Monday, June 2, 2008

Movie review: Sex and the City The Movie

I never thought I'd say this, but I think I've outgrown Sex and the City.

Maybe it's because after living in New York, watching four women live a completely unrealistic "New York" lifestyle garners an eyeroll. Maybe it's because the gratuitous name/label/brand dropping that goes on throughout the movie is ludicrous, and no one I know actually owns a "Louie," wears Manolos, or would ever dream of wearing a Vivienne Westwood wedding gown. Maybe it's because I now live in London, and watching a movie about life and love in New York is, well, foreign.

I agree with all of the reviewers who said that something was lost when they expanded SATC from its snappy 30-minute episodes made for a small screen to two-and-a-half hours on a big screen. Sort of like when a very crisp clear photograph gets enlarged to poster size, and the pixels blow out and the clarity and definition are lost, SATCTM was a less-than-perfect representation of itself. I really wanted to see the movie and be happy with it, but I had mixed feelings about it in the end. The dialogue was great, as usual, and some of the situations were classic craziness that made the series great. But some of the ancillary storylines were just that - unnecessary, and extra baggage. The "plot twists" that everyone knew about from the trailer were things that would have happened over an entire season, and let's be honest - Sex and the City the series had a happy ending, so of course Sex and the City the movie had one too.

One thing I was glad about was that the writers didn't shirk away from the fact that this movie takes place at a critical point in these characters' lives - they are older, want to be wiser, but the movie doesn't pretend they are still 25. Samantha turns 50 at one point in the film, and yes they're still dressing like young sluts, but at there are several points in the movie that you see them looking, well, old. On the beach, they wear more flatteringly cut (read: mom style) bathing suits. They have jiggly parts, crows feet, and wrinkles. But they also still have each other and their men (whether or not they are speaking to them), and that's a great thing to see in a movie that values superfluous wealth and sophistication.

In the end, I am glad I saw it; there was no way I wouldn't see it. But it didn't make me miss New York, it didn't make me wish I were there, it didn't make me wish I had a boyfriend, and it didn't even make me wish for my college apartment when the opening notes of the SATC theme song (do-do-do, do-do-do-do!) were enough to pull five warring girls from all corners of the house to sit together for hours and laugh hysterically. Sex and the City tightly defined New York and its women in a very narrow time period of hope and prosperity that somehow doesn't seem to fit anymore. I prefer to keep my warm and pleasant memories of that moment when anything seemed possible if you had your lady friends and fabulous fashion locked into the series, with its perfectly imperfect ending, rather than knowing what its creators thought happened five years out. I know what happened to New York five years out, because I lived it; these four women seem to still be in that fantasy, and the bubble has literally, and figuratively, burst.

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