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Jun 02 2008
It Was Good (For Me) Comments (11)
1 Sex and the City was always a must-(eventually)see for me, even if I was more of a casual fan of the series. I probably saw every episode after my friend Tim shamed me into having missed the first couple of seasons (I didn't even get that HBO had series at that point), and I found it fun, funny and engaging in a way that sometimes left me surprised at its insight and other times annoyed me when I felt its powers of observation had become far-sighted. Photo2We tried to go Saturday early, only to discover it was sold out till the midnight showings everywhere, my first indication it was a monster. We are in the epicenter of the thing, after all, so I shoulda known. When I walked past the theater, it dawned on me that the girls were wearing bold summer dresses and in some cases hats as a spontaneous mass tribute, like a fashion-centric Rocky Oh The Horror Picture Show. Sunday, we tired out our pups and caught a 10:00 a.m. screening on West 42nd that was at least two-thirds full, mostly with the same gaggles of girls. After the lukewarm reviews, I was very pleasantly surprised to thoroughly enjoy the movie—to me, it was exactly like the series in that it had the right elements, often got things right and sometimes made me angry, but never left me disinterested. Photo Sarah Jessica Parker was great in this, able to bounce around like her bubbly, Girls Just Want to Have Fun former self as called for, but also capable of believable bouts of self-pity and depression. Her looks have taken some hard knocks (why doesn't she get rid of that mole? why is she so skeletal? these things don't help...), but I think her unorthodox "beauty" helps with this part, making her so relatable even if she has (or acts like she has) a sense of style that any ugly duckling would covet. She even appears with "no makeup" (or "no makeup"-makeup), all cried out, baring the one thing nobody else in the movie ever shows—pores. I'm talkin' about lots of Botox, one possible male facelift and digital, digital, digital. 30sexxlarge1 I won't give away the (entire) plot until after the jump, but it has a wedding, some marriages, some philandering, some narcissism, some sex (not much, surprisingly) and lots of warm friendship between people past 40. The twists and turns are easy to spot as they approach, but the resolutions are no less gratifying for it...
The producers (SJP among them) were wise to pony up for Kim Cattrall—it would be so hard to do this story without her purring Samantha. Here, cancer-free, her storylines are a bit more grounded in reality even if her fabulous lifestyle is more out-there than ever. She's as irresistible as Blanche Devereaux—as big a cliché and as charming when she is revealed to be flesh and blood. Kristin Davis's Charlotte has some special moments, both humorous and raw (her reaction to a particularly disappointing failure on Big's part is animal and totally real), even if her character is given short shrift on the big screen. 30sexlarge2 Cynthia Nixon's Miranda has a much meatier segment, one that confounded me the most. I started to really dislike her character, considering a weird, offhandedly racist remark she makes while searching for a trendy place to live near Chinatown ("White guy with a baby—follow him, because wherever he's going is where we need to be...") and her hysterical response to a little understandable infidelity on her husband Steve's part. Yes, he cheats, but he confesses, is clearly guilty about it and was on the not-receiving end of sex for six months. I found it ludicrous that her reaction would be to immediately split up from the guy, and just as crazy that this meant he wouldn't get invited to Carrie's wedding. This is one of those far-sighted moments like the ones from the original series that really threw me. I love that these are four adult women who've had sex with dozens of partners (any 40-year-old woman who is single and hasn't...I don't understand what you do with your time!), but I would sometimes hate when the series would bring up a topic that would make them seem so inexperienced and square (I recall that anal sex and uncircumcised men—in New York City!—were quite surprising things to them on the show, and that just lost me). In this case, Miranda is too smart to walk out on a man who cheats once, especially when she has a baby with him. Of course, drama is needed as is suspense (will they get back together?) or you'll have no movie, and this is less a complaint about the quality of the movie than it is about the actions of its characters—which isn't a complaint but a compliment, when you think of it. And hey, if Samantha can leave her gorgeous (though the big screen isn't friendly to his odd features), loving boyfriend of many years (you know, the 30ish dude who stuck with her through chemo?) just because she wants more and different sex, why is she applauded while poor Steve is demonized? I guess that some of these issues, like the film's fab fashions, are more like wish fulfillment for the estrogen-soaked target audience. Speaking of the target audience, gays are in there, and the film throws us a couple of bones—one tasty (Gilles Marini's nude body and partial Monty) and an admittedly unrealistic if literally fairy-"tail" hook-up between the show's two homos. Gille Maybe the most unbelievable thing in the movie (and the show) is that women with these priorities (fun, fashion, fucking...and, at long last, love) would be as likable as they are, or that they'd be such devoted friends. The worst part, and really the only truly bad part, of the movie was Jennifer Hudson. Take back that Oscar, pronto! She literally CAN NOT ACT. In every scene, she had this blank expression like, "Oh, don't mind me, I'm not pretending to be somebody here, I'm just my character." She was truly dreadful, making me believe Dreamgirls was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and a once-in-a-lifetime successful handling of an opportunity. The part was written fine—another person (like...an actress) could Sex_city_moviehave done wonders with it, even though her race was awkwardly handled (the black girl has to rent her labels?). Still, I left the movie with a big smile on my face. It was warm, funny, nostalgic, sweet—sure, I'd never, ever forgive a dude who left me at the altar, but I'm glad Carrie forgave that particular dude in this particular movie—and it is far superior to the imaginary disappointment that must have been viewed by the critics.
   

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