Of the few episodes I have seen of the successful HBO series, I can say with confidence that the televised incarnation of Sex and the City is smarter, funnier, classier and all around more significant than the recently released film version. This wouldn’t be such a problem if that laundry list of positives didn’t apply to pretty much every film I’ve seen in the past year when stacked up against Michael Patrick King’s first foray onto the silver screen. In the end, as with every male-driven action film that comes out around this time, quality isn’t such a concern for the core audience, who have come out in droves to instantly push this rom-com into the black. We’ll get to the ladies who turned out their pockets and bedazzled purses at the box office in a moment, but let’s start with the movie.
The film starts almost like any episode of the show, with a modified title sequence that should a harbinger of shlock to come. Instead of Carrie’s tutu-ed prance about town which ends with her getting splashed with muck, we are put through an awful montage updating us on the shows ups and downs over some terrible popified version of the theme song. Message: this is a fashion show of foolishness you are about to see.
Anyway, Carrie and Big decide to get married, he stands her up, girls road trip to Mexico, and a whole bunch of other stuff happens. But it is kind of hard to follow all of it since there really isn’t a plot that can get us through the whole 2 hours and 20 minutes. I’d say it’s like 4 episodes, but even then the subplots don’t hold up. There is only one character whose story I really liked watching: Samantha. Nearing 50, she comes to terms with her own infatuation with herself in a clear and believable fashion. Unable to share a life with her young and buff beau for fear of her own infidelities, she must make a choice between her own happiness and the adult “norm” her friends have all discovered. I really believed in her struggle, so kudos.
As for the rest of the girls…
Carrie is too dumb to function; Charlotte plays the fool too well to care all that much; Miranda’s storyline (divorce and rediscovery) is yawnsville. Side characters? Carrie’s assistant, Louise, is annoying and I still can’t figure out her existence; Steve comes the closest to proving that men aren’t as dumb as women think we are, but gets like six minutes of screentime; and Big is just enormous orange eye-candy who doesn’t say that much when he opens his mouth.
Look, Ladies, you deserve better. I’ve been saying it for years. What is the matter with you? Don’t you know that this movie sucks? And if the fact that it sucks just doesn’t bother you, then I defer to “what is the matter with you?”. Save for Samantha’s story, which I think is both relatable and fabulous (I went there), the rest of this movie just takes advantage of your own American predilection towards shiny things (handbags, limousines, Chris Noth) and storybook endings. And before you start jumping on me for not calling out guy movies for being bloated with the same gunk, let me offer up a great chick-flick: Enchanted. Also New York, also full of shiny things, even more of a storybook ending, but with a coherent storyline.
Sex and the City is one of the most successful R-rated films of all time (Hey MPK, if Apatow’s entourage can drop full frontal dickage into Forgetting Sarah Marshall, why can’t you be so bold and earn your rating!?) mostly from female auds. It seems that no one really liked it but enjoyed it enough yo allay any ill feelings. It blasted through expectations for a summer romantic-comedy, making over $50 million on the first weekend, which in a way really says a lot about the power of women at the box office, a demographic that Hollywood has never really gone after because of their general low turnout during the heavy summer months. You can expect more Sex like films down the line to try and get the almighty female dollar over the nextÂ yearÂ or two. So thank you, women who saw this movie, for breaking down this important barrier. Feel free to go burn your bra and then go buy an overpriced one on 5th Avenue.
Or you could direct a movie relevant enough to pull in those kinds of numbers, instead of letting a man do it for you.