FILM REVIEW: Sex and the City 

Shopping and Screwing

Sex and the City: The Movie
Starring Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, Cynthia Nixon, Kristin Davis, Chris Noth
Directed by Michael Patrick King
Rated R

I felt like some sort of alien anthropologist watching this movie, as if I were being presented with the strangest and most inexplicable creatures imaginable, and was being asked, out of all reason, to understand them. I mean, sure, I drink with female friends and talk about sex and do lots of other things that, on the surface, appear to be the same things that Carrie Bradshaw and her posse do ... and yet, I don't see myself or the women that I know in them. Not at all. Not in the tiniest degree.

And it's not about the bizarre and ridiculously expensive clothes, either. I realize this is a fantasy, even if it's not about anything I personally fantasize about. It's about, well ... look, it's hard to imagine that Carrie Bradshaw is interested in anything beyond what we see her doing here, which is hanging out with her friends and bitching about men, and shopping, and thinking about things she wants to shop for. Because when she's not doing those things, she's writing about them. And apparently she does nothing else.

Fans of Sex and the City the TV show rave about how it's about "real" women and "real" concerns that women have. But I don't see a real woman in Carrie Bradshaw. I see a very narrow, very stereotypical idea of what women are. I see a woman who is a caricature of "women," not someone who is a human being first and a woman second, like we all actually are. Does she read a book once in a while? (One might expect that a writer would also be a reader.) What does she think about the state of the world? Does she, oh, I dunno, balance her checkbook or does she trust the bank? I'm not saying a movie needs to delve into absolutely everything a character thinks about everything — that would not, of course, work, particularly in a story like this one — but you want a sense that a character has an existence beyond the narrow confines of the story we find her in.

This movie is not directed at me — this is perfectly plain. Fans of the show will likely find it lovely: certainly, there are moments of intense drama that will make far more sense to those who have a previous emotional investment in these characters. I'm not writing for those people — I can't possibly do that. I would have liked, though, if there was something in Sex and the City: The Movie that spoke to those who were not already fans. It's not here, and that's not necessarily a bad thing: not every movie has to appeal to everyone. But it's not here.

What is here feels like a season's worth of a TV show crammed into two and a half hours. Yes, two and a half hours. It's torture for nonfans. God, I was bored.

Sex and the City: The Movie is all about Carrie, and whether she will marry Big (Chris Noth) or not, and all the wedding porn that surrounds that. Not marriage porn: it's not about fantasizing about being married to some particular man that you're crazy about. It's about the wedding, the fairy-tale event that every woman is supposed to want, never mind whom a gal is marrying. And, to be fair, Sex and the City: The Movie doesn't ignore that irony, either. It's just that, in getting there, it seems to miss the point that a women who is 40 years old might have realized this at some point sooner.

Maybe it's a blow for gender equality that women are now allowed to extend adolescence into the years once considered "middle-aged." Carrie's cell phone is covered in pink glitter, after all...

Film Trailer

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