by Anthony King
I'll be honest right at the top: I wake up every day thanking whatever all-powerful being brought my wife into my life so I don't have to suffer in the dating pool any more. (No offense to those of you still swimming.) While watching romantic comedies about single adults navigating their normal, daily lives while also pursuing romance is enjoyable for the most part, these types of movies remind me what kind of Hell life would be if it were my life. And this is a major reason we love watching fictional movies. (*nervous laughter*)
We follow the timeless classic of Modern Romance up with my timeless classic, 40 Days and 40 Nights. I recognize I have a lot of nostalgia attached to this movie, but there's still plenty to laugh at. 40 Days is purely a product of the early noughties that will forever live there. Directed by Michael Lehmann (Hudson Hawk), it stars Josh Hartnett as Matt, a twenty-something playboy who works in digital advertising during the day and apparently has lots of sex with different women at night. He's discovered recently that his ex-girlfriend is getting married, so Matt decides to get his life back on track by taking a vow of celibacy (because he apparently has lots of sex with different women at night), including no self gratification. His co-workers and roommate create a betting pool on the internet to see how long Matt will last. Needless to say, these guys are disgusting pigs. Funny, but disgusting pigs. (“It goes against nature. The male was biologically designed to spread his seed, Matt. You're gonna piss off the seeds, man! It goes against science! You wanna be the guy who goes against science?”) A week or two into his experiment, Matt meets Erica (Shannyn Sossamon), who also works for an internet company (after all, this is the dot-com bubble) that seeks out porn sites children could mistakenly go to (???). Erica ends up discovering Matt's little celibacy secret, he gives her an orgasm by rubbing orchids on her belly, and they eventually have sex. It's dumb. It's juvenile. It's good, silly fun.
In no way am I trying to take away the joy received from watching these two movies. Hell, I still love them and watch each once a year. But do I get more joy watching them now after being with my wife for 15 years than I did as a single twenty-something in the early noughties? I'd like to think so. I can look at guys like Robert and Matt and laugh my ass off at their immature idiocy while also thanking my lucky stars every single day I'll never be in their position again. Good luck, single-but-dating people!