banner image

:: Forty Days and Forty Nights

It was bound to happen eventually. The creation of another cinematic sex comedy with all the trimmings: sharp script, sexy setting, and of course, spunky stars. But hang on guys, where's the sex? Set in the heart of hedonistic San Francisco, 40 Days and 40 Nights tells the tale of twenty-something, Matt Sullivan (Hartnett), a web designer by day and a sex addict by night. Not dealing with the break up between himself and his beloved girlfriend, Nicole (Shaw), Matt turns to one-night stands as a form of therapy. But something's not right. For some reason, his casual sex flings fail to soothe his broken heart, instead triggering major panic attacks and hallucinations that severely affect his bedroom performance.

Not surprisingly, this proves to be quite off-putting to partners and conceding to the fact that he has a problem; Matt decides to do something about it. Training to be a priest, Matt’s brother, John (Trese), finds himself counsellor to his sibling‘s troubles, yet has a hard time offering advice on the matter due to an eternal vow of celibacy. It is on his visits to Church, however, that Matt learns of Lent and decides that he too shall fast over the religious period; starving his sexual appetite for forty days in the hope that it may lead him to sexual normality. Overcoming his roommate, Ryan's (Costanzo) lack of faith and his work colleagues’ wisecracks, Matt conducts himself with great discipline, never letting his guard down despite an obvious increase in female propositions. Nonetheless, his office buddies are convinced that he will eventually succumb and unknown to Matt set up a betting syndicate that soon expands and gets posted on the World Wide Web. Enter Erica (Sossamon), a web-nanny who spends her days filtering the web from distasteful material that may offend innocent children. Single in 'Cisco herself, Erica meets Matt at the local laundrette, sparks fly and unbeknownst to Erica, Matt finds himself fighting his animalistic urges more than ever. It seems that everything around him is trying its darnedest to make him renege on a deal that was originally supposed to alleviate turmoil not compound it.

40 Days and 40 Nights, takes its audiences on a trip through the sex-starved male psyche but there is nothing profound or unique here about the phenomenon. A mature perspective on the subject seems out of the question with the endless predictable jibes that ricochet around the dot-com office. Furthermore, Matt's middle-aged boss, Jerry (Dunne) annoyingly airs his own frustration to his employees throughout the film, complaining openly about his wife's lazy libido and acting in all kinds of perverted sex-crazed ways. While elements of the script are witty and sharp, the acting is often laborious and diverts itself too easily to a form of slapstick, physical humour. Don't get me wrong, for some, the idea of a man aching for sex may be worth a giggle, however, the idea of a man and all his work-mates and family and friends utterly absorbed by the notion of sex for over a month is surely a little mind-boggling. For those who enjoy a shallow, predictable and immature night at the movies this is your film of the year. Others who like a little substance in their cinema should probably think about going out for dinner instead.

Screening on general release.