Sep 2008 24

Sex and the City hits the big screen and unfortunately fizzles as a stand alone film due to a bloated run time and a lack of comic balance that made the show as good as it was.
The film picks up a few years after the shows finale, Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker) is still with big and happy, Miranda (Cynthia Nixon) and Steve aren’t having much sex, Samantha (Kim Catrall) lives with Smith in LA and sees the girls as she travels back and forth for publicity events, and Charlotte (Kristin Davis) and Harry are happily raising their adopted daughter. Carrie and Big are looking for a place together and eventually decide to take the big plunge and finally get married. The planning and happiness swells for Carrie as problems bubble for Samantha and Miranda, while Charlotte sits by and provides positive support. Though as the date grows near Big grows weary and the always noncommittal man might have second thoughts, while Carrie crafts her next book which is to be centered on being in love rather than finding it.
Where the film goes from there I will let you discover, but if you have seen the preview then you already know just about everything anyways, so avoid if you haven’t seen yet and want to be surprised. My problem with the film is that it just isn’t that funny. The best jokes in the film are a poop joke and a reoccurring dog humping bit, outside that Samantha has a couple of good one liners here and there and that is about it. I know the series took serious looks at relationships all the time, but the usually spliced in one story line every show that was ripe for humor, that really isn’t apparent here. Three of the characters eventually end up in serious relationship lows and it just isn’t fun to watch and not entertaining at all. Also, the first hour or so of the film is like one giant label designer advertisement, mixed in with a couple of sly product placements. I mean it literally felt like I was watching a commercial with B-list actors showing off clothing, and the Vogue photo shoot was laughable at the blatant advertising ploy they are going for as Carrie changes dresses and then voiceovers the name of designer in an airy and exasperated voice; it was eye rolling city as it carried on for well over a couple minutes. Another thing that hurt the film is that the guys in the picture took a serious back seat to the proceedings and all of them saw more screen time in an episode then they did in this film. These significant others of these characters are a part of who these women are and to just make them background objects is a real shame, especially when they can be at the root of much of the comedy the show is so good at.
The film also didn’t do anything new or original that we haven’t really seen on the show. The movie didn’t try to be any more grand other then having as many labels and expensive fashion as possible. The film came across as a strung out episode or a couple of them mashed together without a very good overall arc for them. It would have been nice to have seen them change things up a little bit, and I am not asking them to alter the formula per say, but at least add a few new ingredients. And on that note, they do try this with Carrie’s personal assistant Louise (Jennifer Hudson), but ultimately her plot line is rushed and is only glimpsed at briefly and serves mostly as a catalyst for Carrie to find her way again. Which begs another question with unoriginality, what have these girls learned? Anything, they fall into the same traps and patterns over and over again, and I am sure they have been taught these life lessons in previous episodes at least once before, why can’t they make the right decision when they should, and maybe a new problem arises for them? I don’t know, maybe I am just rambling.
Though, because the film didn’t work for me doesn’t necessarily mean the actors did a bad job, because they were all very true to form for their established characters they respectably play. Samantha seemed to be played a bit tamer, but her situation dictated that, not Catrall’s performance. And while on Catrall, she does a great job in the film and is the real stand out of the picture here. She makes the most of her tired plot and keeps the funniest character in the franchise just that. Unfortunately for Kristin Davis she has nothing to do as Charlotte. She literally spends the film as a moral support for her friends with little else to do, and maybe that’s why keeping everyone happy wouldn’t work as a compelling piece of work. Cynthia Nixon is solid a Miranda and can be as big a B as ever in this film, she walks that line of love hate so delicately and she straddles it here well once again. Sarah Jessica Parker actually comes across as the most flat and dialed in of the main actresses to be quite honest, and when she is hogging most of the spotlight, that isn’t going to help ones’ liking of the film. She didn’t come across as heartbroken as they wanted us to think she can be, or as happy as she was supposed to be as well. She unfortunately had to handle most of the super sappy scenes as well and they were saptastic to the extreme. The men also all do admirable jobs, with all of them getting little screen time and having very little to work with. Either way, no one is terrible by any means, but no one really knocked me on my ass with anything great or surprising, and I think that sums up this film well as now one really took any chances and played everything fairly safe.
The girls are back and unfortunately it doesn’t really matter as they were put into a safe bet instead of trying to do anything new or even be as risqué and daring as the show could be sometimes. Diehards of the show will enjoy it, but casual fans that find the show funny when you catch it on TV are surely to be disappointed as it does not live up to the already set standard for the franchise. When a TV show becomes a film it should be trying to be the biggest, best, and peak of what the show is capable of being and unfortunately Sex and the City on the big screen doesn’t come close to being any of those things.


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