Tuesday, June 3, 2008

What's the City Without a Little Sex

**Spoiler Alert--I'm going to talk candidly about the movie, so if you haven't seen it, stop reading now**

While I didn't make it to the opening night of the Sex and the City movie (I was at the Eddie Izzard show downtown), I managed to roll into a theater on Saturday evening to view what I fully expected to be a theatrical monstrosity.

I tried to go in with an open mind. Open, as in, I was going to revel in the smorgasbord of designer clothes and shoes. In that respect I wasn't disappointed at all. Carrie's Vogue photo shoot for "Beauty at Any Age" is worth the price of admission alone, as is her impromptu fashion show in her closet. The wardrobe choices for all four characters were impeccable; their personal style was still evident but had matured with their characters.

Before I launch into my critique, let me say, my parting words walking out of the theater were, "Cheese-factor aside, I fucking loved it!" But, I think you can love something and still think it needed improvement...

One of the criticisms I'd read about the movie before I went was that the movie played like a season's worth of episodes projected on the big screen. That much was true. But that's what I liked best. I could almost imagine that I was curled up on my couch watching my favorite show, just like old times. After all Darren Starr is a television producer, not a movie producer. In fact, the places were the movie fell flat to me were the ones with dramatic music and dreamy cinematography. It felt fake, and I kept thinking, "Get back to the show already!"

The storyline was what concerned me most going in. The story lines that were most satisfying were those of Charlotte, Miranda, and Samantha. Theirs rang true. You could see how they got where they were. And, Charlotte, who used to be my least favorite character, has really become balanced and well-rounded, and ended up being one of my favorite parts of the movie.
It was Carrie's story that felt false in its melodrama. For starters, Chris Noth was totally phoning in his performance...there wasn't one gradation of personality in his character. Then, I couldn't believe that she and Big were really so drama free in the beginning. I couldn't believe the way either of them reacted at the wedding. And, if that scene was to be believed, I couldn't believe the way the movie ended. I also wasn't a fan of the addition of Jennifer Hudson as Carrie's assistant. The girl can sing, but she really needs to learn to deliver a line without assuming the, "I'm about to act" expression and reading it from a cue card. It was an unnecessary, distracting addition to the storyline.

My biggest gripes about the movie were philosophical ones. In Miranda and Carrie's relationship crises, the big "A-ha" at the end is both of them having to take responsibility for their (non-existent) role in the conflicts. Miranda has to learn to believe that she's somehow responsible for Steve's cheating before they can reconcile (What?! Really??), and Carrie has to come to the revelation that if she hadn't wanted such a big wedding, Big wouldn't have gotten cold feet and run away (Umm, if that's all it takes to scare him off...).

Then, when Samantha is unhappy in her relationship with Smith and turns to food to keep her from cheating with the hot neighbor, I wasn't a fan of the way her friends called her on the weight gain, which was then couched in the "It's not about the weight, Honey, but are you happy?" Nice message. Along with a thousand other messages that suggested that life was nearly over for these 40-year-olds, that one pushed me over the edge.

I also didn't like that Carrie's old friend Stanford was almost completely ignored. There's implication that maybe he and Anthony (Charlotte's friend) may have gotten over their hatred of each other and are (possibly?) hooking up. But other than, bit parts here and there, his story is non-existent. For a show that has always been so gay friendly, it seemed negligent that they avoided exploring the other side of love.

All in all, just like the original show I guess, it was full of mixed messages about female power, sexuality, and relationships. When I shared those misgivings with B., he said, "Well, that's where you went wrong...thinking too much. They didn't write that movie for smart women who think deeply about messages; they made it to make a buck off silly girls who will go to see anything with the Sex and the City label on it."

I'd just like to have the best of both worlds...a designer costume extravaganza and something thought provoking.

1 comment:

  1. if you were really a smart woman, you'd probably watch better tv...like cartoons :P