40 Days and 40 Nights

Directed by Michael Lehmann. USA. 2002.


Talking Pictures alias talkingpix.co.uk
 
 


 
 

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I don't know about the rest of you 20-25 year olds'' out there, but I find that most days, I  manage to find my own way out of bed, even dressing myself without taxing my mental facilities to the point of collapse. I have been known to operate a motor vehicle without mowing people down in the streets. I can even read books without pictures, solve math problems without using all of my fingers and toes, and be amused by jokes that don't feature farts as the punch line and I am becoming increasingly irritated by Hollywood spewing out film after film that are clearly saying that the exact opposite is true. 40 Days and 40 Nights is no exception to that trend. 

40 Days and 40 Nights is the story of the young marketing designer Matt Sullivan. Despondent over his recent breakup with longtime love Nicole, he is filling the void in his life with night after night of casual encounters with different women. When he finds this isn't helping to mend his broken heart, he turns to his priest-in-training brother for help. Together, they hit on it. Sex is the problem, so Matt will give it up for Lent.

As Matt Sullivan, Josh Hartnett (Blackhawk Down, Blow Dry) struggles to bring a touch of maturity to this infantile part. He is completely wasted here on an unlikeable part that anyone could have played. At no time do you feel any sort of empathy for Matt, as it is this characters' infantile attitudes towards relationships, and his treatment of women as nothing more than objects that leads him into his emotional mess, (if you want to call it that) in the first place. Hartnett's caliber was amply proven in Pearl Harbor (though the movie itself was awful) and Blackhawk Down. This role is hopefully nothing more than a contractual obligation. Some screenwriter out there needs to step up, and create more parts worthy of this actors talent. 

40 Days and 40 Nights. All Rights Reserved.In her role of royalty in A Knight's Tale Shannyn Sossamon was absolutely intriguing. She held star Heath Ledger's heart and every audience members attention. She is far and away better than the role she is appearing in here. As Erica, the girl who threatens to break Matt's vow to last 40 Days and 40 Nights without being with a woman, her part is absolutely brainless. After the steady stream of inane events she endures being with Matt, the audience is left wondering if she actually cares for him, or if it's merely a case of having all the romantic sense of a cinder block. I'm sick of movies where good actresses are wasted on parts that allow them to be nothing more than an object, or the milksop nice girl. The latter category is where Sossamon's nice girl falls. The problem with that is since every other character in this movie is sophomoric at best it becomes a tough call to say if Erica is actually a nice girl, or just appears that way due to the amalgam of idiots the script surrounds her with.

Men With Brooms has just come out into our local theatre. It looks like fun. It even features a young woman in a role where not only is she a physiotherapist; but she's got brains to boot. Now I don't know about the rest of you young women out there, but I like going to see a movie, where women are not made to look like idiots. If Canadian film makers can grasp that concept why can't the film making empire south of our border do the same? Before it opened, I didn't think Men With Brooms would last too long in theatres, as it was competing directly with Hollywood releases like this. After listening to several conversations after viewing 40 Days and 40 Nights I'm not so sure. They were all variations on the theme of being extremely offended at the fact that every female character in this movie was used for nothing other than making the men happy. Take note Hollywood. Keep putting out sexist tripe like this, and Canadian cinema really will have a chance. We don't want to be insulted anymore. 40 Days and 40 Nights is juvenile at best, chauvinistic at worst, and all around a waste of theatre space. 
 

Jen Johnston
 
 
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