Sex and the City: The Movie
Distributed By: HBO Films
Reviewed by Justine Manzano
It was where almost every woman I know spent 2 hours and 30 minutes of their June 1st weekend. For the last five years, it has been delayed for a myriad of reasons and it was the most wildly publicized movie of the Summer, and no, I don’t mean widely, but wildly, as the promotion for this film seemed to permeate through every bit of entertainment life for the entirety of May. It was the only movie I’ve ever seen in which women arrived dressed like they were going to see an Opera or going to the club (ladies, the people in the movie can’t SEE YOU so, a t-shirt and jeans is fine). It was the Sex and the City movie, a long awaited return to peaking into the lives of our four favorite successful and sexually frank Manhattan women in which we would find out what “Happily Ever After” really meant for them.
For anyone who has been living under a rock for the last EVER, those four women are writer Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker, Smart People, The Family Stone), publicist Samantha Jones (Kim Catrall, Ice Princess, The Devil and Daniel Webster), art gallery manager Charlotte York-Goldenblatt (Kristin Davis, Deck the Halls, Melrose Place) and attorney Miranda Hobbes (Cynthia Nixon, Little Manhattan, One Last Thing). When the television series that prompted the movie began, all four girls were single, but when it ended, Carrie had finally hooked up with her on-again-off-again lover, Mr. Big A.K.A. John Preston (Chris Noth, Law & Order, The Perfect Man), Samantha had given in and admitted that her sex-crazed days were over and she was in love with Smith (Jason Lewis, Brothers and Sisters, Charmed), Charlotte had settled down and married divorce attorney Harry Goldenblatt (Evan Handler, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, Californication) and, believing herself to be unable to conceive, successfully adopted a baby in China, and Miranda had married HER on-again-off-again boyfriend and the father of her child, Steve (David Eigenberg, The Trouble With Romance, Love, Ludlow). Every episode of the series had a topic, so why not the movie? Well, the topic of the movie is “What happens after you find your happily ever after?”
What happens? Well, a lot, apparently. The movie was 2 ½ hours long, the length of 5 episodes of the series, and follows a year in the life of the characters. Miranda, who is so busy at work that she can’t see her way through her logical side discovers that her husband has slept with another woman in a moment of severe emotional and sexual drought and struggles with her inability to forgive him. Charlotte gets pregnant again and is hit with the fear of another miscarriage. Samantha struggles with the realization that her life actually revolves around a man – Smith – with whom she has moved out to California and who has taken over the bulk of her PR work as well as her entire sex life. The hot new neighbor doesn’t help the struggle either. And Carrie is looking for an apartment with Big, causing them to agree that it is time for them to marry, but when the wedding goes south, the viewer is left with a question – will Carrie ever find an uncomplicated life? Will she ever get her truly happy ending?
I liked this movie when all the pieces were fit together, so please women, don’t stalk me when I chop some of it down, but I’ve got to say that if you didn’t get this, the movie was too long. 2 ½ hours is a long time for a movie that is, essentially, a romantic dramedy. There were moments of complete melodrama. Case in point, Carrie gets a call of bad news from Big and drops her phone in slow motion before launching into an intense screaming fit. But then, this was a problem in the series as well. Case in point, Carrie is broken up with by post-it note and drops her glass, which shatters in slow motion or gets panicked when trying on a wedding dress and has a screaming and crying fit. Sound familiar? The role of Louise (Jennifer Hudson, Dreamgirls) as Carrie’s assistant seemed necessary but existed as though it had been added to the script at the last minute. Also, I felt that Samantha and Charlotte got the short end of the stick story-wise, their stories very much background noise in the brilliant arcs of Miranda and Carrie.
Ok, still reading? Haven’t murdered me yet? Well, maybe you did (please don’t – I have a lot to live for!) but that doesn’t mean you can’t keep reading. Now for the positive – this move had some moments of comic genius (one in which a pissed off Carrie tried to dramatically walk away from a Valentine’s Day dinner but can’t escape the ridiculous amounts of balloons in the restaurant comes to mind) most of which come from Davis and Catrall. So, what they lacked in story, the writers gave them in comedy. Where there was melodrama, there were also moments of pitch perfect drama that could not be ignored. There were plenty of nods to fans of the series and it gave us new chapters in the lives of our girls, because life really doesn’t end at happily ever after. Every character was back, true to form and the writers did some excellent things with furthering the story and taking it up a notch.
So, in the end, I liked this movie. I blame most of its problems on its length. The movie was jam-packed with too much and a good editor could have saved a good chunk of these problems with a few well-placed cuts. Still, if you’re a fan of the series, these little things won’t bother you so much (they didn’t bother me as much until some careful post-movie conversation) but if you aren’t a fan, just imagine watching 5 episodes in a row of a show you’re just introducing yourself to and decide if that’s a good idea. My judgment: Fans will enjoy it, non-fans will be left wondering what all the fuss is about. As for me, I will be hoping for another, better, shorter time to drink cosmos, wear something fashionable, and talk sex in my city. Maybe a sequel is what can make this sex even better.