Prayer Focus
Movie Review

40 Days and 40 Nights

MPAA Rating: R for strong sexual content, nudity and language

Reviewed by: Sarah Ayotte

Extremely Offensive
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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Romance Comedy
Year of Release:

Starring: Josh Hartnett, Shannyn Sossamon, Vinessa Shaw, Monet Mazur, Griffin Dunne | Directed by: Michael Lehmann | Produced by: Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Michael London | Written by: Steve Pink, D.V. DeVincentis, Rob Perez, Robert Perez | Distributor: Miramax Films

Full of inappropriate sexual gags and obscene plot lines, “40 Days and 40 Nights” is a movie to be avoided.

In order to get over his last girlfriend, Matt (Josh Hartnett) decides to give up all sexual activities for lent (the time of year when Catholics and some other Christian groups traditionally give up a certain pleasure for 40 days, in remembrance of the time Jesus spent being tempted in the desert.) His plans backfire when he meets the girl of his dreams (Shannyn Sosamoon) who has difficulty understanding his vow. The situation becomes even more complicated when his roommate starts a world wide betting ring-via the Internet—based on Matt’s endeavour. Throw Matt’s vixen ex into the mix, and you’ve got the perfect recipe for disaster.

With many inappropriately explicit scenes and discussions, “40 Days” enters every avenue of extra-marital sex in a shockingly casual manner. The premise itself is decidedly immoral, and presents it as abnormal for anyone to go without sex for that long a period of time. Nowhere is abstaining until marriage even discussed. The willingness of all characters in the movie (including Matt’s parents) to discuss explicitly sexual matters in very immoral terms is appalling. The whole film makes sexual abstinence out to be a mistake than can only cause you problems in your relationships. In reality, this could not be further from the truth. The truth is that God created sex for marriage only, and any sexual activity outside of marriage will create problems (rather than the other way around). The film makes a mockery of all abstinence, including the vow taken by Matt’s brother, a Catholic priest-in-training. The film teaches that all attempts to remain abstinent are futile, and so should not be attempted.

Including several situations, numerous visually extensive sex scenes, and even disillusioned dreams that are completely inappropriate, the shock value of this film has no end. It should be avoided.

Viewer Comments
Comments below:
Negative—This film could have been a great film. The idea is simple enough a young man sets out to abstain from all kinds of sexual indulgence for lent. I knew that this film could have gone one way or the other…

1. It could have been a bitter sweet comedy/drama about teen angst or

2. It could have been made into something to cash in at the box office. Well, you guessed it no 2 won and the result? A sick comedy in the vein of “American Pie,” “Porky’s”, etc. Pornography, homosexuality, crude language and sexual encounters fill this poor attempt of a film which I found about as tasteful as eating someone elses sick… well I watched someone elses sick!
My Ratings: [Extremely Offensive / 2]
—Chris St. John, age 30
Negative—This movie probably started out with a script even more offensive than the movie as filmed. It is not worth wasting your money or time on, even if you were into ungodly, evil films, this one is poorly executed in a secular sense. The editing is strange and the filmmakers seem unsure how they can pitch this film and not have intense Christian opposition. So first they try to divide Protestants from Catholics, by having a character’s priestly brother kiss a nun, etc., next they try to make fun of San Franciscans and the Internet industry by portraying these as the scene of a modern day Sodom and Gomorrah, so that the rest of us can feel superior, but then they try to portray, by ambiguous scripting, the main character’s “new squeeze” as a virgin, before she gets involved with him, yet she is exposed to pornography all day as a “cybernanny”.

Whilst I agree with the main review as to what the movie’s overall message is—relationships must have sex—once you reach a certain age and can provide your own moral compass to the people portrayed in the film, they are simply pathetic. I find it difficult to believe that anyone would want to be any of the characters in the film or indeed, imitate their behaviour.

This is not even an “eye candy” film, except for the women’s bodies and much worse is immediately available in Playboy. This film fails even in its own terms—it is boring. I see this as a film that failed in the shoot, but was sought to be revived by deft editing, hence the continuity problems.

I also see it as a film that has sought to divide the Christian community on basic sexual morals. In that sense, it is an insidious film in intent, redeemed by poor execution, but presents a warning as to the Devil’s desire to foment sectarianism on core moral issues to further his cause.
My Ratings: [Very Offensive / 1½]
—Bob, age 38
Negative—I’m pretty open minded to this kind of stuff, but this movie really was a little messed up and unrealistic. The entire plot revolves around sex and shows a lack of creativity within the directing of the movie. It also made it seem like its normal for a guy to go out and have sex with a new girl every night. It has some funny moments but is not a great movie.
My Ratings: [Very Offensive / 3]
—Mark, age 19
Negative—There was nothing very redeeming about this movie. The star was not celibate because he felt sexual promiscuity was wrong but because he pretty much wanted to get back at his ex-girlfriend. And when he meets another girl, who is supposed to be “nicer” than his ex, she can’t understand why he “doesn’t just want to have sex with me.” There is an overall negative response to his choice and the church is shown as being dirty as well. Not a good movie.
My Ratings: [Extremely Offensive / 1]
—Jenny, age 21
Negative—This movie is not about not having sex it is all about sex. There are many full sex scenes and many scenes of completely naked women. Everything sex is mentioned in this movie. It could almost be placed in mild pornography.
My Ratings: [Extremely Offensive / 1]
—Jennifer, age 28
Comments from young people
Negative—If you like this movie, go see your pastor today! It’s the sickest film production I’ve ever seen. Everything about the movie us sex and nothing but sex. It’s extremely offensive to young viewers and shouldn’t be watch by anybody. Don’t waste your money… it’s not worth it.
My Ratings: [Extremely Offensive / 1]
—Andrew, age 16
Negative—Sickest movie I’ve ever seen in my life. I had to look away from the screen sooooo many times. I would recommend it to… nobody. Save your ten bucks, it’s not worth it.
My Ratings: [Extremely Offensive / 1½]
—Jennifer Bussiere, age 15
Negative—Usually I love Josh Hartnett (he’s the reason I went to see it) but not in this movie. I mean it had its funny moments, but faking an orgasm? Come on, surely they can do better than that. It’s a pretty sick movie, I don’t recommend it at all.
My Ratings: [Extremely Offensive / 1½]
—Toni Cole, age 14