Fri, Jun 20, 2008 - Page 16 News List

[FILM REVIEW] Still looking for love … and labels

‘Sex and the City’ is probably just the movie die-hard fans of the HBO series are hoping for: the continuing stories of the four consumerist gal pals

By Manohla Dargis  /  NY TIMES NEWS SERVICE , NEW YORK

PHOTO COURTESY OF LONG SHONG

A little Botox goes a long way in Sex and the City, but a little decent writing would have gone even further.

A dumpy big-screen makeover of that much-adored small-screen delight, the movie was written and directed by Michael Patrick King, one of the guiding lights and bright wits of the original series, based on Candace Bushnell’s newspaper columns and subsequent book.

Once again, Sarah Jessica Parker has stepped into the dizzyingly high heels of Carrie Bradshaw, that postmodern Lorelei Lee — a hardly working New York writer with a passion for men and Manolos — but this time she’s taken a terrible tumble.

Fans of the show were accustomed to Carrie’s falls, metaphoric and literal (as in her spectacularly horrible trip during her catwalk promenade); they were crucial to the show’s appeal, softening its hard, brittle edges. Then in her mid-30s, Carrie was one of New York’s most fearless of the zipless It Girls, able to leap tall men in a single bound without batting a single mascaraed eyelash, but as the show’s nifty opening credit sequence reminded you, episode after episode, she wasn’t above getting muck on her tutu. Her vulnerability — and that of her girlfriends — was the badly kept secret of the show, the glue holding together the froufrou, the lunches, those absolutely fabulous and ghastly clothes and all that muscly man bait.

The froufrou and the lunches are back, as are, kind of, Carrie’s three girlfriends, Miranda (Cynthia Nixon), Charlotte (Kristin Davis) and Samantha (Kim Cattrall), all tricked out with their customary accessories (men, children, handbags). Also back and in and out of Carrie’s bed is Mr Big (Chris Noth), the longtime lover and habitual heartbreaker with whom she had (hallelujah) reunited during the show’s bitter and sweet finale four years ago. Written by King, that episode opened with Carrie wandering Paris in a funk and then stumbling into bliss by literally falling to the ground with Big. At once melancholic and defiantly hopeful, it was the kind of rueful happy ending that didn’t make you choke on your own tears.

Film Notes

Sex and the City

DIRECTED BY: Michael Patrick King

STARRING:

Sarah Jessica Parker (Carrie Bradshaw),

Kim Cattrall (Samantha Jones),

Kristin Davis (Charlotte York),

Cynthia Nixon (Miranda Hobbes),

Chris Noth (Mr Big), Candice Bergen

(Enid Frick), Jennifer Hudson (Louise)

RUNNING TIME: 145 MINUTES

TAIWAN RELEASE: TODAY


Sex and the City delivered the television goods for six seasons, no small thing in the pop culture annals. That should have been enough or at least plenty for all concerned, but Parker apparently felt compelled to go big screen, making good on a project that had started to come together in 2004, only to fall apart over money issues and Cattrall’s reluctance to climb aboard.

I wish Parker had let that bee in her bonnet go silent, because the movie that she and King have come up with is the pits, a vulgar, shrill, deeply shallow — and, at two hours and 22 turgid minutes, overlong — addendum to a show that had, over the years, evolved and expanded in surprising ways.

There are no surprises in the movie, at least not good ones. On opening, all the peas are in their designer pods, from Carrie and Big cooing in his swank New York digs to Samantha and her boy toy, Smith (Jason Lewis), sunning in a seaside Los Angeles perch. Charlotte and her husband, Harry (Evan Handler), are nesting in Manhattan; Miranda and her husband, Steve (David Eigenberg), are bunking in Brooklyn. All is right in this carefree world until Big casually asks Carrie if she would like to get married, a question that leads to the usual luncheon postmortem (oh my gawd, he proposed) and then the usual rom-com clothing montage and a staggering number of product placements. (Louis Vuitton co-stars.)

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