40 Days and 40 Nights is certainly an OK romantic comedy with a unique premise but the execution could’ve been better. The saving grace is for the cast from top to bottom with Hartnett, Sossamon and the variety of quirky supporting characters. With the regards to the Blu-ray, the picture is pretty bad and I doubt it’s much better than the DVD version while the audio is OK but nothing special.
Genre(s): Comedy, Romance
Lionsgate | R – 95 min. – $14.99 | September 6, 2011
Directed by: Michael Lehmann
Writer(s): Robert Perez (written by)
Cast: Josh Hartnett, Shannyn Sossamon, Vinessa Shaw, Paulo Costanzo, Maggie Gyllenhaal
Theatrical Release Date: March 1, 2002
Features: Audio Commentary, Trailer
Number of Discs: 1
Audio: English (DTS-HD MA 5.1)
Video: 1080p/Widescreen 1.78
Subtitles: English SDH, English, Spanish
Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
THE MOVIE – 2.75/5
Plot: On the heels of a disastrous breakup and a string of unfulfilling romantic conquests, Matt Sullivan (JOSH HARTNETT) yearns to become a better, more complete person. In the midst of his despair, he chooses to test himself by making a vow of no sex for 40 days and 40 nights. With everyone betting he won’t finish – and a seductive new girl in his life (SHANNYN SOSSAMON) – Matt is pushed to the limit.
I remember seeing this in theaters when it was released way back when… in 2002 and even then I felt the entire plot was too thin to carry over for feature length but worse yet the romantic aspects just didn’t quite add up. This isn’t to say Josh Hartnett or Shannyn Sossamon didn’t give it their all, in fact they did share at least some chemistry at times but by the end I really didn’t care about either one of them and whether or not they get together… of course we all know they will since despite the premise it’s not an entirely unconventional romantic comedy.
I guess where 40 Days and 40 Nights does find success is in the tried and true writing of the quirky supporting characters from the creepily over-sexed parents, the weird yet charming roommate/ladies’ man to the wild array of characters at the workplace including a boss waiting to be slapped with a sexual harassment lawsuit. But it is Hollywood and we needn’t burden ourselves with logic, we just want to see the two cute young kids get together in the end and our dates will maybe, just maybe, give us a reward for sitting through it all. Ahem, I think I got a bit personal there…
Anyway, the film was directed by Michael Lehmann who directed the utterly awful Because I Said So (starring Diane Keaton and Mandy Moore) along with several TV shows, the latest being “True Blood”. He also helmed Heathers, Airheads and… Hudson Hawk. It is an interesting resume to be sure. Getting sole credit for the screenplay is Rob Perez making his debut.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 1.25/5
All the disc includes is an Audio Commentary with Director Michael Lehmann, Producer Michael London and Screenwriter Robert Perez and a teaser trailer (1:04; SD).
There are also previews for The Switch, From Prada to Nada, Swingers and Immigration Tango.
VIDEO – 2.75/5
40 Days and 40 Nights is presented in 1080p high-definition and a 1.78 aspect ratio (original theatrical AR was 1.85). At times this transfer looks downright awful beginning with the opening credits (when not in home video mode) which is riddled with artifacts and pixilation. While the rest of the film looks a tad better, I still could see plenty of artifacts throughout. Also the detail levels aren’t the best although close-ups do fair somewhat better but not much. I realize this isn’t a top priority catalogue title and it’s a quick release/shelf filler but it’s not that old so I expected at least an adequate transfer and one that is noticeably better than the DVD version.
AUDIO – 3.25/5
The 5.1 DTS-HD MA track is ordinary but OK for this type of film. There isn’t a whole lot of depth outside of the comedic score by Rolfe Kent (Wedding Crashers, Ghosts of Girlfriends Past) but dialogue is clear so given the genre it’s serviceable.
OVERALL – 2.25/5
Overall, 40 Days and 40 Nights is certainly an OK romantic comedy with a unique premise but the execution could’ve been better. The saving grace is for the cast from top to bottom with Hartnett, Sossamon and the variety of quirky supporting characters. With the regards to the Blu-ray, the picture is pretty bad and I doubt it’s much better than the DVD version while the audio is OK but nothing special.
Brian Oliver, The Movieman
Check out some more screen caps by going to page 2.