What is all the fuss about? “Sex and the City” is a lousy movie. You can expect
to laugh heartily four times at most. Aside from those prized moments, expect to
be bored – perhaps intolerably bored. Since I heard several women (you can count
the men on one hand) chattering with obvious enthusiasm as the theater emptied,
I tried to understand why I disliked so thoroughly something others found
entertaining. I can say only that mine was a viscerally negative reaction that
probably precludes my being fair. So here are the whys of my reaction.
1) These women seem to range in age from 30 to 50, and that’s just too old to be shrieking in joy and surprise at the very sight of each other – over and over. They actually shriek…as in middle school type shrieking. It’s embarrassing.
2) The script is terrible. The filmmakers seem to think the sight of their four heroines is enough for the audience – no need for good dialogue when you have a Manhattan background and a relentless fashion show featuring clothes that only dedicated shoppers could love. These women shop when they’re bored or depressed which is most of the time. They exit taxis with armloads of designer shopping bags full of things like $500 shoes. It is doubtful that any movie this year has had such armloads of unflattering clothes.
3) As in any big city where women come to fall in love, the talk is all about “relationships” with men - how to get them, how they make love, their deficiencies and strengths.
4) The men in this movie are slightly more appealing than the women, though that’s not saying much. Chris Noth plays Mr. Big, the successful guy who can buy a luxury apartment for Sarah Jessica Parker’s Carrie. He’s dull but nice until he gets swallowed up by Carrie’s wedding machinery. Steve (David Eigenberg) is the sympathetic and beleaguered husband of Miranda (Cynthia Nixon). And Charlotte’s Harry (Evan Handler) wins us with kindness in the final reel.
5) The women. When you have Cynthia Nixon in a cast and she disappears into the background, blame the scriptwriter. Charlotte (Kristin Davis) is the most vocal squealer – and biggest turnoff - of them all. Only Kim Cattrall’s Samantha has any color at all as she rides the Hollywood success of her client/lover. Jennifer Hudson, as assistant – too briefly - to Carrie, livens things up with intelligence and flair. Sarah Jessica Parker? She simply isn’t interesting enough – even in frivolity – to win our affection. She needs to compel our attention and instead compounds the embarrassment factor. “Knocked Up,” an equally frivolous movie, succeeded because it starred a smart woman with a touch of the unpredictable.
6) Two hours and a half of wanton consumption, of watching materialistic, air headed women shopping for clothes and husbands in our toxic culture is not a pleasant experience. I am reminded of nothing so much as Marie Antoinette.
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