May 31, 2008

Movie Review: Sex and the City

With the recent lack of widespread cinematic releases (only four across the nation the past three weeks combined), I have felt a little movie deprived, so far as the big releases go. That being the case, I made my way out to the theater to see something, I needed something. I walked up to the ticket counter and when the girl asked me what I was going to see today, I replied: "Don't make me say it out loud." She smiled, laughed and handed me a ticket for Sex and the City. Smart girl. I went and bought overpriced popcorn and soda, then walked down the ramp, down the long hallway and into the theater. I sat there determined to make the best of it; however, fate was not going to make it easy for me.

The trailers had already begun by the time I sat down, but something was off. The screen was set to the 1.85:1 ratio of the film and they were showing 2.35:1 trailers. Now, this happens often and isn't a problem, the problem is that they were being projected at the top as opposed to the usual middle. Okay, no problem so long as the film is correct, right? Well, that wasn't right either, it was projected too high and the heads were being cut off, not to mention the bottom of the screen was still blank. I went out and told on of the ushers. The matte was then opened to use the full screen, but the framing was still off. So, I went out a second time, and this did the trick, the framing was corrected and the experience began to settle down.

The secondary problem brought on by this whole framing business is that I missed the first few minutes of the film, where the Sarah Jessica Parker voiceover filled us in on what the characters have been up to since the end of the series. This probably would have been helpful since I have never watched the series before.

As you have probably guessed, I am not the target audience of this film. Feeling the need to see a movie on the big screen, this one came at the right time to land on my radar. Most of the folks at the cinema I spoke to gave me the same tired excuse for why I wouldn't like it: "It's a chick flick." Now, I do not subscribe to the gender specifying of films, although I have been known to use it as effectiver shorthand. I mean, I have enjoyed other "chick flick" designated films in recent memory such as Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, PS I Love You, and 27 Dresses. If the movie is good, the movie is good. Unfortunately, I did not find Sex and the City to be all that good.

I may not be the right person to review this film. I have never seen an episode of the series. I cannot claim to be any particular fan of the actresses involved. If you are a fan of the series and are looking forward to this film, you have probably already seen it or will be very soon, you will not likely find what you are looking for here. On the other hand, if you are a newbie, wondering what the hype is all about, and wondering if this could be something for you, perhaps this will prove useful.

Each of the four ladies have their own threads woven into the fabric of the movie. At its center is Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker), she and her dream guy, Mr. Big (Chris Noth), have become engaged and have a wedding to plan. As for the other three? Well, those should wait for the movie. I will say, as expected, all of the issues are resolved at the end of the film, in predictable fashion. Honestly, does anyone think this movie will end on a sad note?

I did not find this movie to be all that good. It felt superficial, vapid, and hollow. None of the characters had much in the way of substance. It was all about the clothes and conspicuous consumption. Yes, it is great to see a movie with a group of people that have a friendship as strong as the ones written here. Friendship is a grand thing and can help make life just a bit more bearable.

As for genuine emotion? There were scant few moments where it felt genuine. The biggest scene that had any real feeling to it took place outside the library when Big won't get out of the car. You'll know the scene when you see it. Aside from that, everything felt scripted.

This did not feel like a movie so much as a couple of episodes strung together with built in pacing issues. The movie runs north of two hours and feels every minute of it. I cannot quite put my finger on it, but there are significant lags spread throughout. I cannot help but think another pass or two at the script could have tightened up the pacing and added some much needed depth.

The performances are adequate, although I cannot help but feel that Kristen Davis got the shaft. She has a couple of funny scenes, but she is also saddled with a sophomoric joke that would be more at home in a Judd Apatow comedy. Funny, but out of place here. Jennifer Hudson does a fine job of bringing a touch of reality to the movie in her small role as Carrie's assistant.

Bottomline. I was hoping for a frothy fun time, I did not get it. I have a feeling that many will like it, and I am happy for you. Perhaps if I watched the series I would have enjoyed it more, but as it stands it has an off putting lack of substance.

Not Recommended.


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