40 Days and 40 Nights

| March 9, 2002

So your girlfriend leaves you and a couple of months later is engaged to some other guy. Yep, your nuts are still in her ringer and she’s turning the crank. What should you do? Why, give up any kind of sex (including that which is love with the one you care about the most) for lent. If you can get through it, you’ll be over old what’s her name.
This is the premise of the new Michael Lehmann film, 40 Days and 40 Nights. Matt Sullivan (Josh Hartnett from Pearl Harbor and Black Hawk Down) has been dumped by his main squeeze Nicole (Vinessa Shaw from Corky Romano…as if you saw that). He has been going through a period where every time he is intimate with a woman he visualizes a big black hole opening up and swallowing him. It is distracting to the point where he cannot… finish the job. Meanwhile, Nicole has met some Ken-doll type and is engaged in a matter of weeks.
This pushes Sullivan to the breaking point where he decides that by remaining celibate (are you sure there isn’t an R in that word) during the 40 days of Lent, he will be able to say he has put the bitch (oops… Dana flashback here. Sorry) behind him for good.
Knowing that this is quite doable for many an individual, writer Rob Perez gives us a plot complication in the form of Erica (Shannyn Sossamon from A Knight’s Tale). She and Matt strike up a friendship in the neighborhood laundromat and their relationship grows in direct proportion to the pressure in Matt’s groin.
Making things harder (no pun) is the betting pool that his roommate (Paulo Costanzo from Josie and the Pussycats) has posted on the Internet alerting everyone to Matt’s vow of celibacy and offering lots of cash if anyone can make Matt blow it (another pun, I guess) on the day they’ve taken in the pool.
As Matt gets closer to his goal, we begin to see lots and lots of bare breasts: most in his imagination, but some that belong to different women vying to win the pool. This makes things very difficult, and if I must be a critic, Hartnett becomes a very one-dimensional character that is constantly shaking. It looks like he is going through some drug withdrawal instead of just a buildup of semen.
If Hartnett is a little flat, Costanzo is wonderful. He is excellent as the supportive roommate who is playing both sides of the fence in order to win his own pool. Sossamon is all right (and stunning on camera), but I just didn’t believe that Erica would not be more understanding of Sullivan’s vow.
There is a lot of raw humor in 40 Days and 40 Nights. I laughed a lot and had a goodtime. If that is the goal for the evening of entertainment, I can give this one a definite recommendation. A warning: this is not for anyone who is not mature enough to deal with open discussions of sex, so leave the kids at home.

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