that a little build-up should certainly make it easier to push out the fluids during his next tryst.

This comes (no pun intended) sooner than he thinks when he meets Erica (Shannyn Sossamon) in the ten-minute span that we’ve already jumped from Day 1 to Day 11. Most everyone in the audience should be ready to expect that Matt will hide his vow of celibacy from her, thus leading to the eventual break-up scene with big words like “honesty” and “lies” thrown around, before the storm calms and everyone goes home happy. But the script throws us a curvature by getting this awkward cliché out of the way early and then proceeds to do it over and over again. It’s not often that a film is able to create its own cliché during such a scant running time, but Matt and Erica’s relationship makes that of George Steinbrenner and Billy Martin seem like a Golden Anniversary.

There are so many missed opportunities for this high concept and so much wrong with what made it to the final print. The film makes so many missteps and is stuck in such a dead zone of bland setups, that its only a matter of time before you know the humor is just leading up to moments that involve Viagra mickeys and giant erections trying to poke through pant fabric. Those who laughed at the dissolve transition of a woman’s breast to a snowy mountaintop in Brotherhood of the Wolf will be longing for it after witnessing the laughless fantasy sequence involving Hartnett flying over the hills alive with the sound of lactating. Not a single scene in the movie hits the funny bone like the moment Seinfeld’s Kramer announces “I’M OUT!” (of “the contest”) and then looking exhausted.

Director Michael Lehmann (Heathers, The Truth About Cats & Dogs) makes no effort whatsoever to milk the obvious comic possibilities or statements about sex just frigidly lying there on the screen waiting to be taken advantage of. Why not invoke any jokes about religion and the parallels between Lenten sacrifice and the natural human instincts that are unnatural to deny? Even when the film tries to get serious in Matt and Erica by finally addressing the interesting question of “what can two people do with each other when sex is no longer an option” it feels more like great foreplay prior to the girl buttoning up and walking out the door.

The film doesn’t seem to have any clue of what its actually about and keeps going back to the potential interference involved by fellow colleagues trying to win a growing internet pool based on the vow. Not even this is maxed out for comic potential (the wagers in Rat Race were far funnier) and if the film insists on using the bet as their piece de la resistance for comedy, then why does this aspect end in such an anti-climactic way.

Josh Hartnett is the latest example of how looks over talent will win out every time in Hollywood. This guy can’t even fall down convincingly, a task he manages to accomplish four times in the film. Even with lackluster material like this, imagine someone like Ben Stiller in the role for a moment who can bring the funny with just a single look. Shannyn Sossamon (whom I absolutely abhorred in A Knight’s Tale) does show off some screen presence here. Despite her strikingly beautiful looks, there seems to be an intelligence lurking there just beneath the exterior, but keeps getting pushed back by the stupidity of the people she surrounds herself with. Paulo Costanzo (Road Trip, Josie and the Pussycats) is on hand as Hartnett’s roommate to provide a few decent laughs.

The one original scene in the film also proves to be rather erotic. Without giving it away, it’s ironic how Sossamon shared this eerily similar exchange with Heath Ledger in A Knight’s Tale.

Shannyn: “A flower is only as good as its pedals, don’t you think?”
Heath: “A flower is good for nothing.”
Shannyn: “Oh really?”
Heath: “You can’t eat a flower. A flower doesn’t keep you warm.”
Shannyn[/b : “And a rose never knocked a man of a horse either, did it?”
: “You’re just a silly girl, aren’t you?”
Shannyn: “Better a silly girl with a flower than a silly boy with a horse and a stick.”

This entendre-infested dialogue is brought to life here in a film that didn’t deserve such a tender scene. Scattered about like flower pedals desperately searching for its stem, 40 Days and 40 Nights moves from scene-to-scene with the expedient result of someone who shuffled up the editor’s scene cards and tossed out all the good stuff and the central point. Virgin screenwriter Rob Perez may remember this title as the first time he got a script produced, but I doubt it will be memorable enough to warrant another phone call. This is definitely one film you’re better off faking you have seen so you can just get some sleep instead.

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originally posted: 03/01/02 16:36:46
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User Comments

2/13/17 morris campbell not bad 3 stars
9/27/10 jennifer kimberly good review 5 stars
7/04/09 art A WONDERFUL DATE-MOVIE! 4 stars
5/09/07 David Pollastrini pretty dull 2 stars
2/24/06 Anthony Feor Skip this one 1 stars
2/07/06 Jeff Anderson Hartnett & Sossamon's great chemistry together save this highly. Great soundtrack, too!!!!! 5 stars
2/14/05 Atanu Unsitthroughable. Now is that a new word... 1 stars
4/17/04 Michael Greenwaldt Josh Hartnett carries the movie, without his amazing charm, it wouldn't have worked at all. 3 stars
12/24/03 sean Weak plot lines, with a few wisecracks. The skin is one of the only redeeming qualities 3 stars
9/05/03 Nicole Wretched 2 stars
6/09/03 p.Rodriguez oh Shannyn Sossamon ....................mmmmnnnnnnn! 5 stars
4/09/03 JL My IQ dropped a few points after watching this. 1 stars
3/11/03 me GREAT 5 stars
1/14/03 karen dado 5 stars
1/14/03 Vitality1 Not as bad as I expected. Hartnett is charming, but doesn't save the movie. 3 stars
12/30/02 sara I thought the film was a tasteful, teen sex comendy, which had humour and sensitivity 5 stars
11/16/02 Great Flaming Shitballs Josh Hartnett is a no-talent FAGGOT, and this movie gave me cancer! AVOID! :) 1 stars
10/10/02 Soggy Bottom Boy 1 or 2 good moments but overall, really dumb. 1 stars
10/03/02 Me Not U This film sucks hippo balls. The celluloid for this film would make great TP. 1 stars
9/29/02 chouck now why can't all romantic comedies have this much nekkidness? 4 stars
9/12/02 Chancey Thunderpants Hartnett is a no talent twat! This movie eats goat nuts. Stop it with the cum jokes already 1 stars
8/15/02 I Can't Swim No great achievement but not insultingly slow/stupid either. Josh's enjoyment contagious 4 stars
8/10/02 mary hartnett josh is the best actor and the movie was great 5 stars
8/05/02 mrs. hartnett it is raunchy but any movie that has the great acting of josh hartnett is good 4 stars
7/29/02 Jon And I'd nearly forgiven josh hartnett after pearl harbour... 1 stars
5/19/02 Mrs. McGregor whats everyone's problem, this was great!!!! 5 stars
5/15/02 Robyn Jamil-Walid What's it matter what he gives up for lent when he's stuck in a world of narcisistic jerks? 2 stars
5/14/02 Ashley Corpening Poor Vinessa Shaw-another promising actress made to wallow in her poop by braindead casters 2 stars
4/25/02 amanda it rocked very funni 5 stars
4/24/02 Red Shadow Quit complaining its cool, what i really want to know is where is the damn soundtrack is 5 stars
4/19/02 Sarah Josh Hartnett is a babe 5 stars
4/19/02 .... It aint good!! 1 stars
4/18/02 bryan its great dumbass 5 stars
4/01/02 Nikki Seriously dissappointing...especially since Josh is cute. 3 stars
3/31/02 Film Guy 94 minutes of my life i want back 2 stars
3/31/02 Film Dude A hit or miss film that missed. Badly. 1 stars
3/31/02 Michael Bartz This movies title was a prediction until how long it will take to come out on ass 1 stars
3/29/02 Nicole The ONLY redeeming quality of this movie was the pretty faces.....quite smutty. 2 stars
3/14/02 Candice Josh is hot, but other than that......... 2 stars
3/10/02 Rachem Good, light-hearted fun! 4 stars
3/08/02 AK47 Leave it to women to scorn their admirers and try to bang a celibate 1 stars
3/08/02 Veronica Foxx aka The Raven-Haired Temptress When will Hollywood learn pretty faces DO NOT equal talent? Please Stop. *vomits* 1 stars
3/05/02 Law Firm of Dewey, Cheatam & Howe Fun, inoffensive movie for those w/o a bug up their colon 4 stars
3/05/02 Kim what a shock: there's more to r'ships other than sex. 1 stars
3/05/02 poetchuck likeable characters, funny lines, enjoyable movie 4 stars
3/05/02 Todd Not all that bad 3 stars
3/04/02 Jesus Christ I condemn this movie. 1 stars
3/03/02 J.C. Lain Hartnett & Costanzo are natural comedians. Fairly witty and creative, with lots of charm 5 stars
3/03/02 Rebecca Barnes Josh shows what a well-rounded actor he really is--and looks damn good in the process!! 4 stars
3/03/02 Overkiller Would have been funny if the movie were only a third as long as it was. As it is, it SUCKS. 1 stars
3/02/02 Andrew Carden Teen-Sex Farce Has Minimal Laughs but Comes Off Quite Amusing. 4 stars
3/02/02 RKM Crappy non-sex romp without style, wit or people who can act 1 stars
3/02/02 Jake Monkey boy is back stinking up theaters. 1 stars
3/01/02 Anthony Lopez This is very funny stuff! 5 stars
3/01/02 Veronica Foxx This did not make me happy, and the only place it will lead is my foot in his groin!!! 1 stars
2/28/02 Goldhammer Disgustingly lame sacreligious garbage. 1 stars
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  01-Mar-2002 (R)



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