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June 4, 2008

FILM REVIEW: Good Execution, No Sap for Sex and the City


By Nathaniel Shockey

For me, it is impossible to give an objective, isolated movie review for the recently released movie, Sex and the City, which grossed an impressive $55 million its first weekend. And this is for two reasons.


First, I’ve seen every episode of Sex and the City, most of them multiple times, which makes it quite impossible to watch the movie without getting sucked in as though it were simply a continuation of previous plots.


Second, I simply cannot discuss the qualities of the show or film, ever, without giving some attention to the show’s morality. Suffice it to say that, despite the show’s ultimate reverence for fiercely loyal friendship, its relentless pursuit of lasting romantic relationships and, specifically, the movie’s ultimate theme of forgiveness – all three extremely valuable ideals – one idea this show repeatedly conveys is that having sex with many different people is natural, normal and even a good idea.


It pays very little attention to the consequences of sexual intimacy, even though it is one of the show’s primary themes. Without getting too preachy, this is an incredibly harmful message. And while this doesn’t discount the positives, I wouldn’t want my kids to watch the show until they were about 80, at which point it might be OK.


My wife, who I hold responsible for getting me hooked on the show, figured it would be a pretty good idea to get dressed up for the movie, which I did because I love her. But don’t think for a minute I felt any classier than the people who dress up as Chewbacca or Gandalf for their respective obsessions. Once in the theater (about 40 minutes early), there was a guy sitting next to me and I had to ask him if he was alone. It’s not as though guys don’t want to see the movie. But none of us actually has the guts to admit it, which is probably why in a theater of a few hundred people, there were about 12 men. He actually was waiting for his wife, but admitted to being a fan of the show, which prompted me to admit that I was also a big fan, and now we’re shopping buddies.


Finally, concerning the movie itself, it was very good. I highly doubt any positive review will tip the scale for any fan of the show toward seeing it or not, because they’ve already seen it every day since its release. But even if you haven’t seen the show and you’re wondering, “What’s the big deal?” I’d recommend the movie because not only will it answer your question, but you’ll also enjoy yourself.


The strongest characters are Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker) and Miranda (Cynthia Nixon), the funniest and most heart-warming is Charlotte (Kristin Davis), and also funny – but probably the weakest acting – comes from Samantha (Kim Catrall). Unsurprisingly, Parker has seen the biggest share of work outside the show because she is such a compelling and intelligent actress. She seems capable of selling anything, and any emotion, and usually you’ll love her for it even if she’s wrong.


One strategy the writers craftily used in the show was to exhibit the most important male character, Mr. Big (Chris Noth), sparingly. His presence is always one of a giant, and the show is certainly the better for it. And I was very glad they used the same strategy for the movie. Less is more, even with a guy named Big.


Without giving too much away, the writers avoided tight, happy endings on every front, which was also smart. Their reason is that some people are just too selfish for a relationship, which usually leads to a stale one. Sad, but true.


The movie has plenty of fashion, which will obviously appease those who watch the show for that very reason. It even harkens back to fashions from some of the earliest episodes, poking fun at how silly they looked, which I also appreciated – as long as they realize the styles in the movie will look equally ridiculous in about a year, considering the accelerating rate of fashion changes. (I gave up long ago, and my only hope is my wife and mother-in-law, who have yet to give up on me.)


The movie, like the show, is witty and funny with a big heart, which all fans have come to expect. Like I said, leave the kids at home, but even if you consider yourself a Sopranos exclusivist to the end and are just a little curious, it’s worth checking out. And if you’re one of the Sex and the City fans who is paranoid about seeing the movie because you’re concerned it will disappoint you and taint your overall impression of everything SATC, get over it and see it. I can almost assure you that you’ll leave the theater with the same butterflies you had when you learned Mr. Big’s real name at the end of Season Six (and I’m not just talking to the ladies).


Sex and the City Fans: Five out of Five stars

Everyone else: Four out of Five

(I guess that makes the average four and a half stars.)


© 2008 North Star Writers Group. May not be republished without permission.


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