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  Sex and the City

Starring: Sarah Jessica Parker, Kristin Davis, Kim Catrall, Cynthia Nixon

Directed by: Michael Patrick King

Produced by: Michael Patrick King, Sarah Jessica Parker, John Melfi, Darren Star

Written by: Michael Patrick King

Distributor: New Line Cinema, Warner Bros.


     I wish that I could claim to be some sort of an authority on Carrie Bradshaw and—hold on for a second while I look up their names—Samantha Jones and Charlotte York and Miranda Hobbes. The now-infamous quartet’s HBO-show “Sex and the City” began airing when I was nine and finished when I was fifteen. To say the least, the program wasn’t exactly appropriate for my eyes when it originally graced and excited those of so many others, nor was it available to me at any time before I had to go to bed for the evening. In the years that have followed the series’ finale, I can’t say have that I ever felt the urge to watch re-reruns of episodes on TBS or the WB, either. Alas, why I have a strange desire to understand the mythology and the history behind “Sex and the City” somewhat escapes me. But I do.

     Perhaps the aforementioned compulsion derives itself from the fact that I admire the heck out of Michael Patrick King, one of the show’s creators, producers, and directors and the brainchild behind this film-continuation of the series. It’s possible that when I account for the fact that I don’t really like what King has done with the material artistically—at least as far as the movie-adaptation of the story is concerned—I want all the more to find a level on which I can understand it. He’s a talented and entirely respectable businessman, one who understood the desires of an audience and smartly sold this audience a product that he was confident that they would respond to. With this knowledge in mind and honest sensibilities in tow, I really wish I could enjoy the product more. The man is clearly a genius, but I sure wish he was a genius whose work I actually liked.

     Then again, King has essentially, with this film, done for the female-demographic what Tyler Perry has done for the African-American community time and time again, and I have never sought to “understand” Perry’s works in the way that I do Sex and the City: The Movie. In fact, that comparison seems all the more perplexing when I consider the fact that I can sympathize a lot more with Perry’s Madea than I can with Sarah Jessica Parker’s Carrie, Kim Cattrall’s Samatha, Kristin Davis’ Charlotte, or even Cynthia Nixon’s Miranda. After all—offensive to the show’s diehards as this suggestion may be—the ladies of “Sex in the City” are ultimately a bunch of pampered snobs who deserve every bit of the farfetched melodrama that King’s carefully-planned plot throws at them. That Carrie has trouble marrying longtime boyfriend Mr. Big (Chris North) from the show in the movie is the least of my emotional-concerns. I view Samantha’s sexual dysfunctions, Charlotte’s dissatisfaction in her own happiness, and Miranda’s marital problems—all of which are explored during Sex and the City’s whopping 140-minute duration—with the same ambivalence.

     So, once again, I return to the puzzling question that I posed in the first paragraph: Why am I so fascinated by the existence of “Sex and the City” and its filmic counterpart? Over the short course of this review, I have come to realize that my fascination must be connected to what I did find alluring about the picture: the addictive cocktail that King blends of straight-up vapidity and pulpy style. I will admit, there were passages of Sex and the City that I responded to, most of them high-octane montages that carried a distinctly fun quality to them. Despite the utterly empty nature of these, I found uncanny enjoyment in their spirit, something that I am rarely able to do with most other romantic-comedies. The offbeat juxtaposition of cookie-cutter conventionality and tonal exhilaration on display is sort of electrifying. Its presence in the film may not have left me fulfilled enough to recommend the film as I left the screening, but perhaps I subconsciously believed the notion that, had I grasped the complete background and followed the characters’ ups and downs over the years, I would’ve enjoyed this Sex and the City more. I suppose that, indeed, I kinda-sorta realized what fans saw in the material, but was frustrated by the fact that I couldn’t quite capture enough of the greater picture to really get their enchantment.

     Or maybe I’m over-thinking the matter. It’s possible that the $100+ million worth of tickets the movie will sell internationally will be bought mostly by bubble-gum-popping airheads who think the Sex and the City quartet is comprised of four thoroughly admirable women who couldn’t drink enough cosmopolitans or sleep with enough men. But I have too much faith in humanity to think this way. I’ll stick with believing that Sex in the City works for so many people because it appeals to their senses; full of expensive clothes and colorful drinks, flashy edits and crisp dialogue, enthusiastic actresses and groomed men, it offers enough jazzy style to capture a viewer’s imagination. In fact, I’m comfortable recognizing it as a sex-filled fairy-tale tailored perfectly for the Modern Adult American Woman.

     Fan of the show or not, however, don’t go into the movie expecting surprises. Distributors New Line Cinema and Warner Bros. were blowing a lot of unwarranted smoke when vocally demanding that critics not give away any of the film’s “plot secrets” before its release. As one who has never watched an episode of the series before, even I could predict every direction in which the story was headed miles before it began to veer there. For even the most ardent of admirers of the film to see it as anything more than a full-season’s worth of episodes strung together into the skeleton of a motion-picture would be foolish. It seems that we will all have to wait for the inevitable Sex and the City 2 to have a chance to really be wowed by anything resembling a shocking-twist. Hell, maybe by that picture’s release I will even have refined my murky idea of why I seem to care so much about a product as inconclusive and as throwaway as Sex in the City in the first place.

-Danny Baldwin, Bucket Reviews

Review Published on: 5.30.2008

Screened on: 5.30.2008 at the Krikorian Vista Village Metroplex 15 in Vista, CA.


Sex and the City is rated R and runs 145 minutes.

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