by Tony Dayoub
Denise was excited when I informed her we'd be attending the Atlanta premiere of Sex and the City on Tuesday night. My wife's not one to brag, but I could tell she was eagerly anticipating the movie. Exhibit A: She pulled out all the stops in getting a babysitter. Never had I seen the woman line one up so fast. Exhibit B: She kept asking if we shouldn't get our seats earlier. Exhibit C: A smile spread across her face when she told me how her coworkers were a touch envious, "Tessa said she doesn't want to know anything about the movie when I go back to work tomorrow. She doesn't even want me to make a facial expression." Now I know how she feels when I make comments like, "Can you believe there's only a year left till the new Star Trek movie comes out?"
Then there was the theatergoing experience associated with the film. Not only were there giveaways for such items as facials, manis and pedis, or a night on the town for "you and three of your favorite girlfriends", many a female fan arrived with said girlfriends in tow, dressed a little too fashion forward for a night at the movies, but looking ready to hit the bars and order a round of Cosmos (never mind that they're so 1998). I've seen Trekkies in their Captain Picard outfits at a premiere, the odd Stormtrooper on opening day of a Star Wars flick. I was even taken aback when someone showed up in full Indiana Jones regalia to Crystal Skull's premiere last week. But never did I foresee seeing clusters of otherwise ordinary women decked out so you could easily identify which one was the Miranda of the group, which one was the Carrie, etc. Anyway, out of respect for Tessa, and those women who hold Carrie Bradshaw and her friends' exploits so dear to their heart, I will do my best to review the film without any spoilers.
First of all, I am happy to report that the film survived its jump to the big screen without also jumping the shark. Rumors which I won't directly address here, but you know them if you've heard them, prove to be completely unfounded. The movie hits all the emotional notes that it should 4 years after leaving the TV airwaves, meaning you'll laugh a little, cry a little, but mostly you'll get to revisit what it felt like to curl up on the couch every Sunday night to catch the girls on HBO a few years back. Except they are not girls, anymore. These women have left the fun single life they used to gripe about, and find that post-single life brings a whole new set of challenges.
Miranda (Cynthia Nixon) and Steve (David Eigenberg) hit a big bump in their marriage, which brings her inherent distrust of men back to the forefront of their relationship. Samantha (Kim Cattrall) is now a publicist in L.A. with just one client, her beloved Smith (Jason Lewis), and she wonders when she stopped living for herself and her life started revolving around just one man. Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker) is busy preparing for her whirlwind nuptials to "Big" (Chris Noth). And Charlotte (Kristin Davis) is wondering if her life with Harry (Evan Handler), and adopted daughter, Lily, can stay this happy while her friends' lives seem to be hitting major obstacles.
Writer-Director Michael Patrick King, responsible for some of Sex and the City's best storylines, does an excellent job of balancing the women's individual stories throughout the film. With a lengthier running time (about 135 minutes) than usual for a romantic comedy, the film never feels sluggish. If anything, we are so happy to see the characters, and engaged by their easy chemistry, that we wish the movie were longer.
Sarah Jessica Parker is her usual winning and witty self, and Carrie and Big's plot gets the most screen time, of course. But Miranda, easily the most interesting of Carrie's friends, is well served by her involving subplot as well. Cynthia Nixon is charming in her most neurotic portrayal of Miranda yet. Kim Cattrall is still the sexiest, despite her being the most mature (look up her age, I'm not telling you). Of the four, Kristin Davis gets the spotlight for the briefest amount of time, but her character steals the biggest laugh in the whole movie.
With cameos by four other series characters, and an assist from Jennifer Hudson (who manages to fit right in, thank you very much), as Carrie's new assistant, the movie hits its target audience right on the bullseye. And maybe more, as I saw plenty of husbands and boyfriends that were dragged to the movie having a surprisingly good time.
It will be interesting to see, this weekend, if this movie will be the first blockbuster carried to that status level by female fans.
Sex and the City opens on Friday, May 30th, in theaters nationwide.
This entry first appeared on Blogcritics on 5/28/2008.