Well, it's landed! "It" meaning Sex and the City: The Movie, which is opening nationwide on Friday. Naysayers are suggesting that the movie will bomb if it doesn't draw in the very important hetero male demographic, which, according to some random brewery, is more interested in watching hockey than reconnecting with America's favorite high-class hoochie mamas. (Dear naysayers: Since when does a strong following of materialistic women with disposable incomes mean nothing in terms of box office receipts? Remember Legally Blonde?) The thing is, if the movie "fails", the blame can probably be placed on its rampant product placement, thin plot and overly-lengthy running time than a lack of moviegoing straight men. Or so say some of the critics! The latest, mostly tepid reviews of the Sex and the City movie, after the jump.
The movie version of Sex and the City, written and directed by Michael Patrick King (always the show's savviest writer), is 2 hours and 22 minutes of love, tears, fashion, depression, lavish vacation, good sex, bad sex, and supreme tenderness. It's as long as five series episodes, a big sweet tasty layer cake stuffed with zingers and soul and dirty-down verve (it's not above having one of the girls poop her pants). Given the running time, though, not that much happens, and what does has several shades more gravitas. That's as it should be. We want Sex and the City on the big screen to be true to the show yet to feel more like a movie. And it does....If Sex and the City as a movie is good rather than great, that's because it lacks the show's antic, humming New York effervescence. King would have done well to come up with at least one major subplot that didn't have to do with relationships. And though Jennifer Hudson, as Carrie's assistant, has a delicate presence, the character is almost embarrassingly saintly. Why couldn't she, too, pine and chatter with the verve of the city? These are relative quibbles, however, in a movie that taps directly back into the show's primal appeal, which is the sweet, sad, saucy delight of sharing these women's company.
The plot, which includes a detour to Mexico, often stops for fashion parades - Carrie alone has dozens of costume changes, including montages of wedding dresses and all the '80s get-ups in her closet. An episode at Fashion Week accomplishes nothing except to bloat the punishing running time. As was often true of the series, Nixon gives the best performance and she's rewarded here with the most developed story arc. The still-sizzling Cattrall has lost none of her skill with one-liners - especially in the movie's funniest scene where the girls use the euphemism "coloring" to discuss sex in front of a child.Davis, still amusing, has almost nothing to do...This movie provides no good reasons to revisit "Sex and the City," except to fulfill fans' desires for one more for the road and add millions to Time Warner's coffers. Be careful what you wish for.
Less a movie than a very long goodbye (again), at 142 minutes, Sex and the City is basically a whole season's worth of episodes-or outtakes-slung together for no better reason than to squeeze all remaining revenues from a stupendously popular show that got out while the going was good. If nothing else, Sex and the City confirms Michael Patrick King's gifts as a television director while demonstrating conclusively that he's in way over his head working on the big screen. Where TV is small and broad and domestic and episodic, movies are large and potentially deep and climactic. But here, the show's lifeblood-its trippy, backtalking, très gay script-sags into the garden-variety sassiness you'd find on any network sitcom. After sampling the movie's bloodless dialogue, I missed the show's bitchy one-liners like hell. And despite the pubic hair, well-hung penis, and mildly graphic Malibu copulating that won the movie its R rating, there are more bad sex jokes than good sex.
But I just couldn't get over how much this shared in common with BRATZ: The Movie. Montage after montage after montage with each and every problem finding a solution by the fabulously dressed four getting together, squee-ing in a pitch that will deafen dogs and neuter most of the males in the audience, and realizing that friendship will get you through any bout of rampant self-absorption. Oh, so this is what happens when you leave Bratz dolls in the sun too long.
Unfortunately, where episodes of the series used to take their cue from a question posed by one of Carrie's columns, writer-director Michael Patrick King never finds that focus, and "Sex and the City" loses its tart edge in the process. In need of some serious tightening up, the flabby picture does what the old Samantha would have never done: It keeps hanging around, pushing for a long-term relationship.
For a series so steeped in romance, the eagerly awaited "Sex and the City" movie feels a trifle half-hearted. Although there's pleasure in seeing HBO's fabulous four reunited, writer-director Michael Patrick King doesn't fully bridge the gap between TV and film - delivering major story flourishes but, too often, playing like a regular episode bloated to five times its customary length.
The movie, which reunites the whole cast, even if the other actresses aren't palsy-walsy with Kim Cattrall, has the delish/insufferable mixture about right. (It wouldn't be SATC if it weren't a little annoying.) Sex and the City: The Motion Picture (not the actual title) is a joyful wallow. And it's more: In this summer of do-overs (The Incredible Hulk, a new Batman versus a new Joker), it's what the series finale should have been. For one last time, the relationship columnist–cum (no pun intended)–anthropologist Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker) tests the fairy-tale trappings of modern romance-turns them inside out, pulls at the loose threads, and wrings the tears that have saturated them into iridescent cocktails. (God, that's terrible. I have to work on my Bradshaw-esque relationship musings.) It's not that the writer-director, Michael Patrick King, breaks new ground; it's that these women are in their fifth decade, and age is a more insistent subtext. The time for do-overs is almost up... I shall not spoil what follows, but the wedding sequence (about midway through) is a heart-stopper-a mirthless farce in which cell phones and limos function as agents of the unconscious. It's a chance to watch Parker pull out the acting stops, and she's spectacularly good: The neediness that makes her one of our giddiest comediennes is also a kind of black hole. Parker has come in for some monstrous derision of late-and I suppose it's understandable, given that she's pushed on billboards as the personification of kitty-cat sultriness. But you can sense the fragility beneath the poses. She's always the little girl dressing up, wriggling from one outfit to the next, elated for a bit but apt to wither in the face of rejection or self-doubt. There are plenty of reasons to resent Carrie's incessant hunger for designer anything, but how can you resent Parker's fleeting enchantment? It's what anchors the show.
It's all really soapy, though, with only some smidgens of substance. Co-star Cynthia Nixon's story line is meaty, but more often than not our heroines are defined solely by the partners in their beds and the clothes on their backs, as if to suggest that the right wardrobe and a big enough closet to put it all in are the keys to ultimate happiness. The movie (and the series that inspired it) perpetuate stereotypes of female superficiality, but then again, these women do stick by each other no matter what, which makes it somewhat easier to stick around for the conclusion... Sitting through this extravaganza of extravagance, though, I couldn't help but wonder ... is this movie ever going to end? It takes about as much time as watching five episodes of the series all in a row, which you can do for free on TBS, albeit in a form that's cleaned up for basic cable - the city sans the sex. Then again, one girl's slog is another girl's celebration.
Writer-director Michael Patrick King, one of the driving forces behind the original series, has cannily avoided trying to open up the material too much in taking it to the big screen. Samantha doesn't go into outer space, Miranda doesn't start talking to dead people, and Charlotte doesn't break into a musical number. It's simply an extension of the groundwork that the show already laid down, and for "Sex" fans who have waited four years for another fix, that's all it has to be...While [Jennifer] Hudson is just fine in her first screen appearance since winning an Oscar for her "Dreamgirls" debut, the rest of the cast has the advantage of slipping back into characters they played for years on cable, and that comfort comes through in the performances. The leading quartet pings and zings as well as ever, and even second bananas like Stanford (Willie Garson) and Anthony (Mario Cantone) get their moment as well. (Candice Bergen returns briefly as Carrie's editor at Vogue, delivering a brutally funny line that will be quoted in bridal shops for years to come.)