Sex and the City: The Movie celebrates friendship more than sex or the city. Happily, reprising their roles from the popular television series, Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, Cynthia Nixon and Kristin Davis look more fabulous than ever in this entertaining chick flick. They also bring their characters to life on the big screen with considerable style and humor.
“True friends know all your faults and like you just the same,” a wise person once said. That’s certainly the case with Carrie (Parker), Samantha (Cattrall), Charlotte (Davis) and Miranda (Nixon). These women have been friends for many years, despite their individual flaws -- and sometimes even because of them. Like good friends, they listen to each other, give advice and try to help when any one of their little group is down in the dumps, usually because of problems with their men.
Perfectly cast, these four actresses succeed in reminding us that nobody’s perfect while making us glad of it. As Carrie, a writer and the film’s narrator, Parker projects a convincing passion for haute couture, and she helps us understand how that kind of obsession can sometimes carry one away. Davis endows Miranda with just the right combination of kookiness and guilt -- over having such a wonderful spouse (Evan Handler) -- when everyone else is miserable. In her portrayal of Miranda, a mom with a demanding job as a lawyer, Nixon manages to evoke our compassion as she reacts stubbornly to issues of trust relating to her husband (David Eigenberg). But it’s Cattrall’s performance as Samantha which impressed me the most. She holds nothing back in helping us understand Samantha’s need, as she reaches the ripe old age of 50, to be the center of her own world, despite her feelings for a hunky -- and much younger -- actor (Jason Lewis) whose career she’s supposed to be managing.
If I ever doubted the extent of fan devotion to these characters, watching this movie cleared that up for me. Applause rang out in the theater every time something good happened during the screening I attended, and most viewers (almost entirely women) clapped enthusiastically as the end credits rolled. Audience reaction during Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull seemed tame compared to this warm Sex and the City reception.
Further evidence came from the mother and daughter sitting next to me. “When the last TV Sex and the City episode ended, I thought there was nothing left to live for,” the mom teased. “I love to watch the show whenever I’m depressed,” the daughter added. Both expressed gratitude for the DVDs and the opportunity to have “all-day Sex and the City marathons.”
As someone who failed to appreciate the Sex and the City TV series, I’m surprised at how much I enjoyed the movie version. “Labels and love” serve as key motivators for the lead characters, and both elements show up much more gloriously on the big screen. Because fashion takes center stage throughout most of the film, costume designers deserve to take a bow for some eye-popping dresses, especially the wedding gowns worn by Carrie while posing for a classy magazine. In the love department, Carrie’s Mr. Big (Chris Noth) definitely seems bigger than life here. He’s ruggedly handsome and completely believable as a successful businessman with concerns about the horrors of a big wedding, which would be his third. I can’t help wondering why Noth (TV’s Criminal Intent) hasn’t been in more movies.
Oscar-winner Jennifer Hudson (Dreamgirls) also stands out as Carrie’s new assistant, Louise from St. Louis. The scenes between these two women come across as quite touching. Where can I find Louise’s clone to work with me? She’s the only one, I’m sure, who could straighten up my office and equally cluttered life.
Did I like everything about Sex and the City: The Movie? Not really. My inner Church Lady objected to the raunchiness of several graphic sex scenes as well as the film’s abundance of crude remarks. Plus, I’ll never figure out why that humping dog didn’t end up on the cutting-room floor.
Still, here’s a toast to four New York women who know the meaning of friendship. They truly are an antidote to depression.
Without friends no one would choose to live, though he had all other goods.
(Released by Universal Pictures and rated “R” for sexual content, graphic nudity and language.)
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