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40 Days and 40 Nights

Where to Watch 40 Days and 40 Nights


40 Days and 40 Nights is a 2002 romantic comedy film directed by Michael Lehmann and starring Josh Hartnett, Shannyn Sossamon, and Paulo Costanzo. The movie illustrates the humorous and rather intriguing journey of Matt Sullivan (Josh Hartnett) who dares to stay celibate for 40 days and 40 nights.

Hartnett's character, Matt Sullivan, is presented as a young man working for a dot com company in San Francisco. Slick, suave, and reasonably successful with the ladies, Matt nonetheless finds himself in an almost existential crisis after a particularly bad breakup. Haunted by memories of his ex-girlfriend, Nicole (Vinessa Shaw), his recurring nightmares and an unfulfilling lovelife compel him to take a drastic step to regain control over his life.

And so, just a few weeks before Easter Monday, he decides to embark on a surreal journey of self-imposed celibacy for 40 days and 40 nights. From Ash Wednesday until Easter Sunday, Matt promises himself to abstain from all forms of physical pleasure, which includes not just sex but anything that might lead to it, even kissing or self-gratification. This decision was, in part, influenced by his religious roots.

The catch isn’t just in Matt trying to abstain, but in the temptations that he faces every day – none more so than when he meets the enchanting Erica Sutton (Shannyn Sossamon). Erica works as a cybernaut in a laundromat and is understandably perplexed and intrigued by Matt’s celibacy vow. Their developing relationship is one of the central emotional arcs of the film, as they navigate around his vow, creating both funny and frustrating moments.

Despite the physical barriers between them, Matt actually forms an emotional connection with Erica and both find their bond deepening, a stark contrast to Matt's previous dealings. It’s a tricky conundrum and 40 Days and 40 Nights portrays it beautifully, in a unique mix of infatuation, yearning, and genuine heartfelt moments.

Hartnett and Sossamon deliver charming performances, making their characters both credible and lovable. The palpable chemistry between the two builds the anticipation effectively and often leads to rib-tickling consequences. Their performances aid the film in dramatically highlighting the struggles of Matt’s situation.

In addition to the romantic entanglement, the movie showcases the influence of Matt's decision on other spheres of his life. His work colleagues, who initially mock his resolution, eventually start to bet on when he will fail, which adds another comical spin to the tale. Matt’s wager becomes a viral sensation, turning him into a local celebrity of sorts. His extraordinary challenge becomes a spectator sport, adding layers of humor and further complications to Matt’s endeavor.

Given his self-restraint pledge, Matt's interactions with his friends and colleagues comprise of numerous laugh-out-loud moments, playing on the irony of his predicaments. Paulo Costanzo shines as Matt's roommate and coworker, Ryan, and takes the role of comic relief in this unusual premise.

40 Days and 40 Nights artfully treads the delicate line between comedy and drama, and never slides too far in either direction. It's a picturesque portrayal of young love, temptation, and determination seen through a humorous lens. The movie showcases excellent performances by the cast, especially Hartnett and Sossamon, who breathe life into the wittily written screenplay with both comic and emotional undertones.

In making a familiar romantic comedy trope, the challenge of desire, the centerpiece of the movie, the filmmakers design a fresh and funny narrative that is sure to entertain viewers. 40 Days and 40 Nights is a charming, hilariously entertaining ride that celebrates the resilience of the human spirit using a fusion of laughter and love. With its engaging plot built around a relatable theme of post-breakup rejuvenation, the film encapsulates the chaos that can stem from trying to take control of one's life.

The film succeeds in using crude humor to its advantage, turning what could have been a potentially sensitive concept into a light-hearted entertainment continuing to resonate with its audience almost two decades on.

40 Days and 40 Nights is a Comedy, Romance movie released in 2002. It has a runtime of 96 min. Critics and viewers have rated it moderate reviews, with an IMDb score of 5.6. It also holds a MetaScore of 53.

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Where can I stream 40 Days and 40 Nights movie online? 40 Days and 40 Nights is available to watch and stream, buy on demand, download at Pluto TV, Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play, YouTube VOD, Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent 40 Days and 40 Nights for a limited time or purchase the movie for downloading.

Michael Lehmann
Josh Hartnett, Shannyn Sossamon, Paulo Costanzo, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Vinessa Shaw, Keegan Connor Tracy
Also starring Shannyn Sossamon
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