40 Days and 40 Nights (2002)

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Released 17-Jan-2003

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Romantic Comedy Audio Commentary
Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2002
Running Time 91:27 (Case: 95)
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (71:24) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Michael Lehmann
Studio
Distributor

Universal Pictures Home Video
Starring Josh Hartnett
Shannyn Sossamon
Paul Costanzo
Monet Mazur
Maggie Gyllenhaal
Emmanuelle Vaugier
Vinessa Shaw
Adam Trese
Case ?
RPI ? Music Rolfe Kent


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Hungarian Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
Czech
Greek
Hungarian
Arabic
Romanian
Turkish
English Audio Commentary
Czech Audio Commentary
Greek Audio Commentary
Hungarian Audio Commentary
Arabic Audio Commentary
Romanian Audio Commentary
Turkish Audio Commentary
Hungarian Titling
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement Yes, Penthouse and Viagra mentioned
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    I must admit, I did not think I was going to like 40 Days And 40 Nights very much, but in the end I found it an enjoyable and definitely watchable film. I don't know, perhaps I thought it was going to be really gross, like There's Something About Mary, or perhaps I thought it was going to be an embarrassingly painful experience. It turned out to be neither, and has the advantage of being short and snappy.

    Matt (Josh Hartnett) is shattered when he breaks up with his girlfriend Nicole (Vinessa Shaw). So much so that he seems to be having anxiety attacks when he is making love to other girls (he starts imaging the ceiling cracking above him). He even has to resort to faking orgasms.

    When he hears that Nicole has become engaged, he is devastated. So devastated that he decides to take a vow to abstain from sex for 40 days and 40 nights (hence the title of the film). He discloses this to his priest during confession, who also happens to be his brother.

    Right from the start, nobody believes he can do it. Not his brother. Not his flatmate. Not his colleagues at work. Soon his work colleagues are starting to take bets on when Matt will give up on his vow. They even create a web page to accept bets from all over the world (without Matt's knowledge).

    Suddenly, women seem to be chasing Matt, and he successfully fends them off until he meets Erica (Shannyn Sossamon) at the local laundromat. Because no sex is involved, they develop a strong friendship that quickly turns to love. But will Erica understand Matt's vow? Will Matt ever get over Nicole?

    There are some funny scenes and funny dialogue in this rather witty film. It's a pity the film is set in the dot.com culture (Matt happens to work as a web designer is an advertising film) - that made the film look dated almost from the day it was released (given that the tech bubble burst).

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Transfer Quality

Video

    This transfer is presented in widescreen 1.78:1 (16x9 Enhanced) which is close to the intended aspect ratio of 1.85:1. The film source is a 35mm print.

    The beginning of the film, from 1:05-2:50, seems to be rather jerky, and to suffer from over-exposed colours with clipped highlights, but this is intentional as it's meant to be representative of the viewfinder of a digital video camera which Matt is using to take videos of himself and Nicole. Later on we see Matt editing the video footage on his PowerBook and wondering whether to delete it now that he has broken up with Nicole.

     The rest of the film has a pretty much reference-quality transfer. I did not detect any signs of film marks or film grain, and no significant compression artefacts. Colours are pretty much spot on and detail levels are high.

    The only other area of the film that looks "funny" is right after Matt makes the vow. He literally sees the world differently, around 17:12-17:39, there is a lot of smearing and motion blurs which is all intentional and digitally created.

    There are two sets of subtitle tracks on this disc: one for the dialogue, and another for the commentary track, which is rather impressive. If your DVD player is capable of displaying both primary and secondary subtitle tracks, you can even have two displayed simultaneously (one on top of the screen, and the other on the bottom). I turned on both English subtitle tracks for dialogue and audio commentary, and can report that the accuracy of both was quite good.

    This is a single-sided dual-layered disc (RSDL), but the total information stored is less than 5 gigabytes so it seems like the decision to use two layers is an attempt to make it more difficult to copy the disc using a DVD-R recorder. The layer change occurs at 71:24 between scenes and is reasonably well placed, resulting in only a slight pause.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    There are three audio tracks on this disc: English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384kb/s), Hungarian Dolby Digital 5.1 (384kb/s), and English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192kb/s). I listened to the English soundtrack, and the audio commentary track.

    In general, the audio sounds decent with clear and easy to understand dialogue. The background music is consistently mixed for surround with ambience directed towards the rear speakers. However, apart from music, the track is very front focused and I did not notice any instance of foley effects directed towards rear speakers.

    I did not notice any issues with audio synchronization.

    The background music seems to mainly consist of a mixture of original music by Rolfe Kent and catchy pop music suitable for the Internet generation, which suits the pace of the film well.

    The subwoofer did not seem to be used at all and switched itself off partway through the film.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Menu

    The menus are static but 16x9 enhanced.

Audio Commentary - director Michael Lehmann, screenwriter Rob Perez, and producer Michael London

    This commentary track seems to start in a middle of a sentence. I suspect there must have been an FBI warning or something on the R1 version which got chopped for R4, along with the beginning of the commentary track.

    The three members of the crew pretty much talk continuously throughout the film, and comment on what is happening on the screen as well as responding to each other's comments. Apparently the plot was partly based on Rob Perez's own vow of chastity. The commentary covers casting as well as how the film was made (particularly the bus scene) and where (only about 5 days were shot in San Francisco, the rest of the film was made in Vancouver).

    Apparently the surreal dream sequence towards the end of the film was originally much more extensive and features, amongst other things, motorised giant rubber sperm moving around in the laundromat. However, test screenings revealed that most audiences found this too gross or surreal and it was deleted. I wish they had included the deleted footage as an extra.

Theatrical Trailer (1:06)

    This is a teaser trailer that doesn't actually provide any footage from the film itself. It is presented in what appears to be full frame/open matte and Dolby Digital 2.0 (192kb/s).

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 4 version of this disc is currently a rental only release. It differs from the Region 1 sell through only in minor points (different languages for non-English audio and subtitle tracks plus R1 has some additional trailers).

Summary

    40 Days and 40 Nights is about a guy trying to survive for that long without sex of any kind. Now I know some of you will probably consider yourself lucky if you have sex as often as every 40 days, in which case you may not appreciate the humour in this film! Surprisingly, it's not as gross-out as I thought it might be, and turned out to be watchable. This rental-only release is presented on a DVD with an excellent video transfer and an okay audio transfer. Extras include an audio commentary track and a teaser trailer.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Christine Tham (read my biography)
Wednesday, October 16, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDDenon DVD-A1, using Component output
DisplaySony VPL-VW11HT LCD Projector, ScreenTechnics 16x9 matte white screen (254cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials/Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to DVD player. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationDenon AVC-A1SE (upgraded)
SpeakersFront and rears: B&W CDM7NT; centre: B&W CDMCNT; subwoofer: B&W ASW2500

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DVD Net - Anthony H (read my bio)
The DVD Bits - Craig D
region4dvd.net - Darran H

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