40 Days and 40 Nights (2002)

(On VHS, May 2002) Josh Hartnett has never been a truly dynamic performer, and his turn in this sex Comedy comes close to sinking the picture. His puppy-dog charm manages to save it from utter collapse, but what we’re left with is a completely average film that will quickly fade from memory. The premise (abstinence for Lent) itself isn’t completely compelling. Without providing too much information on your reviewer’s sex life, going 40 days without sex doesn’t seem like too much of a sacrifice. (The nature of a protagonist for whom this would be a Big Deal is enough to make one go—ew!) To the screenwriter’s credit, he manages to sustain the premise until the end—though frankly, only a few scenes stand out as being particularly funny. The last 30 minutes of the film get mired into standard romantic plot shticks. (Your reviewer is a bit of a thicke in these matters, but not jumping right into bed with a potential paramour wouldn’t seem to be that much of a problem. Maybe it’s a San Francisco thing.) Then again, everyone in this film seems to be working in offices where sexual harassment laws seem to be unknown. For the rest of us, though, 40 Days & 40 Nights is a tepid fantasy that will quickly evaporate without a trace. Well, maybe aside from being an early film in the Shannyn Sossamon oeuvre; her Goth-girl personae is thin, but compelling.

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