I wanted to know if the movie was a dumb as the trailers made it seem. All the trailers seemed to be appealing to the mushy RomCom / American Pie crowd. I watched it to find out what the trailers are not telling us.
What it’s about without giving any spoilers away
40 Days and 40 Nights is a romantic comedy where the young programmer Matt (Josh Hartnett) spends six months trying to heal his wounds after breaking up with his ex-girlfriend the beautiful Nicole (Vanessa Shaw).
He does it on the principle of “like cures like”. So spends all of his free time in clubs, constantly meeting with girls for a non-committal one night stands. After the endless cycle of available beauties Matt finds that getting over his ex is not getting any easier. He pours his soul out to his brother, a priest (Adam TRIZ), but he can’t help.
When Matt once again comes to church, it dawns on him that he must cleanse his body and mind, refusing for a time what is for him almost the main thing in life – sex. After this revelation he decides upon a forty-day fast. It prohibits not only sex, but also any sense of pleasure; hugging, kissing and masturbation.
The rhythm of life for the protagonist changes dramatically. Matt throws out all the erotic magazines and films, and halts his endless bouts of heading down to the club in the evening, he instead favours sitting at home and engaged in a favourite hobby – modelling. For which he is working on completing all the projects he started in the past, and taking up a few new ones.
It feels like a good and happy life, however Matt’s friends and colleagues do not believe that the boy is able to withstand the test.
They make bets on what day it will fall through, and some even try to push him into abandoning the vow. Matt remains steadfast in his decision but It becomes much harder when he falls in love with a wonderful girl named Erica (Shannyn Sossamon).
Rumour has it that Josh Hartnett actually made himself go through forty days of abstinence, to get a better feel for the state of his hero.
Whatever it was, he created an image is sympathy and respect, and, of course, laugh out loud comedy. Of course, the subject of most of the jokes may seem questionable, but it does not interfere with the passion to follow the experiences so vividly played by the main character.
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What did I think?
I would have liked to have seen the idea played straight. To have set up the idea that a man whom is good looking and personable (and finds it easy to pick up women) to go 40 days and 40 nights without kissing, hugging, sex or masturbation. I would have been nice to see how his mentality was altered, and if it would have helped him get over his ex.
Would he have even noticed after a week? It would have also been nice to see if Josh Hartnett is skilled enough to play it straight. I doubt it personally, but I would have watched to find out.
For me, it is a shame that they had to add the silliness because it is not really very funny. This sort of thing rarely is. Romantic comedies are often more than giggles, but I do understand why a large part of the movie watching audience will like this sort of thing.