HOLLYWOOD POV: "Sex and the City"


With scores of girlfriends and fashionistas all over the world waiting with bated breath for the SEX AND THE CITY film that updates what happened to the four friends during the past three years the successful TV series has been off HBO, the film clearly has a huge built-in fan base. It’s really too bad that the film is a horrid and overly-long imagining of what went on in the interim for the four friends. By the end of it you won’t even care as you’ve already seen this story about ten times on the TV show.

 


Women flocked to the series during its’ heyday because of the fashion and because of the close friendship the girls had with each other. It was a thrill for many to see single girls in the big city acting just like their single men counterparts. Brave, career-oriented, sexually-fulfilled, thoughtful, and strong women who didn’t need a man to define themselves as successful women finally had role models they could watch on TV.

 

Sadly the movie update of the girls’ lives tells only one story, their desperate search for a man to marry to complete their lives. In the film continuation of their story the four friends, Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker), Miranda (Cynthia Nixon), Charlotte (Kristin Davis), and Samantha (Kim Cattrall), have only men on their minds. Careers take a back place role, friendships don’t seem to matter unless they support the plot, thoughtful dissection of personal motives aren’t even considered.

 

The movie is really just a bunch of half-hour TV epis all strung together… a mini TV marathon that would have played much better in it’s original 30-minute episode run on TV. The film is much too long, much too boring, much too general, and focuses way too much on the ever-so predictable Mr. Big (Chris Noth) opting out of his and Carrie’s planned wedding only minutes before it was to begin. Honestly, how predictable is that?

 

Sure, what fashion there is in the film is interesting, especially the wonderful couture wedding dresses Carrie tries on (each for about two seconds) for a lay-out in Vogue about getting marrried in your 40’s, and the great gowns the other three friends wear for about three minutes of total screen time, but the fashion is too little too late. And for a series that used fashion as an almost-character, the film version is a real let down. Carrie gets to keep the most wonderful wedding dress of all (by Vivienne Westwood) even if the bodice doesn’t fit at all and looks like it was made for someone who actually had the boobs to fill it, rather than the stick figure of Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker).

 


Seeing these girls teeter around on stiletto hooker heels demeans them
and gives the audience a good laugh. As if anyone who lived and worked a real job in New York City would actually wear those shoes! What a hoot! They mince, they teeter, they totter, they look like the hookers they are really emulating.

As someone who has seen all of the original SEX AND THE CITY TV episodes, it was easier to ignore the unreality when you were given some real meaty relationships to understand and relate to. Within the world the girls existed on the half hour TV show, the hooker heels were a bit easier to buy. But seeing them wobble around the streets of New York in the film only will serve to remind you of what a poor fashion choice those shoes really are. Everyone wearing them looked like those Big Blue Meanies (pictured left) from the Beatles movie YELLOW SUBMARINE. Big huge bodies on teeny little feet tottering around like they can’t walk correctly. If the burka is the way the Muslim world keeps women in place, then these hooker heels are the way the West keeps their women in place. You can’t run very fast in hooker heels and a pencil skirt… much less walk around New York City. You won’t be able to help noticing it on the few close-ups we get of the women’s feet, you can see the wobbling close-up. Those shoes must be an evil plot against women conducted by podiatrists and shoe designers all over the country.

 
What I wanted from this film was an updating of these women’s lives, to see them grow as women as they age, not a continuation of the same old story line… how will Big mess with Carrie’s mind this week? There’s really not much to tell you about the film, it’s boring and predictable, much too long, and doesn’t even do a good job showing off the New York fashion world, especially since they feature a fashion show at Bryant Park during New York’s Fashion Week. We get about 1 minute of the show which really only focuses on the girlfriends and not the fashion. Though we do get to see a few seconds of how the real models teeter around on those shoes and don’t fill out the bodice’s of their couture clothes either.

The girls’ make-up looks like it was applied with a trowel when it wasn’t airbrushed on, both looks (the trowel and the airbrush) were off-putting due to their unrealistic appearance. The trowel method looked especially unflattering for Carrie, she looked older than her years in many scenes. She looks the youngest in scenes were she wears little make-up at all. And those scenes are after she is dumped by Big and spends her days sleeping through day and night in what she calls her “Mexicoma” (one of the only typically-Carrie lines rarely head in this outing).
 
All the same supporting characters are in the film, though they are shunted to the back and many get only a line or two (Miranda’s hub Steve played by David Eigenberg, and Charlotte’s hub the hairless Harry, played by an almost silent Evan Handler). Other great supporting characters from the series who should have been more involved in the feature film story-line (Mario Cantone and Willie Garson, as two of the girls’ gay friends) barely worked a half day on this disaster. Jason Lewis as Samantha’s gorgeous younger boyfriend, Smith Jerrod, who nursed her through her battle with cancer at the end of the TV series, is here and he gets about four lines total. In return Samantha gets to act like she never was, someone who avoids sex, lusts after her sexually-active next door neighbor (who waxes every bit of hair on his body, legs included. YUCK!) and in the end leaves her beautiful faithful loving younger boyfriend to age into her 50’s all alone. 
 
In an effort to appeal to younger women a new character was created for Jennifer Hudson; she plays Carrie’s new personal assistant. Here Hudson does not show us why she won an Oscar, only that she can barely act and speak. She is supposedly there to assist Carrie, though I found it completely impossible to believe that Carrie wouldn’t understand how to send a text message from her phone, wouldn’t know that her website was a mess, and wouldn’t already know about Bag, Borrow, and Steal. Carrie is a writer in our modern age. What writer worth their salt and into fashion wouldn’t know about BBS? And that is a big problem for the writers, producers and director of this film. It’s as if they haven’t yet moved into the 21st century. Clearly the big screen version of SEX AND THE CITY is a mortgage movie.

This big boring mess was helmed by the men who created the series and obviously the people who really imagined the girls (and wrote for them on a daily basis) for the small screen were not around when this script was written. The creator of the TV series, Michael Patrick King is responsible for the direction and the words spoken in the film and an entire crew of nine so-called producers were on hand to assist in messing up everything else.
 
The only good thing to look forward for when seeing this film is when they use a song from the great Al Green towards the end How Can You Mend a Broken Heart, but even the song choice is too predictable for this film. If you have a male significant other, please take pity on him and don’t ask him to sit through this one with you. He’ll love you for it… think of the great make-up sex he’ll give you when you return! Which reminds me… I owe my SO some make-up sex for going to this screening with me.
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Digital Dogs rating: C

MPAA rating: R for strong sexual content, graphic nudity and language.

Running Times: 148 Minutes

Producers Sarah Jessica Parker, Michael Patrick King, John Melfi, Darren Star, Director Michael Patrick King, Screenplay Michael Patrick King, Candace Bushnell, DP John Thomas, Editor Michael Berenbaum, Music Aaron Zigman, Actors Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, Cynthia Nixon, Kristin Davis, Christopher Noth, Candice Bergen, Jennifer Hudson, Evan Handler, Jason Lewis, Mario Cantone, David Eigenberg, Willie Garson

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© 2008 by Digital Dogs
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— Digital Dogs is gather’s Los Angeles Movie Correspondent —

Digital Dogs’ column, HOLLYWOOD POV, published every Thursday to Gather Essentials: Movies is an insider’s look at the art, people, and product of Hollywood.

Digital Dogs is an opinionated writer, editor, and digital designer who lives and works in the entertainment capital of the world. DigiDogs writes critiques, opinion pieces, and news stories that focus on the business, people, and places of Hollywood. DigiDogs’ unique film reviews are usually written well before a film’s release date, and definitely worth the advance look at the films that influence the world.

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