Challenging to give up celibacy for Lent: Hartnett stars in ’40 Days and 40 Nights’

By on March 28, 2002

In the spirit of “American Pie,” the new teen comedy, “40 Days and 40 Nights” is also all-out sex. Directed by Michael Lehmann (“The Truth About Cats and Dogs”), it leaves little room for the imagination as expected.
When Matt Sullivan (Josh Hartnett) decides he is up to the challenge of giving up any sort of sexual activity for Lent nobody thinks he can manage this feat.
After getting dumped by his girlfriend, Matt decides he needs to do something to take his mind off of the break up. So, when Lent rolls around he decides to give up the thing he loves most–sex. This does not mean just sex–no kissing, touching, foreplay and no girls for forty straight days.
Known for not finishing anything, Matt is determined to live up to the sacrifice he made, though he is the only one who believes it can happen.
His co-workers and friends even start public bets as to how long he will last.
His brother, an aspiring not-too-conservative priest, also doubts his commitment. Still Matt is determined to stick to it for the full forty days.
All is going well until he meets the girl of his dreams Erica (Shannyn Sossamon, “Knight’s Tale”) in a laundromat. He tries everything he can to finish what he started and hopes that Erica will understand and wait.
With recent releases, “Pearl Harbor,” “Black Hawk Down” and “O” under his belt, “40 Days” shows a different, more comedic side to this talented young actor. Hartnett’s comedic turn as the likeable, charming character works well in this film, as does the supporting cast who keeps the audience laughing out loud.
“40 Days” brings a delightful mix of comedy and romance to the screen. Erica and Matt have an on-screen chemistry and, not to mention, unique alternatives to making love.
Do not expect an Oscar winner, but “40 Days” does what it was meant to do for its audience. It keeps you laughing and wondering what outrageous stunt will happen next.
If you are a fan of “American Pie” or “Something About Mary,” “40 Days” is one you and your friends should go check out this weekend.


About Jennifer Shuster