Michael Lehmann's latest film, a teen/sex comedy of sorts by the name of 40 Days and 40 Nights, just doesn't hold up to his past film Heathers. Heathers had a cruel charm to it, and even if the characters were despicable, the film still drew you into their world and made you a believer. 40 Days and 40 Nights works almost the opposite. The characters are almost too unbelievable with their hang-ups and issues, and as the film progresses, you don't wind up understanding them or rooting for them. There are no consequences to what they do, and that takes any real sentiment and throws it right out the window.
40 Days and 40 Nights follows the escapades of actor Josh Hartnett. Seems he can't get over his past girlfriend who dumped in. He seeks to forget in the arms of many a willing lady, but due to the emotional loss he has suffered, he has panic attacks during sex with these women. This leads him to a lot of one night stands and a rather empty life. As his brother is taking a vow of celibacy as a member of the Church, Josh decides to do the same. He takes a vow that for 40 days he will have no sex, will not masturbate, will partake in no kissing or snuggling, will do nothing intimate at all with himself or anybody else. It works okay for a while, but then he meets a new girl. As they date, he keeps it hands off, and it works to bond the two. Problems arise when his roommate shares what he is doing with everyone he works with, and a betting pool arises. So, his co-workers all are trying to get him to break the vow by any means necessary. Naturally, the new girl finds out about it and thinks it is some kind of joke at her expense. Will Josh keep the vow and lose the girl? Really deep huh?
40 Days and 40 Nights is presented on DVD in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. Everything looks very good with this transfer. Detail and depth are the primary quality, as backgrounds and blacks offer up a lot to see on this disc. Contrast is bold and color saturation looks pretty good for a film that uses a more subdued pattern of colors. Flesh tones, though not the brightest, look natural given the lighting scheme used. There is very little to complain about when it all said and done.
A Dolby Digital 5.1 track is included on the DVD. The mix serves the film well enough, but the score is a bit too strong for the dialogue in many scenes. Evidently that is the pattern for a lot of recent films of this nature, as the same can be found on a good many recent releases. Aside from that, the mix has a nice range and works equally well with both highs and lows.
Not much in terms of extras for 40 Days and 40 Nights. There is a screen-specific commentary track and a teaser trailer. That's it. The commentary features comments from director Michael Lehmann, producer Michael London, and screenwriter Robert Perez.
40 Days and 40 Nights is a bit of an uninspired film. The premise isn't too believable and the execution makes it even worse. It is very hard to have any sincere feelings for the characters, as there bold stands or actions get reversed almost with every scene. Fans of the actors involved will probably find some stuff to like, for all others, this pretty much movie-only DVD will work best as a rental.