40 Days and 40 Nights
Abstinence makes the heart grow fonder in the romantic comedy 40 Days and 40 Nights. Every time lovelorn he-ho Matt (Josh Hartnett) beds a new conquest, he launches into a panic-induced tizzy. ("You're action-packed with issues," observes Ryan, his crass, smart-alecky roommate, played by Paulo Costanzo.) Seems Matt still has his mind on his saucy ex (Monet Mazur), who's engaged to be married to someone else. Wanting to avoid further embarrassments in the bedroom but unwilling to accept that maybe promiscuity isn't for him, Matt decides to forgo boning and all other sexually gratifying behaviors temporarily, using Lent--the 40-day period that leads up to Easter--as an excuse. But when he meets cute 'n' funky Web programmer Erica (Shannyn Sossamon), complications arise. Set in San Francisco, probably the most delightfully hedonistic and youth-oriented city on the planet, 40 Days is fast, funny (its most amusing moments involve the slick, slangy banter that ricochets among Matt's gossipy dot-com co-workers), and abounds with exuberance--at least in the first half. Director Michael Lehmann (still trying to live up to Heathers) doesn't seem to know how to dovetail the film's initial energetic comedy with its subsequent stab at thoughtful, satisfying love story--or how to end the damn thing.