“Women come to New York for the two L’s: Labels and Love.”
—Carrie Bradshaw, Sex and The City (2008).
For the second moviecube of the month, i decided to tackle the commercially successful and the critically discredited Sex and the City. I have never tried to assess this movie before so it has been quite a challenge for me personally.
Sex and The City was adapted from an HBO TV Show under the same name, which was adapted from a collection of essays by Candace Bushnell based on her and her friends’ lifestyle. The movie took us several years after the conclusion of the series. Miranda (Cynthia Nixon) having in her marriage due to Steve’s (David Eigenberg) infidelity. Charlotte (Kristin Davis) and Harry (Evan Handler) ever the happy couple finally had the blessings they’ve been waiting for. Samantha (Kim Cattrall) adapting to her monogamous life with Smith Jerod (Jason Lewis) and must cope with the temptation of her well-hung neighbor. Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker) finally ready to settle down with the big love of her life, Mr Big (Chris Noth), only to found her self jilted on her wedding day. With her friends help to pick up the pieces and she could not help but wonder if there really is a happily-ever-after.
As a fan of the series first, i was soooo looking forward to the movie. Naturally i am excited for the reunion of the fabulous women as well as wondering if Carrie finally found love and settle down. The series was always fun to watch, i think it was smart, definitely sexy, entertaining, and yet empowering, and celebrates women and their choices in life and romance. It’s about the power of friendship and bond shared between this group of women and how they interact with their peers and the environment beyond their clique. With the added perks of them looking fabulous in their designers heels and meticulously styled by Patricia Field. And i wished the film will continue this tradition, which in a way it did, but when the fabulousness overwhelmed their personalities, i feel this is a different kind of ‘style over substance’ conundrum in films.
“I feel the same way as you feel about Botox. Painful and unnecessary.”
—Samantha Jones, Sex and The City (2008).
The quote above capture the essence of my thoughts about the film. The movie is a 2 hour 25 minute long advertising spots for designer brands, most evidently in the Vogue photo shoot for Carrie article, wearing gorgeous wedding dresses by the worlds most prominent fashion houses, before Vivienne Westwood sent her $23,780 ivory Lily of the Valley wedding dress for Carrie after seeing the photos from the shoot. Designers logos, stores, shopping bags, boxes, adorning the entire film like a gigantic glossy advertisement for luxury brands. Heck, even Miranda, the most non fussy, efficient, and form follow function type of person, looked too glossy compared to the TV version of herself.
There’s one part of the film that always bothers me, where wide-eyed and hopeful Louise (the beautiful Jennifer Hudson) confessed that despite living in a crowded apartment she wore designer purses she’d borrowed from bagborroworsteal.com, “it’s like netflix for purses”. As if encouraging the fact that even for smart women like she is, luxury and perceived images are substantial, even if she could not her own Louis Vuitton. (Louise, from St Louis, wore Louis Vuitton… sounds like bad puns).
I do like that these women still have their bonds as they tried to get through each of their own personal struggle. They still support each other backs which weirdly enough displayed most evidently when they are helping Samantha to define her happiness or when Carrie went across town to accompany the lonely Miranda on a New Years Eve. But it seems secondary compared to the more superficial. It lost the wit the series had. And within its duration, i felt it lack of real issues to tackle with. Despite of that, the movie is funny enough at times to counteract the more dramatic edge that did not quite work for me (yes i actually despise Carrie for her whole freak out over Big).
So, if Carrie said something along that not all love stories were like novels, some were short stories, I can say that if the series was a novel, than this movie is a short story. Maybe not even a short story, more like a glossy magazine. Like when you’re opening a fashion magazine and browse quickly through the content to look at the pretty things they have and they forecasted as trend that you can buy for your own closet. You know there were articles but how many times do you really read those articles? I realised the reason i watch the movie was mostly because i liked the series too much to skip the film: it’s a nostalgic reunion (something i crave from another series that i love, but probably would never happen). Even though it lack the wit and the substance that i crave from the series, i look at how pretty Carrie’s Jacket and vintage studded belt just like i would see them on a model in glossy pages of magazine.
So yeah, despite the lack of wit the film still looks fun and it’s a wonderful way to get back to the foursome ladies, at least it’s less time consuming than having a 6-season marathon of the TV series, although it is emotionally less satisfying. I don’t mind re-watching this over and over again with my sister or girl friends on a girls’ night-in, to ooh and ah over fierce shoes and fabulous dresses, it is a chick flick material after all. But maybe the boys would beg to differ ;D
SEX AND THE CITY (2008)
GENRE Romance, Comedy, Drama
DIRECTOR Michael Patrick King | PRODUCER Daniel Dubiecki, Jeffrey Clifford, Michael Patrick King, Sarah Jessica Parker, Darren Star, John Melfi | WRITER Michael Patrick King | MUSIC Aaron Zigman | CINEMATOGRAPHER John Thomas | EDITOR Michael Berenbaum | STUDIO Cold Spring Pictures, HBO Films, The Montecito Picture Company | DISTRIBUTOR New Line Cinema | COUNTRY United States | RELEASE May 30, 2008 | RUNNING TIME 145 minutes | RATING R for strong sexual content, graphic nudity and language | BUDGET $65 million
STARRING Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, Kristin Davis, Cynthia Nixon, Chris Noth, Jennifer Hudson, Candice Bergen, Jason Lewis, David Eigenberg, Evan Handler, Willie Garson, Mario Cantone