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SEX AND THE CITY
U.S. Release Date: May 30, 2008
Distributor: Warner Bros. (New Line)
Director: Michael Patrick King
Writer: Michael Patrick King
Producer: Michael Patrick King
Composer: Aaron Zigman
Cast: Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, Kristin Davis, Cynthia Nixon, Chris Noth, Jennifer Hudson
Running Time: 2 hours and 15 minutes
MPAA Rating: R (strong sexual content, graphic nudity and language)

Cable Show Adaptation is Alright
by Scott Holleran

Never having subscribed to Home Box Office (HBO) let alone watched the HBO show about what looked like a bunch of bitches, my expectations for Sex and the City, a movie based on the cable program, were low.

Starring squinty Sarah Jessica Parker, who will never be leading lady material, as a writer named Carrie Bradshaw, and featuring her three gal pals, Sex and the City is better than expected. Parker could be decked in diamonds and still look to me like the best friend in Footloose, and the silly soap opera bobs up and down never gaining traction.

But a character named Samantha, played by solidly built Kim Cattrall (Ice Princess) as a catty Mae West type, steals the show and saves the day, delivering some hilariously tacky lines and scenes about a national forest and sushi that will have everyone—including husbands and lovers—laughing out loud.

Take the rest as a made for television tribute to friendship and falling in love. Thankfully suctioning out much of the vile, sneering humor common to cable television programming, Sex and the City does its best to make sense of these four New York women. Besides narrator Carrie, drawn to New York City for fashion designer labels and love—don't expect women with a lot of brains here—and husky Samantha, who eats men for breakfast, there's doe-eyed Charlotte (the most sympathetic, portrayed by Kristin Davis) and a frumpy redhead named Miranda (Cynthia Nixon).

Each female's subplot crosses with one another at some point. Fashion, friendship and fairy tales dominate the imagery and it is as deep as cell phone chatter in line at Starbucks. But it passes the time. Though they all trash men and talk like Seventies feminists, these shallow women, who apparently work (that's hardly shown) are a throwback to Forties dames.

The men are cardboard cut-out gays, sugar daddies and regular Joes—with one warm, Jewish poppa cameo. The plot, such as it is, concerns Carrie's wedding to someone the dames refer to as "Big" without explanation—as in Mister Big, talk about sexist stereotyping—capably played by Chris Noth. He is pretty much there to let Parker spin around in a lovely wedding dress display.

Amid classic New York City romanticism, Samantha struggles to stay fresh and loyal in her California relationship—brace for the usual anti-L.A. stuff—Miranda wonders about sexual dry spells and Charlotte gasps here and there. Side characters by Candice Bergen and Jennifer Hudson should have been cut in a two-and-a-half hour movie that is a half an hour too long.

The nicely packaged Sex and the City piles on the outfits—bony Parker looks ridiculous in everything but the wedding gowns—the arched eyebrow lines and the alcohol (and, at this rate, all four of them ought to head for rehab). Though it sputters and stalls, there is usually something good to look at or listen to and it is often something relatable.

Awkward, silent moments in the back of a taxi—an emotional rescue on New Year's Eve—the wonder of a properly lighted walk-in closet, there's a refreshing honesty about what people, especially women, really feel about having it all in the big, lonely city. True, Parker's character is irrevocably petty and Cattrall's aging blonde horndog is as nutritious as a Hostess Ho-Ho, but sometimes you gotta give in to the laughs and there's plenty of that in this feminine fairy tale.


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