Sex and the City (2008) Dir Michael Patrick King



AKA Love, Marriage and a frickin’ huuuuuge closet….

It was a sad day for fashion magazine editors when HBO’s glossiest series hung up its Manolos in 2004. Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker), Charlotte (Kristen Davis), Miranda (Cynthia Nixon) and even the unstoppable Samantha (Kim Cattrall) all found love and settled down. After six seasons, it was over, and fashion magazines could no longer look to the show for what to make their essential style each year. Although toothless, the final SATC episode felt like a warm goodbye hug and a suitable end to the fairytale.

In case you’re new to this (L-R): Charlotte, Samantha, Carrie, & Miranda

But that was 2004. In the 4 years between then and now, Kristen Davis has been flogging Head and Shoulders, Cynthia Nixon has appeared in ER and some other things I’ve never seen, Kim Cattrall released a sex book and oozed over Tetley Tea. Meanwhile, Sarah Jessica Parker released some dull perfumes and appeared in movies with Matt McConaughey.

So, for reasons not immediately clear (caaaaaash), they reformed and decided to be this year’s Devil Wears Prada. Which was 2006’s Sex and the City replacement. Anyway, they came back. Suddenly, the magazine world was desperate to know what the four women would be wearing, and several scary pictures were released. Also, rumours were flying that someone would be killed off! (My money was on Harry, Charlotte’s husband). Huge changes would be happening! Big weddings and big fireworks! Event of the year!!!

You get the idea.

So, after a whole month of the film being out, and only skim-reading the Wikipedia entry, I actually managed to see this new instalment in the lives of four New York women. Was it worth it?

Well, first of all, nobody dies – overall the scriptwriter could do with shooting, but apart from that, no, no one buys it. With that out of the way, I can’t help but wonder (mwhahaha, see, I’m like Carrie!) what was the point of this movie?

It’s odd seeing them all together again, just like it was odd seeing Harrison Ford as Indy again. Everyone is a little glossier, each character a little less real. There’s far more designer label name-checking – similar to how the final couple seasons felt like a laboured love-in. And they seem to have misplaced the coolness from when it all began.

Older – wiser? The SATC ladies share a laugh

Whereas the series used to be about ‘monster of the week’ relationship themes and unusual sexual practices, the film completely smoothes any edges the show ever had, and the characters mostly perform U-turns in their lives.

Carrie’s in a relationship with Big, nearly gets married to Big, then he dumps her at the altar, she goes brunette for a while, then she eventually gets Big back and stays in a (not married) relationship with him. He did buy her a gigantic closet, after all.

Carrie was almost eaten by a triffid… (now THAT’s the movie I wanna see… Similarly, I would’ve given anything to seem the SATC cast in Cloverfield. Seriously).

Similarly, Miranda is married to Steve, has no sex with Steve, Steve cheats on her, she stays away from Steve, and then gets back with Steve. Which is nice, but we’re not given any other side of the story – under what circumnstances did Steve cheat? Why did he even tell her? Isn’t that totally UNLIKE Steve’s character? Why did Miranda forget to even book a wax, revealing acres of scary ginger fem-pubes at the beach?

And Charlotte miraculously gets pregnant. Which is nice. And gives birth. And has become even more crazy than she used to be, bringing her own pudding to a 5-Star Mexican resort because she won’t eat any of the food, and pooping her pants after a sip of Mexican water. Nice for the Mexican tourist board…

Only Samantha makes a real life change from the end of the show, dumping the hunk who stayed with her through her chemo and who, it seemed, had contributed to getting her more than ‘Samantha gets fucked’ storylines every week. She spends the whole film having no sex at all, which is actually pretty weird.

The wedding where there’s no wedding. Great dresses though…

I wanted to like this, as I really enjoyed the silliness and escapism of the original show. We got to know the four characters over the six years, watching their cynicism gradually get crushed by character development. It got girlier – not a bad thing in some ways – and Carrie’s friends quickly became more likeable and interesting as things went on.

However, the movie version feels rushed and synthetic. This was more like a big ol’ lump of Sex and the City, and it tied things up very quickly and left me feeling pretty hollow. Of course it looks gorgeous. It just lacked the naughty glee of the first few seasons, and the main characters ploughed through their lives like they would in any rom-com – by NOT talking to the people they needed to sort things out with. They only discussed it with each other, and talked, and talked…

This is why despite it being rushed, it also feels overlong. At 2 ½ hours, you dearly want to spend time with someone other than Carrie – who is still the most self-obsessed and judgemental character on the planet (and at one point needs Samantha to physically feed her after getting dumped at the altar)! The show was never as shocking as it thought it was, but it used to be good fun and a lot ruder.

The movie has a moment of ‘oh look, the side of a penis!’ but nothing more outrageous than that (I mean, seriously, a SIDE? C’mon….). The biggest audience reaction came when we saw the sumptuous shoes and dresses – while the sex scenes barely got a whisper. Perhaps it was the lack of context, the feeling that they ‘had’ to have them but didn’t really want to, and it showed. I’m not asking for it to become Bad Lieutenant or Deep Throat here – but this needed a few more balls. Ahem.

My opinion might change when I inevitably get it on DVD (for Christmas perhaps) but the Sex and the City movie was just treading water, and playing it very, very safe. For such a groundbreaking show, that’s just not good enough.

However, I am a sucker for glamour, grousing about my life, and drinking cocktails. To a point. So, I’ll leave it a while and then rewatch them all on Comedy Network, and wonder how long it’ll be before the movie’s sequel. Maybe we’ll see them in another 5 years?

And as I expected after watching this much girly-chatty-action, I badly needed to see Grindhouse again. Or Predator. Something with violence and sweaty men, please. 300 would make a perfect double-bill to this as it contains both gorgeous man-abs and many many dismembered limbs flying off bad guys. You know. If you like that kind of thing.

Shoes or Spartans, shoes or Spartans…??? Damn, that’s a tough choice….

Oh, and – The Dark Knight is out this month, woot! FINALLY!! Yaaaaaaaaaaaaay!


One thought on “Sex and the City (2008) Dir Michael Patrick King

  1. Loved the review…and I haven’t even seen the movie! Probably won’t for a while…seeing as I have to catch up on the actual series first… Sex and the City was on when I first left my TV Network job in a state of advanced burnout, and I don’t think I watched anything on television for MANY months. I still can’t deal with idiot-tinsel-fluff things like ET and Access Hollywood. Gah. And they used to be a big part of how I made a living! 🙂Back to the review…what you’ve done here, IMHO, is given us just the right balance of movie storyline, background, and personal POV. I’m so tired of reading “pseudo-reviews” that basically tell us what happened in the movie but don’t give us a clue as to whether it’s any good. A good review will give you the flavor of the movie, and also an indicator of whether you’re going to like it or not. The trick is how you present your personal opinion — and you’ve definitely got it right here! 🙂 SamP.S. Okay, now, since you told us you wanted to see the cast of this movie in Cloverfield…how about a review of Cloverfield? Grin.No pressure. 😉

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