Genre: Dramatic Comedy Running Time: 2 hrs. 28 min.
Release Date: May 30th, 2008 MPAA Rating: R
Director: Michael Patrick King Actors: Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, Kristin Davis, Cynthia Nixon, Chris Noth, Candice Bergen, Jennifer Hudson, Lynn Cohen
ex and the City” is quite possibly the longest film ever made. Or at least it feels that way, since the creators realize that the property’s astounding popularity amongst its fans transcends the necessity to please all audiences. It is an uber-chick-flick with only a few threads of interest for any viewers unfamiliar with the long-running HBO TV show that spawned this highly anticipated feature adaptation. But it doesn’t waste its time trying to appeal in areas it wasn’t designed for – it faithfully (and with pinpoint concentration) reunites the personas of the four New York women who perpetually struggle with meaningful relationships as they’re surrounded by designer clothes, fluorescent cocktails, colorful characters, and occasional nudity.
The plot picks up several years after the series concluded, detailing how the happy endings each of the stars received managed to last for a small while before crumbling apart once again. Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker) whimsically narrates as she tries writing yet another book on love – this time not about obtaining it, but what to do with it once found. Her dream man, Mr. Big (Chris Noth), buys the two of them a luxuriously paradisiacal apartment (and builds her an unimaginably massive closet), and so the two decide it’s finally time to tie the knot. But as Carrie gets overly preoccupied with fashioning an extravagant Hollywood wedding, Big begins to feel saturnine about yet another marriage.
Meanwhile, the nymphomaniacal Samantha Jones (Kim Cattrall) realizes she needs more sex and more attention from her Hollywood beau Jerry (Jason Lewis) than he can possibly offer, and so unearths various deleterious vices to satiate her needs. Miranda Hobbes (Cynthia Nixon) struggles in her relationship with Steve after he admits to cheating on her due to her gradual disinclination with sex. And Charlotte York (Kristin Davis) is the only one who doesn’t seem affected by the other girls’ relationship mishaps, remaining rather uneventfully unscathed within love’s good graces.
Frequently, the film becomes an excuse to show off fashion, which is not far removed from many of the series’ episodes. The difference is that the original show more nonchalantly showcased fashion while telling the characters’ stories – the repetitious montages in this feature insinuate that viewers might miss the designer clothes if not for the lengthy Vogue wedding shoot or Carrie’s apartment moving session, in which she models nearly all of the outfits in her closet. Despite the main foursome’s noticeable aging, most of the fashion merely reinforces the idea that if a person has a fit body, everything looks good.
The plentiful drinks, upscale nightclubs, exotic parties, and beautiful people are still ever-present, but much of the film tries too hard to tack further misadventures onto a story that was already satisfactorily resolute. Unlike the show, which had a beginning and end to every half-hour episode, the film only has one beginning and one end to a monstrous 148-minute marathon (approximately 5 episodes), which results in the feeling that this isn’t several smaller plots tied together, but one excruciatingly overlong event. While there is still plenty of comedy and risqué humor spread throughout, the romance is realistically gritty – this is not the fantasy of “Pretty Woman.” Love, apparently, is never easy in New York (although wealth allows for expensive ways to cope with rejection), but friends go a long way to heal the pains of heartache. Perhaps that too is part of the fiction, as this inseparable group goes to dubitable lengths to aid in each other’s sorrows. In the end, “Sex and the City,” like so many of the sequels and adaptations to hit the big screen in recent years, proves that certain ideas are destined to make money – and whether or not the continuation of these ideas are beneficial, necessary, or even entertaining for the fans who made them famous in the first place, the thought of profit always triumphs.
– Mike Massie