|40 Days and 40 Nights
|Miramax Home Entertainment
Hartnett, Shannyn Sossamon, Griffin Dunne, Paulo Costanzo, Adam Trese,
Emmanuelle Vaugier, Lorin Heath, Aaron Trainor, Glenn Fitzgerald, Monet
Mazur, Christine Chatelain, Keegan Connor Tracy, Michael C. Maronna,
I'm going to give up Josh Harnett movies for Lent.
I'm serious. I'm not even a very good Catholic, and I suppose if I
were, I'd actually be giving up something that means something to me.
Making a sacrifice. Rather than contemplating -- with some glee, may I
add -- sacrificing director Michael Lehmann and writer Rob Perez in a
voodoo ritual to try and excise any memory of this wretched film.
Hartnett stars as Matt Sullivan, a young web designer hung up on his
ex-girlfriend and so petrified of living without her that he
hallucinates the sky opening up and swallowing him any time he's having
sex with a girl. Which apparently would be every night of his young
life. Living in a fantasy San Francisco filled with nothing but
Victoria's Secret models in skimpy, tight clothing, Matt is tormented
by his failure as a boyfriend and, in a moment of passion (supposedly
of the spiritual kind), he decides that the path to happiness lies in
giving up sex for Lent. No kissing, no fondling, no self-love -- he's
going cold turkey. In the fashion of all wannabe romantic comedies, he
then meets the perfect girl, a wacky free spirit named Erica (brought
to something approximating life by "A Knight's Tale" waif Shannyn
Sossamon). While his friends and co-workers run a high stakes pool,
waiting for him to fail, Matt discovers true love without the sweaty
Hartnett does his best, delivering an earnest and at times charming
performance in a film that manages to be sacrilegious as well as
mind-numbingly stupid and offensive. However, nothing can save this
movie from its own premise. It is packed with gratuitous nudity,
crudity, and cheap tawdry sex cliches, showcasing the worst side of
guys, who are almost to a mab shown as shallow horndogs only out for a
piece of tail. And this includes Matt's brother, the aspiring priest.
The women are cartoonish two-dimensional fantasy figures with no depth.
I openly admit that I spent two-thirds of the movie fantasying about
tying Sossamon to a chair next to the craft services table and forcing
her to eat a sandwich or 12. Griffin Dunne is wasted in a sad and
pathetic supporting role as Matt's boss, who tries to take the same vow
of celibacy, thinking it will lead to some kind of power trip with his
While striving for light romantic comedy, the film drags on far longer
than it should, and piles on the ridiculous until, by the climax (and I
do mean climax), it is so far removed from reality (or good taste) that
you'll be wondering what planet Lehmann was on when he decided to make
it. Not this one, and I'm not sure I'd want to share it with him if it
Visually, the disc is decent, if nothing to write home about. The color
palette isn't as saturated as it could be, but flesh tones and blacks
remain good throughout. The print had almost no noticeable flaws, but
some edge enhancement was visible, albeit it’s nothing that distracts
too much from the picture. In terms of the sound mix, the songs are
treated well, and dialogue is clear and easily understood throughout,
but ambient sounds are strangely muted. The sound mix really does
little to add texture to the film, and leaves little or no impression.
Dialogue is pretty firmly centered, with the rears being largely
neglected. Your subwoofer will not get any kind of workout with this
one, but then, given the subject matter, that's hardly surprising.
In terms of extras, the disc includes a commentary track from Lehmann
and Perez, which does its best to stay frothy and light, with little
depth, not unlike the movie itself. Nothing in particular stands out in
terms of what is covered. The animated menus are easy to navigate and
subdued, and the disc includes the standard trailer and plugs for other
Miramax and Buena Vista releases.
If you're a die-hard Hartnett fan, then this might be worth renting.
Otherwise, I'd say do yourself a favor and skip it.
|English Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
Trailer; Feature Commentary With Director Michael Lehmann, producer
Michael London and screenwriter Robert Perez; English Closed-Captioning
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||32" Sony Trinitron