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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 Eugene Novikov

2 stars

After "American Pie," a comedy about a group of teenagers desperate to have sex by graduation, practically demolished the box-office and was followed by a similarly themed sequel that made even more money, it was only natural for Hollywood to come out with dozens of raucous imitation comedies about teenagers who wanted to have sex. And Hollywood did so.

What few probably expected was a comedy where the object was not to have sex, yet that is exactly what we have with 40 Days and 40 Nights, a movie about twentysomethings that is clearly aimed at teenagers in the same way Pie was. If that movie was shallow, this one, surprisingly, is downright empty.

Matt Sullivan (Josh Hartnett) has some unresolved issues after breaking up with his long-time girlfriend Nicole. His problem is incredibly literal: whenever he has sex with another girl, he literally sees the ceiling crack and a void open up. Desperate, and under pressure from his horndog roommate, he comes up with a last-ditch solution: in a confessional with his brother the priest, he announces that he will give up sex, and everything sex-related, for the forty days of Lent.

Of course, he immediately meets an amazing girl in a laundromat: her name is Erica (Shannyn Sossamon), she works for an internet company, and she has no knowledge of the Vow. Meanwhile, his roommate and his co-workers open up an internet pool that accepts wagers (minumum: fifty dollars) on how long Matt will last, and everyone is desperate to make his day the Day. Then Nicole (Vinessa Shaw) returns, and things get really wicked.

I question the approach debut writer Rob Perez takes with this material. The main problem concerns the fact that the main character's vow is treated as something monumental, as if abstinence were an olympic event and Matt Sullivan was going for the gold. 40 Days and 40 Nights is even more single-minded than American Pie: everything is about sex, and the protagonist's vow to abstain isn't an exercise in admirable self-denial (if there is such a thing), but a strategy to have better sex. Fine, but I didn't really care about whether one Matt Sullivan had good sex, and the film gave me little else to focus on.

There are also issues with the central romance. I was anticipating, in horror, the scene in which Erica finds out about the online pool and spouts out some version of "I was a bet?!?" That scene did eventually arrive, and plays out in possibly the most cringeworthy way. Even more troublesome is the fact that Erica is inexplicably portrayed as a whiny, demanding bitch, complaining about every latest turn of events and having irritating should-I-or-shouldn't-I back-and-forths with her ditzy roommate during breaks in the action. So: the guy is shallow and self-serving, the girl is unpleasable and annoying. Clearly a match made in heaven, but insufferable to watch.

Hartnett is a good actor, though he does more with a smaller role in Black Hawk Down, and he is passable in a role that is hard to like. Sossamon, who made her debut with the terrific A Knight's Tale last year, isn't nearly as cute or charming as the script would have her be. Perhaps the most significant thing about the acting is that the characters are actually played by actors who are close to the ages specified in the script; Hartnett is 23 and Sossamon is 22 and Matt and Erica are in that ballpark. This is a promising change from seeing high-school sophomores played by actors over twenty.

40 Days and 40 Nights is raunchy, and graphic, and sometimes even funny, but its attitude makes it a difficult film to enjoy. It is filled with unlikeable characters doing stupid movie things, and the result betrays the promising concept. This is a sex comedy posing as an anti-sex comedy, but it doesn't convince as either one.

(Review reprinted from

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originally posted: 03/04/07 22:49:55
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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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