Starring: Josh Hartnett, Shannyn Sossamon, Paulo Costanzo
Director: Michael Lehmann
Running Time: 96 mins
40 Days And 40 Nights is an American film about a man who decides to give up sex for the 40 days of Lent, but after meeting the girl of his dreams, his situation becomes increasingly complicated.
This isn’t intended to be the world’s most formidable comedy, and nor should it, but neither does it come across as a simple, easy-going comedy, largely due to a dull and static story that fails to spark any real character interest or opportunity for big laughs. It has its moments, and if you really turn your brain off, 40 Days And 40 Nights can prove an entertaining watch, but it’s not something that makes for an hour and a half of great comedy by any means.
The biggest problem that I had with this film was that its premise just doesn’t go anywhere over the entire runtime. While it’s a fun enough idea that occasionally makes for some laughs, there’s nowhere near enough opportunity for development in the story, and that leaves the movie stuck in the same, repetitive running joke for the whole duration.
What’s more is that it’s a story that never really makes much sense. Whether it be the ridiculously jittery extent to which our main man goes during his period of abstinence, or the endless series of random women who inexplicably throw themselves at him on a constant basis, there’s nothing about the film that’s interesting or well-written enough to really grab you.
Again, that’s not a problem in some of the best comedies, but that’s because they have rapid-fire humour to keep you entertained throughout. Here, on the other hand, the comedy isn’t good enough to support the movie on its own, and as such your attention falls to a story that just doesn’t develop enough, or give even the faintest sense of realism or relatability to entice you a little more.
When it comes to the performances, there’s an enjoyable turn from Josh Hartnett in the main role, and although he may come across as a little bland at times, there’s something about the ridiculous nature of his state during the period that makes him at least fairly funny to watch. Some of his male co-stars prove slightly entertaining as well, what with their extremely laddish behaviour that’s absolutely ridiculous throughout.
However, none of the actresses here bring anything to the table. On the one hand, that’s very much because all of their characters are even more thinly written than the men, and as such there’s absolutely nothing for them to work with. On the other hand, though, I felt that there was a real lack of energy and vigour from most of the actresses to match in with the somewhat more ridiculous and lively men on screen, with Shannyn Sossamon in particular proving a very disappointing love interest, as I regularly forgot she was even a part of the movie at times.
On the whole, 40 Days And 40 Night isn’t a great movie, and while it has its moments, as well as a slightly enjoyable ridiculousness about its premise, it’s a generally dull and underwhelming affair, with awfully-written characters, a lack of good comedy, and performances that don’t do all that much to inspire you any more, and that’s why I’m giving it a 6.3.