Josh Hartnett, one of the fastest growing young stars, takes on one of is first solo lead role in a while in 40 Days and 40 Nights, a sex comedy that manages to be nearly as funny as American Pie while being more romantic, more mature, and a whole lot of everything.
Hartnett stars as Matt, a sex-driven young individual who, though finding plenty of women to fool around with, is still depressed over the breakup with his girlfriend six months ago. However, he gets it into his head to avoid all sexual content for Lent, but when his friends raise the stakes by starting a high-scale bet, and he meets what could potentially be the girl of his dreams, he realizes that things could be a lot harder than he thought.
Considered a heartthrob by many, I, as a guy, can only say that he is a pretty good actor, as he has shown in movies like The Virgin Suicides and Black Hawk Down (we won't mention Pearl Harbor). He does a pretty good job in 40 Days and 40 Nights, although it is obvious comedy isn't his strong suit. He's good, but maybe overdoes it a little bit on the stuttering, maybe taking after Jason Biggs or something. Either way, he's fun to watch on screen as he goes from situation to situation, and he fits his character well.
The movie has a very well written character acted out by Paolo Costanzo, who most will recognize as the sarcastic smoker in Road Trip. He plays a pretty similar character here only with a little more maturity and a lot more funny dialogue. In contrast, 40 Days and 40 Nights also has a very poorly written character, that being the female lead Erica, who is played by Shannyn Sossamon (the not-so-English-looking princess in A Knight's Tale). I'm sure she is a fine actress but her character has nearly no depth here, and we get to see her range from extremely emotional (she can't believe she didn't get sex on the first date and she gets angry that she wasn't told about the bet - after just the second date) to downright pathetic, as she gets to have a nice orgasm from a flower. Yes, a flower. All said, it is quite obvious that 40 Days and 40 Nights is...
Written and directed by guys. It is apparent from the get-go, so let's just say it here: Men, if you have to see a romance comedy, you should see this one, because 40 Days and 40 Nights has more sex and nudity than most other romance comedies combined, including American Pie. The movie is not ashamed to show the female figure, thankfully, and it doesn't mind that every character in the film is sex hungry (how many computer companies have so many beautiful women working in such attractive clothing?). Okay, so 40 Days and 40 Nights isn't the most realistic film around, but it is entertaining.
The movie has many laugh-out-loud funny parts, some of which are comparable to the more disgusting sex comedies that have come out in recent years. Amazingly, 40 Days and 40 Nights manages to accomplish a funny form of sex humor without being outrageously gross. It truly is a more mature film, but that doesn't mean it's made for more mature audiences, or just guys. It has a real romantic theme to it (unlike the "get laid" approach in American Pie, etc.) but women will also love the humor; and guys will just love the humor.
40 Days and 40 Nights is one of the genuinely funniest films to come out in a long time, and it does so in a fashion that equally pleases men and women. The lead female character and the supposedly-romantic flower scene leave little to be desired for, but 40 Days and 40 Nights is still a big winner.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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