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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 Rob Gonsalves

"Surprisingly not-bad."
4 stars

“Whenever the camera’s on him, he purses his lips and looks grim.” I wrote that line, rather uncharitably, not long ago about Josh Hartnett’s performance (or lack thereof) in "Black Hawk Down."

Having now seen Hartnett in 40 Days and 40 Nights, I can only conclude that that’s what happens when you take an actor built for romantic comedy and put him in a war movie. In this fairly gimmicky but entertaining fluffball, directed by Michael Lehmann (Heathers) from a script by Robert Perez, Hartnett connects with the audience humbly and simply; it’s like the old movie cliché wherein a big bruiser turns out to sing beautifully. Hartnett is a surprise; so is the movie, which looks dumb in the ads but, like American Pie, manages to be both raunchy and sweet.

Hartnett is Matt Sullivan, a website designer gnawing at his post-breakup wounds; his ex (Vinessa Shaw) has wasted no time getting engaged to some jerk, and Matt throws himself into meaningless flings until he starts imagining that his bedroom ceiling is cracking open. Taking this as a metaphor for the emptiness he feels inside, Matt anguishes over his libido in hushed conversations with his brother (Adam Trese), who listens with a not entirely sympathetic ear, since he also happens to be a priest. Leaving the confessional one day, Matt hits upon an idea to cleanse his soul and body of lust — giving up all sexual gratification for Lent. Of course, this time of trial is when he meets the perfect woman, Erica (Shannyn Sossamon), who gets to play the usual male role of waiting for a romantic partner to put out. (As a cyber-nanny, she probably looks at more porn daily than he does.)

As I said, 40 Days and 40 Nights rests on a gimmick, but then so did The Truth About Cats and Dogs, a previous (and equally smart and satisfying) romantic comedy directed by Michael Lehmann. It’s clear that Lehmann is a journeyman filmmaker who’s only as good as the script (he was the one with the misfortune to get handed the keys to Hudson Hawk, and his last movie, four years ago, was the Billy Crystal flop My Giant). But if Hartnett was born for romantic comedy, so was Lehmann, who guides the characters with a light and sensible touch. The scenes at Matt’s workplace, full of snide web geeks placing bets on when Matt will end his abstinence, crackle with wit; the coworkers in this movie feel like people who work with each other every day (not an easy feat — many movies fail in this regard).

As the film goes on, Matt faces steadily worsening challenges to his will power; a trio of office vixens (with rhyming-bimbo names Candy, Mandy and Andie) all but throw themselves at him, not necessarily to win the office pool but, interestingly, because they’re incensed that the Lysistrata-like power of withholding sex, which usually rests with women, now rests with him. Matt’s hapless boss (Griffin Dunne) thinks it’s a great idea — if he denies his frigid wife sex, she’ll be crawling all over him! — but it only works for Matt, perhaps because he’s genuine about it; he’s not withholding as a tactic, and maybe it’s one of the few meaningful things he’s done as an adult that aren’t meant to get a woman into bed.

Michael Lehmann has a knack for intensely erotic hands-off sex scenes; fans of Truth About Cats and Dogs will remember two from that film — one involving food, the other involving a phone — and he’s got another one here, when Matt and Erica, without touching each other, make the most of an orchid petal. Lehmann also makes a city bus — where the couple spend their first date — seem like a bizarrely romantic backdrop.

In Matt’s frenzied final hours of Lent, when he can’t turn around without seeing something designed to keep him tumescent (at one point he fantasizes splashing down into a sea of breasts), the movie leans towards easy crowd-tickling gags but never loses its core — a former horndog learning to live, and love, without sex, and the exasperated woman who happens to meet him while he’s learning.

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originally posted: 12/29/15 11:38:58
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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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