Sex and the City - The Movie
In the movie
version of the popular long-running HBO series about the very complicated
love lives of four fabulous Manhattan women, the sex part takes a bit of a
back seat. The most palpable passion in this film is for clothing. Okay,
men always seemed to take a back seat in the series to a perfect pair of
Jimmy Choos as well. This is even more noticeable now. In fact, the new
film could be much more accurately titled Shoes and the City.
The singleton lifestyles of the ladies are mostly behind them. It
has been the four years since the series ended with a whimper, wasting an
extended trip to scenic (and tres haute couture) Paris on a hackneyed
and clichéd finale. (Well at least it was the finale until now). During
that extended hiatus, Carrie, Charlotte and Miranda have entered their 40s
(and Samantha her 50s) and all have essentially settled into committed
relationships and safer lifestyles – for better or worse. Even sex-crazy
commitment-phobe Samantha has become willingly monogamous.
The seeds for this whole new, more mature Sex and the City
were actually sown in the final season of the series, which was exactly the
moment that the show jumped the shark. Truth is I always liked the show up
until the last season. Sure the characters were shallow, superficial,
selfish and sex mad. Oh let’s face it, they were gay men in the ultimate
drag – the real bodies of women. But that made the characters intriguing
and different than most of what you could see on TV.
laughs and screenwriter
Michael Patrick King still has a way with a pithy line, but rather
than the fizzy fun the show used to have, the movie feels like a long
whine-fest. Cue up way too many episodes of our heroines morosely moping
around. Most of the characters have at least one scene where they snap out
in anger for reasons which are poorly set up and make little sense to their
characters. Sadly, the movie is even more somber and even harder to sit
through. The film seems to have forgotten that the show was a comedy.
There are some periodic minor
Unfortunately – and I will openly acknowledge that I am not the
target audience – but watching as a straight man I have to say that not a
single action by a male character makes any sense in the story. In fact
several: including an affair, a case of cold feet and an anticlimactic
breakup, are almost impossible to believe as plot points. They just seem
like rote excuses for a screenwriter to give the stars to complain about men
when they weren’t talking obsessively about designer clothing.
Therefore, the film – which is an insanely long two hours and twenty six
minutes – is essentially the equivalent of five of the series’ more maudlin
episodes run back to back in a marathon.
Sex and the
catches us up
with these ladies’
lives in 2008. Four years later, Carrie is still dating Mr. Big – but they
haven’t gotten married. Charlotte is happily nesting with Harry and their
adopted Chinese daughter. Miranda is still living in Brooklyn with Steve
and their son – and they are still having marital problems. In fact, the
only character who seems to have had any kind of reinvention is Samantha,
who has relocated to Malibu to manage the career of her boy-toy Smith – though she seems to regularly return to
Manhattan at the drop of a hat.
Lots of things and yet not much happens in the movie. We have
weddings, babies, affairs, moving, traveling, lots of fights and very
There is only one new major character – (poorly) played by
Dreamgirls Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson. I suppose writer/director King
felt the need to add her character to address the long-time complaint that
the Sex series had almost no black characters. However, if you are
trying to have a token black, it’s probably not the most politically correct
idea to make her in a subservient role – officially Carrie’s assistant, but
essentially her gopher. And Hudson’s poor acting is almost stunning here –
without the overblown song stylings of her previous role to distract an
audience she seems awkward and stilted in every scene. It makes me doubt
what I thought that I had seen in her in her earlier role – though not
enough to actually watch Dreamgirls again. Then again, it seems to
be a tradition for supporting Oscar winners to follow up their big win with
an inexplicable stinker.
I suppose it
is nice and brave of the filmmakers to try to keep the movie somewhat
faithful to the basic format of the show. I’m sure that is what the real
hardcore fans are looking for. However, there is nothing in Sex and the
City which could not have made for an HBO miniseries. Not that they
should have gone to the big screen and added special effects – but if you’re
going to make a movie you should add something the viewer couldn’t
get by watching the reruns.
there is the inevitable realization that as they have become more mature,
the girlfriends have become undeniably less interesting. There is scene
where the women are moving things from Carrie’s apartment of twenty years –
an Upper East Side apartment she would have never been able to afford on a
writer’s salary, by the way – cherry picking through her outdated fashions
and Duran Duran vinyl LPs. They are all enjoying themselves;
reminiscing, giggling and rolling around on the
ground – and it all has the desperate air of an
beginning of the film, Carrie is doing one of her patented monologues about
how every year new 20-year-olds are landing in New York in search of love
and designer labels. She walks around a corner in a rather hideous dress
with a huge bow and runs into a group of these exuberant newbies, who check
Carrie out and complement her hot dress. Despite the fact that these new
girls obviously have horrible taste in fashion, it still seems like their
stories would be probably more intriguing than the soggy soap opera stuff we
Interestingly, the whole problem with Sex and the City as a movie is
encapsulated in a rather throwaway line. The friends are in one of their
tres stylish clubs (which get much less play in the film than they did
the series – because they are serious about life and love now.) For Auld
Lang Syne they all decide to order Metropolitans, the mixed drink they
were famous for sipping on the show, but apparently hadn’t had in a while.
One of them notes that they are still very tasty. “Why did we stop
drinking these?” she asks.
Carrie immediately pipes in with, “Everyone else started.”
Sometimes in the furor to be trendsetting, hip and edgy, superficial people
– and superficial movies – forget what was so good in the first place.
Jay S. Jacobs
Copyright ©2008 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved.
Posted: June 1, 2008.