40 Days & 40 Nights
Starring: Josh Harnett, Shannyn Sossamon
Costarring: Paulo Costanzo (love), Maggie Gyllenhaal
Times Watched: I'll say about 5?
Genre: Romantic Comedy / Dude Comedy
RT / Metacritic: 38% / 53
Road To Ownership: Back when DVDs were stupid expensive - like $40 a pop - my dad used to grab us them at an awesome used DVD store in Toronto. Although I'm really not sure if this came from there or not, I think I spied a Blockbuster previously viewed label on it. So I probably bought it. I do remember quite distinctly seeing the movie in theatres.
The Plot: Matt is shattered after his dream girl breaks up with him...which causes him to bang anything that moves? But he starts to feel empty and vacuous, so he decides to take a vow of celibacy for lent. 100% celibacy - no kissing, touching, nothing, including self-relief. Enter Erica, the cutesy urban chica he meets at the laundry mat shortly into his vow. What follows from there is a will he / won't he last the 40 days and 40 nights, and how will Erica cope with the whole scenario?
The Good & The Bad: The reason why I even keep this movie in my collection is not because it's particularly good, or funny (I barely cracked a smile last night), but because it's *quintessentially* 90's. There is a great (no joke) Ashton Kutcher / Amanda Peet vehicle called 'A Lot Like Love' that captures the spirit of 90s movies, but this movie IS 90s. Matt and Erica work at 'dotcom's', they visit and design 'web pages', and 'everything is on the internet'. These hipster 20-somethings love their coffee shops, are sexually liberated, and have that quirky but hip 90s style down to a pat. Plus Shannyn Sossamon is fricking gorgeous in this film - it makes me want to chop my hair off and start donning paperboy caps and full length cargo skirts.
Now, watching this movie for the first time in probably about four or five years, the humour was really lost on me this time around. In fact, the entire movie is so implausible, it's the truly laughable part! If you can let go of literally how ridiculous every single scene is, and how there is absolutely no reason for Erica to be interested in Matt after all his freakiness throughout the film, then perhaps you'll buy into the bizarro romance at hand here, but seriously! The plot jumps and skips with absolutely no sense.
This movie is also sort of a precursor to the 'dude film' that has dominated the 21st century so far. There is plenty of T&A, and a shitload of inappropriate workplace behaviour, and tons of sex jokes and incidents. In fact the movie paints guys as sex-crazed maniacs and girls as walking sex bombs. It's just intensely bizarre and random.
For me, the 90s element saves the film from total destruction, but it's really not a 'good' film, at all :) Josh Hartnett at his hottest though.
Best Scene: Tough call. I enjoy Erica and Matt's initial laundry non-date, and I always laugh at Matt fondling Mrs. Butterworth on the last day of his bet. In general the scenes with his coworkers and the bagel guy are quality.
Worst Scene: Toss-up between Matt's sea of titties dream at the end or the orchid-gasm between him and Erica.
Best Character: I actually enjoy Josh Hartnett's performance in this movie. Shannyn may be gorgeous, but her character would drive me nuts if I actually knew her. I also love Paulo Costanzo in general, and kind of am in love with Gleen Fitzgerald, despite his horrible taste in jackets.
Worst Character: Jerry, the boss at this supposed dotcom. He decides to go on a vow of celibacy as well and just turns really, really creepy. Not funny.
Soundtrack of Our Lives: Chockful of 90s alt rock, including Semisonic's 'Chemistry' and Everclear's 'Everything is Wonderful Now'.
If You Like This You'll Like: Hm. Modern-day comedies about sex that are a lot more clever, like 40-year-old virgin or Knocked Up.
FINAL GRADE: 2.5/5
Updated to add: Wait what? This movie is apparently from 2002? But it feels so 1999! Ah well I guess we were still quite naively getting used to the internet at the turn of the Millennium.