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"40 Days and 40 Nights"

Directed by Michael Lehmann.
Written by Rob Perez.
Starring Josh Hartnett, Shannyn Sossamon and Paulo Costanzo.
Release Year:  2002
Review Date:  3/8/02 


Hey, I like to see a romantic comedy every once in a while, and the preview for "40 Days and 40 Nights" was good enough to trick me into seeing it.

Josh Hartnett stars as Matt, a just-dumped dot-com child working in San Francisco.  To help him get over the sad fact that he keeps having sex with random hot women every couple of days to fill the void in his love life, he decides to give up all forms of sex and self-gratification for Lent.  Unfortunately, he meets an incredible girl named Erica (Shannyn Sossamon, from "A Knight's Tale") just days after his abstinence begins, so he must carefully navigate dating a new girl while trying to not have any kind of physical relationship with her.

For the most part, the movie is great.  Like all successful romantic comedies, the formula is in place:  guy gets girl, guy loses girl, guy gets girl back...all the while putting up with some pretty funny people in their work & social lives.  The support here comes mostly from Matt's roommate Ryan (Paulo Costanzo, "Road Trip") and Matt's officemates, here being fellow dot-commers.  They are mostly funny, even if they are pretty stereotypical tech support types.  There is plenty of funny sex-related conversation, and I think this is the first movie I have ever seen that has a GUY faking the orgasm.  Hilarious!

The film is not without its problems, though...and for me, this is mostly because I now live where this film is supposedly set.  Hence...

Fallacy #1:  Hot women

The women in this movie seem to have been transplanted from Southern California to the Bay Area, because you aren't going to find more bullshit in terms of the hotties then you will in this film.  Just the women working in the office seem to have been lifted from a risqué Gap commercial, and I have lived here for six months now and haven't seen three hot women standing in any one place at one time...LET ALONE a technology firm.  But, there are a half-dozen scenes like that in "40 Days and 40 Nights."

Fallacy #2:  Gay people

Look, if you are going to have shots of Chinatown, 20-somethings drinking mochas while sitting in front of their iMac at a run-down warehouse building, characters walking up ridiculously steep hills and bike messengers talkin' jive, then you have admitted to us that you are filming a movie full of San Francisco stereotypes.  With that in mind, the writers failed to include a single gay or lesbian character in their large collection of supporting players.  Come on, not even one?

But, I am just being picky.  This film is pretty funny stuff...and, it's the rare romantic comedy that doesn't get too sappy while pitching its message.  Bueno!

Rating:  $9.00 Show


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Bellview Rating System:

"Opening Weekend":  This is the highest rating a movie can receive.  Reserved for movies that exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development, setting...or Salma Hayek.  Not necessarily in that order. 

"$X.XX Show":  This price changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently, it is the $9.50 Show.  While not technically perfect, this is a movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.  "Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca", but you'll have a great time watching.  The $9.50 Show won't win any Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see "Office Space"). 

"Matinee":  An average movie that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.  Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about yourself.  A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave the theater saying "That wasn't too, did you see that Lakers game last night?" 

"Rental":  This rating indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one."  Mostly forgettable, you couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the video store was out of copies of "Ronin."  If you can, see this movie for free.  This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a half stars." 

"Hard Vice":  This rating is the bottom of the barrel.  A movie that only six other human beings have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen.  A Shannon Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a movie.  Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or "Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!  (Warning:  strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard Vice"-rated movies.)

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The "fine print":
All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/ except where noted
© 1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 01/08/09