SEX AND THE CITY Written and directed by Michael Patrick King, with Sarah Jessica Parker, Cynthia Nixon, Kim Cattrall and Kristin Davis. 148 minutes. An Alliance release. Opens Friday (May 30). For venues and time, see listings. Rating: NN
Nothing anyone says will keep Sex And The City fans away from this big-screen version of the TV show. But to non-fans or to those moviegoers just wanting to see a decent chick flick, I’ll say this: don’t bother. It’s just a TV show, though writ slightly larger – and not that well.
It’s not very funny, and the plot doesn’t go to any new places, instead pursuing all the series’ characters’ central issues: Will Big (Chris Noth) and Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker) sustain their love? Will Samantha (Kim Cattrall) get enough sex from just one guy? Will Charlotte (Kristin Davis) lose that blissed-out feeling? Can Miranda (Cynthia Nixon) stop being so cranky?The pleasure factor is high. New York looks fabulous, and fashion fanatics will go insane. A sequence tracking a photo shoot Carrie does for Vogue on the run-up to her wedding – in a series of gowns – is spectacular.
And the segment featuring Carrie in the 80s dresses she’s trying to decide whether to toss or take to her new apartment is hilarious; it could have gone on longer.
You know when you love the clothes more than the narrative (this from someone who is not exactly a label freak) that there’s a problem. It may be that trying to maintain strong story lines for all four friends – with Carrie getting more attention than the others, natch – is just too hard to do in a single feature, even when it’s two and half hours long, almost as long as the show’s entire first season.Everything seems just too simple.
Parker does, however, show some new depth. She’s definitely made the most of her movie work (Smart People, The Family Stone), and Jennifer Hudson as Carrie’s assistant has great screen presence, proving that Dreamgirls and the Oscar were no flukes.
I loved the TV show because it made the point that friendship matters. So – and sorry if this is a spoiler – why not strain those bonds more than just a bit? As it is, there isn’t a nanosecond of real tension in SATC, which is why it never really graduates to big-screen status.
We don’t want to mess too much with the formula, do we? Otherwise, there’s no next week’s episode – I mean sequel.