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40 DAYS AND 40 NIGHTS

In light of the recent allegations of pedophilia among the priesthood, abstinence might not seem a laughing matter, but that's the focus of this clunky romantic comedy. Matt (Josh Hartnett), a hipster cyber jock, is so traumatized after being dumped by his long-time girlfriend (Vinessa Shaw) that he goes on a libidinous binge, bedding a different partner each night; and when that doesn't work, he does an about-face (for Lent of all things) and decides to go 40 days without getting any. The "vow" becomes office-pool fodder, hot babes reveal their nether regions to score the cash, and Matt bumbles around with a perpetual boner. Then of course he meets the woman of his dreams (the alluring Shannyn Sossamon) and must concoct a million inane reasons (except the truth) why they can't make love.

The material, written by Robert Perez and directed by Michael Lehmann (Heathers and Hudson Hawk), is much like its protagonist's penis: single-tracked and, when the 40 days expires, anticlimactic. Hartnett is stiff (pun intended), but Griffin Dunne as the horny head honcho puts some juice into this sparse farce. At the Apple Valley, Entertainment, Holiday, Hoyts Providence 16, and Showcase cinemas.

By Tom Meek

Issue Date: March 1 - 7, 2002