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40 Days and 40 Nights (R)
Miramax

I admit it. I laughed at the boner scenes in this lightweight sex comedy. And I laughed at a bunch of the raunchy one-liners. And I loved the scene where the main guy, played by Josh Hartnett (Blackhawk Down) makes love to Erica (Shannyn Sossamon), the girl of his dreams, without technically touching her. And I enjoyed much of the visual fantasy in the film.

Then, in retrospect, I got really disgusted with myself. It was like eating one of those gigantic Nestle Crunch bars in a darkened theater and feeling sick afterward. How could I have enjoyed this film? Everyone in it is a self-centered, superficial prick. All the women are objectified. All the guys are heavy breathers. Religion is mocked. San Francisco is a dotcom porn den with no street people, just trendy restaurants and huge offices with washed brick walls and fabulous views. And with the exception of one fat guy, the butt of all office jokes, everyone within this director's vision is beautiful as in Victoria's Secret beautiful. Had I seen this film when I was 15, and were I a horny male, I might dream of working some day at a dotcom where nobody ever really works but everybody gets rich anyway, where the guys just stand around acting out adolescent fantasies and the girls all dress like hookers.

Essentially, 40 Days and 40 Nights is about ejaculation. Yep. The build up, the fluids, the condom, it's all there, all obsessed over for two hours in kitschy colors and clever dialogue by a bunch of smartass 20-somethings with nothing better to obsess about. Did I mention that the film's central conceit is Josh's vow of celibacy for Lent? To get over the disappointment of his breakup with fire-breathing Nicole (Vinessa Shaw), he will give up sex for 40 days. Under normal circumstances, he would otherwise be getting laid every night. Just like in real life, right?

40 Days and 40 Nights is way too clever for its own good. Josh Hartnett is cute, dumb and bumbling. Shannyn Sossamon is gorgeous and seems intelligent but has nothing intelligent to say. When the 40 days are up and they finally get it on, well, you just kind of feel sorry for her. Then you just want to go home and throw up.

-- Kathryn Eastburn

  • 40 Days and 40 Nights is way too clever for its own good.

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