Sex and the City (2008) Directed by Michael Patrick King. With Sarah Jessica Parker, Cynthia Nixon, Kim Cattrall, Kristin Davis and Chris Noth.
Your response to this big screen up-scaling of Sex and the City very much depends on your opinion of the popular HBO television show from which it came. Upon release, some critics sneered at its pandering to materialism, yet many of them had never seen an episode of the series, which in a sense, renders their opinion of the film somewhat moot.
I’ll cut to the chase. If you loved the show, it’s a safe bet you’ll enjoy this extension of it. For in truth, that is exactly what this is. Despite an opening credits attempt to tell the 6 year back story of the show, any new comers are too late to tag along. The question should be – if you’ve never seen the series, why would you want to watch the film?
Fans of the series, myself included, will know how it ended. Like a fairytale, everything was tied in a neat bow, with plot-lines brought full circle with a very definite sense of resolution. This is an extension of that fairytale, aimed squarely at those who invested in it. All the main players from the series are here, as well as many of the more enjoyable supporting ones. As sex columnist Carrie Bradshaw, Sarah Jessica Parker (or SJP, as she also became known), is on her usual ditzy form. Styled to the nines, Carrie has begun to feel part of New York City, to the extent that if I went there, I’d almost expect to bump into her. Frankly, I’d be disappointed if I didn’t.
While it can plainly be argued that it promotes an excessive obsession with the material world, it is escapism of a kind. To watch Sex and the City and use it as a mirror for how real life should be is preposterous. However, the show isn’t just about how expensive your handbag is, or how many shoes you can fit inside a walk-in closet. Beyond that facade, it is a witty satire on the gender divide, often depicting women as the more demanding, needy and scatterbrained of the sexes. Refreshingly, the show was never about arguing the rights and wrongs of men and women. It was about pointing out the differences for the sake of comedy. Its even-handed approach, in this respect, is often either overlooked or forgotten.
This is a film that requires two different star ratings. One, for the people who’ve never seen the series, another for the fans. If you’re coming in cold, there’s not much here for you. Furthermore, you have to ask yourself how you got here. For the initiated, there’s a lot to enjoy. Michael Patrick King’s direction has the whole thing looking like a glossy magazine, and the end result is like a feature length bonus episode. A $65m one. 2/5 for newcomers. 4/5 for fans.