– Summary –
Director : Michael Patrick King
Year Of Release : 2008
Principal Cast : Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, Kristen Davis, Cynthia Nixon, Chris Noth, Jennifer Hudson, David Eigenberg, Jason Lewis, Evan Handler, Willie Garson, Mario Cantone, Lynn Cohen, Candace Bergen.
Approx Running Time : 145 Minutes
Synopsis: A New York writer on sex and love is finally getting married to her Mr. Big. But her three best girlfriends must console her after one of them inadvertently leads Mr. Big to jilt her.
What we think : Amusing, sexy film version of the iconic television series reproduces much of the small-screen’s vibrant, stylish aesthetic; although the plot probably would have been better served by actually being an episode of the television series, as a film event it’s certainly not bad. Fans of the series should definitely check it out.
I tell you, trying to look this film up on Google without scoring a gazillion pages of porn is a nightmare. Whoever thought of including the word “sex” in the title either had upgraded versions of NetNanny or they didn’t own a computer.
Still, you’ve got to hand it to them: Sex & The City is a phenomenon that refuses to go away. Okay, I’ll admit it, I’ve seen practically every episode of the series on DVD: stupid-head me bought the set for my awesome Lisa T in our first year of marriage, and consequently I ended up coming home from work to find her half way through an episode on an almost daily basis. I’ve seen enough half episodes over the intervening years to get all of the story-lines and characters contained within the film. I will never, ever admit to being a fan, but I am knowledgeable enough with the show’s history and characters to be able to write a reasonably straight faced review.
Now before you ask, yes, I am a guy. A guy who likes movies where things blow up, mind you, not some nancy-boy who get’s off watching Terms Of Endearment and Julia Roberts rom-coms. Just wanted to clear that up. Still, with the untimely release of Sex & The City film on DVD here in Australia this week, I felt it was my solemn duty to sit down with the wife and give this thing a look. After all, it even stated on the cover that there’ll be sex scenes, and strong ones at that. So, with red-blooded enthusiasm, I settled in for a night of what I thought was going to be torturous snappy witticisms from resident horse-face Sarah Jessica Parker, and truly brilliant snappy one liners from Kim Cattrall.
Instead, what I got was a film that’s actually not half bad to watch. Yeah, it goes on waaay too long, and there are moments of sheer blokey torture (don’t get me wrong, this is still a chick-flick) but yes, you get to see boobs, bottoms, and even a glimpse of some fellows penis. Oops, I said penis. Castigate me to the fires of hell for not looking away sooner, but they spring it on you in a way that’s utterly un-look-away-able.
Sex & The City began life as a risqué, often controversial TV show on US TV network HBO (fans will probably already know this, I’m just reiterating for the unbelievers!) and soon became a cult and critical hit, mainly due to the fact that it seemed to touch a nerve with women all over the world. Single, desperate women who couldn’t seem to find Mr Right, and were probably still hooking up with strange men in bars hoping that they could have an SJP moment. Anyway, I digress.You’d have to be either stupid or from Mars not to know about the show, and when the series concluded it’s successful run after six seasons in 2004, you could almost feel the seismic shift in reality when the finale aired, and the show tuned out.
Of course, it would live on in re-runs and on DVD, yet fans clamored for more adventures, both sexual and emotional, of Carrie Bradshaw and her band of crazy cult followers. I mean, Miranda, Charlotte and Samantha. So, what was a woman to do? Apparently, after much heave-ho-ing (pun intended I am sure!) SJP and her fellow Sex-pots returned to the screen, albeit a bigger one, to show the world just what had happened in the intervening years since the series’ conclusion.
Carrie and Mr Big (Chris Noth, whom I always thought was more deserving of better material) are living at each other apartments, and still dating. Sarah Jessica Parker, whom I find perhaps the most unflatteringly average looking woman ever to grace the silver screen, still looks like she’s sucked a lemon every time something bad happens. And to her, it happens a lot.
Miranda, the one with a lazy ovary, and Steve, the man with one testicle, are happily (?) married and living in Brooklyn, which, from what I can understand of the subtext in films set in New York, is about as far removed from Manhattan as Paris is from Oodnadatta. Sorry, local humour there, foreign readers, but please, press on. They still have Brady, their son, and their housekeeper (I forget her name, but she’s still hanging around… she’s the one who found Miranda’s dildo that time… see, I was paying attention!) and Miranda commutes to Manhattan every day for work.
Charlotte, still happily married to her Jewish husband and cheerfully raising their adopted daughter from China… Japan…. Korea….. who knows where, is still Miss Prim and Proper. I’ll admit, behind Samantha, Charlotte is my favorite.
Samantha, after shacking up with hunky Smith Jerrod, has moved to LA to manage the young actor’s career. Unfortunately, this gets in the way of her catching up with her gal pals, and she flits off to NY at every opportunity. She still talks like a cheap hooker but looks as classy as ever. But the pressure of this transcontinental shuttle-bugging is starting to take it’s toll.
The film centralizes it’s plot around the wedding of Carrie and Big, in a top-tier Big Apple event unlike the likes of which you’ve ever seen. More money is poured into this thing than Rupert Murdoch’s Christmas party, and the fashions are all killer. Yes, the fashions. Okay, so I don’t go for Milano Blonics, or whatever the heck they’re called, and Loius Vitton sounds like a make of Italian car, yet apparently the chicks dig this stuff. Of course, when Big stands Carrie up on the big day, that’s when the bottom falls out of Carries life. Of course, her booze swilling, handbag toting friends are there to prop her up and offer conciliatory words of sympathy like “lets go to Mexico” (God, I can NOT remember how many times I’ve heard that after a nuptial collapse!) and talk dirty to the waiters.
Steve, Miranda’s husband, seems to have gone and slept with somebody else (we never find out who) as Miranda appears to have become so obsessed with work she’s forgotten the last time they’ve had sex. Miranda, all rage and fury at that point, leaves Steve and moves back to Manhattan. Taking her rage and fury with her as a comfort blanket, she manages to tell Big to rack off on the eve of his and Carrie’s impending Day Of Doom and sends everything into a tailspin.
Yep, I blame Miranda.
So, if, by now, you’ve stopped reading and are instead trawling the internet for nude pictures of Sarah Jessica Parker, you filthy unit you, then fair enough. It’s enough to make any hairy-chested man throw back a cold one, go outside and introduce the dog to his size twelves. You’ve got to laugh, right?
Anyway, there’s a little bit of boob action in this film. If you’re still reading this, you might as well finish now, right? Samantha gets her gear off a bit, so does Miranda late in the show, and thankfully, you are spared the sight of SJP getting jiggy with Big on the floor of their massive walk-in closet: now that you know that the film is safe for viewing, you can go watch.
And then there’s the penis.
I know this is a chick film, but anytime somebody film’s a man’s penis and puts it up on a magnificently large cinema screen, somewhere, thousands of other men are all crossing their legs and wondering if size really does matter. Bastards. We get the point, okay? Film penis’s are much bigger than those in real life…. we get it! Anyway, it’s barely a glimpse, and is thoroughly in context, so don’t worry if you happen to look, it’s not that bad. Plus, you get to see a bit of humping here and there, and that’s never been a problem for anybody.
Where does the film fall over? Where does it go so wrong that most men should run screaming from the room and straight to the eye-gouging corner?
It doesn’t do too much wrong, to be honest. I went in looking for faults, and found only a few minor ones, and they’re so minor they don’t really detract from the film-going experience at all. I do think the film runs a little too long. Our PAL system clocked the film’s run-time at a little over 2hrs and 15-ish minutes, not including end credits. That’s a fair chunk of chump-time for most hot-blooded blokes to have to sit through girly-pap in order to cop a feel. At least, if you’re not still trawling the web for porn by now. Most blokes would be.
The film runs into issues of length because they’re trying to tie up all the four storyline’s successfully, inside a feature film. Normally, the TV show would have let these stories take up a few episodes. Here, you’ve got 2.5 hours to shoehorn it all together. Unfortunately, this means that somebody has to lose out in terms of character development and screentime. In this film, it’s Charlotte and Samantha, my two favourites. Both have their separate stories splayed asunder by the overpowering nose-pointing of Carrie and Miranda. Carrie and her Big-problem makes me want to scratch her eyes out like a scorned drag queen after finding her pimp with another girl. Miranda, however, steals the show.
Miranda’s tete-a-tete with the recalcitrant Steve is one of the film’s more powerful and startling revelations. Of course, David Eigenberg delivers a lip-quivering performance as the ultimate Sorry Man, Steve, who is heartbreakingly resilient at apologies. Cynthia Nixon delivers some of the film’s best moments in her least comedic acting, where her confronting of Steve is almost above the quality required of a film like this. Still, it’s a testament to the quality of her ability to deliver a performance like this, and Eigenberg must take some credit for solidly backing her up.
Charlotte’s story, which should have had more time to play out on the screen, is shoved into cinema’s version of Coach Class, at the back of the plane and sitting near the toilet. Shame, really, as this was perhaps the climax to her greatest character moment: having a child of her own. Still, she pops one out and all is well. Wait, did I spoil it for you? Let’s just say that it was a foregone conclusion, and leave it at that.
Samantha, stuck between a Smith and a Hard Neighbour (there’s a double entendre for the smart ones) is reduced to smearing sushi on herself and purchasing a teddy-humping dog, probably the same one you’d introduce your Rossi’s to. It’s a far cry from her dildo-modelling man story from the TV series, yet, she gives it everything, and we finally get to see something of the real Samantha’s character underneath all the smutty talk and nympho-acting.
Direction is pretty standard, however, and although the filmmakers have had a larger budget to play with than they ever had with the TV series, they don’t make full use of it. I wanted CGI boobs, more sex, and perhaps a gunfight between Carrie, Miranda, and those hilarious gay fellows who keep popping up to offer generic euphemisms throughout. Now that would have been a film worth watching.
Seriously, you have to ask yourself how I can possibly write so much about a film that by all accounts, I should despise simply because it exists. Much like Jar Jar Binks, sometimes you just have to bend over and let whatever happens happen. Still, Sex & The City the Film Experience was actually engaging, humorous and cause for a Cosmopolitan. I was surprised, I laughed out loud, and found myself actually enjoying the film.
Which, as a long time S&TC fanatic (NOT) I was hoping for.
Sex & The City The Movie will no doubt have already been seen by your wife/girlfriend/partner. Whichever one you fit into, you could do a lot worse than sitting in front of the TV screen for a couple of hours and cuddling the better half with this on. Who knows, if you agree with any of the characters out loud, in the right places, you might even get a bit of Sex in your own City.
© 2008 – 2014, Rodney Twelftree. All rights reserved.