out of 4
All-Reviews.com Movie/Video Review
40 Days and 40 Nights
|*Also starring: ||Paolo Costanzo, Chris Gauthier, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Dylan Neal||
Review by Susan Granger
1½ stars out of 4
This raunchy sex comedy about abstinence is targeted as a date movie
for over-stimulated twentysomethings and, on that score, it succeeds. Hunky Josh
Hartnett plays Matt Sullivan, an amiable San Francisco dot.commer who's been
dumped by his bitchy girl-friend, Vinessa Shaw. Unable to get over it, he
decides to take a vow of celibacy for Lent, declaring "No sex and nothing
sex-like," to his brother (Adam Trese), a Catholic seminary student.
Immediately, predictably, Matt meets saucy, seductive Shannyn Sossamon in a
laundromat, and his troubles really begin. She's a censor of obscene websites -
and his co-workers, both male and female, have been caustically charting his
abstinence progress on a porn site called "The Vow," betting how long he'll last
and inventing ways to tease and taunt his libido. As does his room-mate (Paul
Costanzo) who uses a special light to scan Matt's sheets to see that "no fluids
are liberated" in self-gratification. Yada, yada, yada. Seinfeld did it better
on TV. First-time screenwriter Robert Perez and director Michael Lehmann
("Heathers") flack smutty scenes - from Matt's father's (Barry Newman) family
dinner-table talk about sex positions after hip-replacement surgery to a
Viagra-spiked drink, intended for Matt, that's inadvertently slipped to his
sex-starved, married boss (Griffin Dunne). It's a carnal, contrived one-joke
premise that sometimes gets surreal but eventually grows tiresome. While he
scored in military uniform in "Pearl Harbor" and "Black Hawk Down," Josh
Hartnett lacks the comedic timing and risqué flair to rival Hugh Grant in this
kind of featherweight froth, relying, instead, on deadpan reactions. On the
Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "40 Days and 40 Nights" is a forced, flimsy 4.
Call it a bawdy arousal comedy.
Copyright © 2002 Susan Granger
Buy movie posters!