40 Days and 40 Nights: Two Wasted Hours
- Holly McClure Movie Reviewer
- 2002 17 Feb
40 Days and 40 Nights - R
Best for: Twenty-somethings who enjoy movies about people having sex.
What it's about: Six months after Matt Sullivan (Josh Hartnett) breaks up with his girlfriend, he finds himself having a number of meaningless sexual encounters in hopes that they will help him forget about his ex. In confessing his sins to his brother, who's preparing to be a priest, Matt gets the idea to give up sex for Lent. The simple rules aren't based so much on religion as they are basic desires: no touching, kissing, foreplay, fooling around, self-gratification -- nothing to do with sex.
Matt thinks he has everything under control until he discovers that his friends have posted his vow of celibacy on the Internet, and people are placing bets on when he'll have sex. Naturally, he meets Erica (Shannyn Sossamon), a beautiful woman who puts his vow of celibacy to the supreme test.
The good: Hartnett is a talented, handsome and charismatic actor who delivers a good performance but who should have passed over this horrendous script.
The not-so-good: Aside from the lame premise that all twenty-something career-minded youth want (or think about) sex, the story takes perverted liberties in several areas. The entire movie disrespectfully handles mature themes of abstinence, sex, chastity, pornography, friendship, dating/professional relationships and the Catholic faith.
The fact that Matt's brother falls into temptation with a nun after listening to Matt's confessions is bad enough, but minimizing and even ignorantly equating the temptation of Jesus in the wilderness to being tempted with sex crosses the "entertainment" line and borders on sacrilege.
I was appalled that throughout the movie. Matt is made to look like an idiot for wanting to abstain from sex. His friends and coworkers razz him; even his girlfriend acts hurt when she discovers he won't have sex with her.
Offensive language and behavior: Lots of sexual dialogue and innuendoes, an abundant use of the "F"-word, numerous mild obscenities, one religious profanity and several religious exclamations. Covers of pornographic videos and magazines showing breasts and buttocks. A porn Web site briefly shows women with bare breasts.
Sexual situations:: Numerous sexual innuendoes, situations and scenes, several of which are worth noting because parents need to realize just how "adult" this movie really is. Matt uses a flower to stimulate his girlfriend during sex. Full and partial female nudity occurs throughout the movie. A couple of dream sequences where Matt imagines naked women surrounding him. Matt tries to throw a used condom out a window but it sticks to the glass. Several visible erections are seen underneath Matt's clothing. A couple of scenes show him having actual sex. Dialogue and noise implies Matt's having marathon sex with Erica. Matt goes to the bathroom and hears his boss masturbating in the next stall; he then hands him a porn magazine. A woman spreads her legs to expose her panties and fishnet stockings. Two women French-kiss in front of Matt. An abundance of partial nudity, with sheer tops, cleavage and the Britney-bare-abdomen look.
Violence: Matt's shirt catches fire in a restaurant. Matt is shown falling down, jumping out a window and handcuffed to his bed.
Parental advisory: It would be a shame to let your immature or underage teenager see this movie because of the strong sexual and adult themes. This is a story that has blatant disregard for morals, religion or the subject of abstinence and is for mature adults only.
Bottom Line: My college-age daughter went to 40 Days and 40 Nights with her boyfriend, thinking it would show the redemptive side of abstinence and valuing a relationship. Instead, they were both shocked at how raunchy, sexually degrading and silly the premise is. As my daughter stated, "Mom, this movie makes it look like all people in their 20s want to do is have sex, but in fact, statistics prove the opposite." Needless to say she was offended by this movie and didn't like it. I predict this movie will be gone from the theaters in 40 days (and nights)!