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40 Days and 40 Nights Review

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Dumped by his girlfriend, the hapless Matt (Josh Hartnett) embarks on a marathon of one-night stands. Loathing his shallow existence, he decides to give up sex for Lent - a plan somewhat hampered by the arrival of the lovely Erica (Shannyn Sossamon). Can he go 40 days and 40 nights without doing the dirty in-out thing?

★★★★★

So let's just get this straight. Josh Hartnett is getting too much sex, and we're meant to feel sorry for him? Next thing you know, the guy'll win the lottery and score the winner in the Cup Final. Then he'll really have our pity.

That Michael Lehmann's farce just about rises above such a ludicrous dilemma is testament principally to its very amiable cast and a screenplay that is sprinkled with astute observation.

As a comedian, Hartnett is adequate, battling with his friends (who have opened a book on his failure), untimely erections and frustrated female colleagues. Unfortunately, while in better comic hands (say, Lee Evans') this would have been an engaging romp, the result is rather humdrum, livened only by Sossamon - a woman apparently so damn erogenous that simply wafting a flower in the vague direction of her crotch drives her to orgasm. Oh, were it so easy.

A neat subversion of the teen comedy that's let down by a miscast Hartnett and a savagely miscalculated climactic scene (oo-er) which actually sees our hero getting raped. Sorry, but it does. Oh, for the acerbic wit of the Lehmann of Heathers fame…