Sex and the City: The Movie

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Sex and the City: The Movie
Review (8/10)
(By Erin Cullin)

We have all known at least one - a person so outrageous and flamboyant that you will carry the memory of them with you throughout your life.

For me, her name was "Suzanne", and I met her during my first week at university. On the surface, she had it all. She was obscenely wealthy, classically attractive and well-educated. But, a product of the dysfunctional environment in which she was raised, she was also a lush whose escapades with men were legendary. I would know - she regaled our group of friends with tales of her conquests every Sunday night throughout our freshman year. To this day, the mere thought of her makes me blush.

It would be ten years before I would ever again hear such a frank discussion about women and men and the complicated relationships that they share. But, late one Friday night, exhausted from a week of work, I was flipping through the channels and there they were - Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte and Samantha. The show was called "Sex and the City", and for the next six years my Friday nights would never be the same again.

During the six years that it aired on HBO, "Sex and the City" became a cultural phenomenon. It was a half-hour during which women could let loose their inhibitions and watch a show which revolved around intimate and often hilarious conversations about careers, fashion, relationships, love and, of course, sex. Sure, it was outrageous, and the lifestyles of the women that it portrayed exceeded the grasp of most (I know of few "ordinary" women who can justify the expense of a pair of Manolo Blahniks), but it was frank and funny and, for me, the best half-hour of television that I had ever seen.

When "Sex and the City" ended in 2004, I must admit that I felt a bit of a void. I enjoyed the thirty minutes every week that I lived, vicariously, in New York City with Carrie and her friends. But then, there was an announcement - "Sex and the City" was coming to the silver screen. At long last, this weekend, "Sex" returned, not just to New York City, but to theaters in cities all over the world.

The film picks up five years after the television series ended. Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker) has enjoyed a successful five-year relationship with John "Mr. Big" Preston (Chris Noth). Miranda Hobbes (Cynthia Nixon) is having difficulties balancing the demands of her professional career and her life with her husband, Steve (David Eigenberg). Charlotte York-Goldenblatt (Kristin Davis) has settled into a life of domestic bliss with her husband, Harry (Evan Handler) and their adopted daughter, Lily. Samantha Jones (Kim Cattrall) is generating heat in Malibu with her young lover, Smith Jerrod (Jason Lewis). The film centers around the storyline involving Carrie and Mr. Big, but follows all of the characters as they explore the paths on which their lives have led them.

I must admit that, in spite of my love of the television show, when the news was released that "Sex and the City" was making its way to the big screen, I had mixed feelings. Although I was thrilled to once again sit down for a conversation with the ladies, I had concerns about how a half-hour "dramedy" would be translated into a watchable feature length film. After watching the film, it would seem that my concerns were not completely misplaced.

"Sex and the City" is a film that will be a delight to fans of the series, but I suspect that it will offer little to those who are unfamiliar with the show and its characters. For first-time viewers, a quick trip to the video store to rent seasons one to six is highly recommended - without this backstory, you will feel as though you have walked into a cocktail party where you know no-one.

Viewed solely on its merits as a film, "Sex and the City" is not something that I would recommend running to the theater to see. At 2 ½ hours, it is long, a fact which is not assisted by an often downbeat atmosphere. There is little or no character development. The plots run parallel to one another, rarely intersecting.

Viewed, however, as an extension of the television series, "Sex and the City" is a "must-see" event. For fans of the show, it is a reunion with a group of old friends. And, even though we have not seen them for four years, it seems like it was only yesterday, and we easily pick up where we left off. As their 2 ½ hour visit comes to a close, fans of the series will wish that the film did not have to end, because it will feel like saying goodbye all over again.

"Sex and the City" is a film, about women, and for women. This is not a man's film (unless you are a man trying to figure out how to apologize to women for being a man). This is also not a film for the faint of heart. There is a reason that this film is called "Sex and the City" - if you are a person who is not comfortable with the "Sex", then this is definitely not the film for you.

But, as a fan of the television series, "Sex and the City" delivered everything that I expected and more. It was nice to visit the ladies again, even it if was only for 2 ½ hours. And, as I sat in the theater watching the end credits roll, I couldn't help but wonder... where was "Suzanne", my real-life Samantha Jones, and was she out there somewhere watching too?


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