I did my best to avoid reading reviews for the hotly-anticipated Sex and the City movie, which opened on Friday. But from the few snippets I saw (such as the screaming headline of “NO STARS” from the Globe’s Rick Groen), I was only cautiously optimistic as I settled down in my seat for a Sunday matinee.
By the end of it, I wasn’t as disappointed as I thought I might be, and I realized having extremely low expectations was one of the two reasons why I enjoyed the movie. The second was having watched (and re-watched, in many cases) all six seasons of the show, I had a thorough knowledge of each character and relationship backstory – something those new to the series would not have.
Janice and I chatted about this on our way home this afternoon, and felt that the movie didn’t do the men justice at all. Big was much too serious all the way through, barely cracking his trademark grin at all. It’s a shame the editors decided to cut out the scene where he serenades Carrie in bed, because that’s quintessential Big! For those unfamiliar with how sweet and charming he can be, I wouldn’t blame them for cheering Carrie on as she strove to forget him and reconnect with her single self. As for the other men: Harry’s inclusion was essentially holiday and special-occasion driven, while poor Steve looked like he wanted to throw himself off of the Brooklyn Bridge every time the camera panned to his face – I wanted more of the Silly(!)Steve we saw a glimpse of in the Italian restaurant. And Smith? Mandatory viewing for those new to SatC is “Let There Be Light”, which shows his patience and understanding after Samantha’s Wright-slip – otherwise, the audience automatically assumes that Smith is just another young Hollywood write-off.
Also, as much as I loved seeing the parade of sometimes ridiculous outfits worn by the girls in the show, the naming of labels and the in-your-face product placements were just a little too obvious and self-indulgent in the movie. This was probably unavoidable – I’m sure they were just trying to cram as many designers into a two and a half-hour movie in place of several years of episodes as they could.
In this vein, though the film was long, I thought it felt rushed – they shuffled through several plotlines that in TV-land, would have developed over the course of a season. Miranda and Steve’s separation (and subsequent reconciliation, in a scene way to sweet for Miranda, in my opinion), Samantha’s waffling over her frustrations with Smith and her LA life, and of course, Carrie’s woeful “why did I fall for it again” cyclical fall from grace followed by a too-quick resolution (the time devoted to her inability to get out of bed would have been better spent highlighting why Big was such a great man to begin with, instead of a denouement demonstrating his ability to retype letters).
With the bad, there was also some good – Jennifer Hudson (playing Carrie’s assistant, Louise), was a surprisingly welcome screen addition, warm and genuine when playing opposite the sometimes over-the-top Sarah Jessica Parker. Second, my favorite scenes in the movie involved Charlotte. While she didn’t really have her own meaty storyline to contend with (just getting pregnant and living the perfect life), her upset stomach in Mexico and Big confrontation (“I curse the day you were born!”) were hilarious moments in the movie.
While it seems there was more to dislike about the film, I think as a whole, it would be impossible for any movie to replace 94 episodes of emotion, drama, and friendship. See it, but know you’ll always have the box set to go back to.