40 Days and 40 Nights

January 28, 2012 7 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton

Plot: What’s it about?

Lodged somewhere in between Pearl Harbor and Black Hawk Down, Josh Hartnett (currently one of Hollywood’s "It" teen actors) took the time to make a movie by the name of 40 Days and 40 Nights. The question we must ask is "why". Granted, all movies can’t me some ultimately profound statement about life and death, the general well-being of life and solve every question you might have; rather this begs the question of today’s common "twenty-something’s" (both male and female) and the kind of life we’re all living. In the age of AIDS, war and about everything else that we can imagine, it seems that people are having sex, relationships (both coming together and tearing apart) and about everything else under the sun. Lest we forget, this movie takes place in one of America’s hotspots, San Francisco. This leads us to the title of the movie, which may be hard to imagine without pairs of animals working their way into our heads, which does tell of what the story is about; but it also sets the precedent for things to come (no pun intended) and trust me, this is just the beginning of the type of humor we can expect.

Matt (Josh Hartnett) is a now suddenly single male in his twenties working as a web-designer in San Francisco. He’s just been given a real dose of reality as his very steady girlfriend has given him the boot. His roommate, Ryan (Paulo Costanzo) is his only hope of trying to remain sane, though he’s more interested in seeing who he can have sex with as opposed to help out his friend. Matt then has what most people call and epiphany. An epiphany is the realization of something that makes you do the exact opposite of what you’ve been doing. In Matt’s case, he’s been sleeping with everything that moves (of the female sex, anyway) and isn’t really feeling that good about it. He seeks advice from his brother, a priest, and it just so happens that the season for Lent is fast approaching. It’s then that Matt decides to embark on a journey that will grant him no sexual pleasures at all. This includes sex, masturbation, touching, kissing, etc. and the only person who thinks he can do it is…him.

Initially, this starts out as a joke to his friends. They kid him and such, but it’s not long that they see he might be serious and all of the sudden a pool starts up over the internet (one of the perks of working in a web design firm, I imagine). As he does his laundry (he’s got nothing else to do), he meets a young woman who he’s interested in (Shannyn Sossoman), but after a few dates she can’t figure out why he won’t sleep with her (how poorly this reflects on modern society, by the way). As her pursues the relationship even further, the odds against him making his 40 days bet are starting to work against him. Women from his workplace are ticked that they don’t have "the power" anymore, his friends start offering him incentives to break his oath (to their favor, no doubt) and it’s all he can take not to give into his old girlfriend who has mysteriously entered the picture again. 40 Days and 40 Nights might not be the most original movie to come out, but it’s full of ideas that people can identify with. I myself can, too. However, I feel that the movie borders a little too much on college/toilet humor to be taken really seriously. A good message, but bad delivery. In any case, it is entertaining and worth a rental at the very least.

Video: How does it look?

Shown in a 1.85:1 anamorphic transfer, this lives up to the way most of Disney’s transfers look (for a day and date release anyway). The colors are bright and somewhat vivid, with plenty of great shots of San Francisco. Flesh tones appear to be right on target and there is only a bit of over-saturation during some scenes that take away from the overall clarity of the film. This isn’t outstanding by any means, but it’s not bad either. The sharpness of the picture, combined with the sheer number of undressed women in the film warrant you paying very close attention to the way this looks on DVD. And that’s what it’s all about, right?

Audio: How does it sound?

The Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack won’t light up your system. In fact, I had to look at my receiver to make sure that a 5.1 track was included and not a Surround track. Indeed it is 5.1, but you won’t get a whole lot of action out of your setup. And you shouldn’t. This is a teen/romantic comedy that really isn’t made for sound, so while technology is on the side of this DVD, there are plenty of other movies out there (newer and older) that sound much better than this. Don’t be disappointed, mind you, as it’s not bad, it just doesn’t stand out as sounding that great.

Supplements: What are the extras?

The movie wasn’t that great of a hit when it’s theatrical run ended, but an audio commentary with the Director, Producer and Screenwriter is included. While they seem to enjoy the movie, its clear that they really enjoyed working with Josh Hartnett. Granted, even his rising star power couldn’t do much for the movie, but they seem to have had a blast doing it and we do learn a few things about the shoot in the process. A teaser trailer is also included.

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