Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXII, No. 23
Wednesday, June 4, 2008
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For more movie summaries, see Kam’s Kapsules.

MIRROR, MIRROR ON THE WALL: Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker) stands at the entrance to her walk-in closet to admire herself in her latest designer outfit.

Sex and the City: HBO Series Brought to Screen for Loyal Fan Base

Kam Williams

Since I was never swept up into the hysteria surrounding Sex and the City during its six-season run on HBO, this big screen adaptation has served as my introduction to the adult-oriented sitcom. As someone only casually familiar with the series, I anticipated a sophisticated romantic comedy revolving around four best friends who candidly confide in each other about the state of their love relationships.

What I found instead was a bloated blabfest featuring shallow, middle-aged women discussing men, money, baubles, and designer clothes in a flip and superficial manner. When not celebrating conspicuous consumption and the acquisition of status symbols, the film resorts to the sort of comic relief one would ordinarily associate with a typical raunchy comedy aimed at teenagers: fart sound effects, poop and pubic hair jokes, a running-gag about a pet in heat, etc., etc.

Although this highly publicized film version failed to measure up to my expectations, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the devoted fans of the TV series will be disappointed. The picture is essentially an extended episode in which the original cast members are reunited and placed in plausible predicaments based on their personalities and the time that has elapsed since the end of the series.

Once we get past the opening credits, the story, which takes place in New York City, proceeds to embroil each of the leading women in a personal emotional drama. Narrator Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker) and John James Preston, aka Mr. Big (Chris Noth), finally agree to marry after having dated off and on for ten years. Carrie then calls Samantha (Kim Catrall) to guess what her “big decision,” is and Samantha replies, “You finally got Botox.”

We learn that Samantha, the most promiscuous of the four, has moved to Los Angeles with her boy-toy, Smith (Jason Lewis), a waiter with Hollywood actor aspirations. Her crisis develops when she finds herself attracted to Dante (Gilles Marini), a tall, dark, and handsome man who conveniently lives next door to her.

Meanwhile, back in the Big Apple, Miranda (Cynthia Nixon), an attorney with a five-year-old son (Joseph Pupo), has been too busy to notice that she and her husband, Steve (David Eigenberg), haven’t slept together in six months. When he admits to infidelity, she is forced to decide whether she wants to forgive him or break up their marriage.

The last of the interlocking plotlines involves the disruption of Charlotte’s (Kristin Davis) comfortable family life by an unplanned pregnancy. Her family was thought complete when, after a miscarriage, she and her husband Harry (Evan Handler) had adopted an orphan from China.

It feels like forever by the time this 142 minute soap opera ties all these assorted loose ends together, especially because the dialogue is laced with annoying lines like, “It was the best money I ever spent” from Carrie describing her purchase of a Louis Vuitton accessory. On another occasion, Miranda complains that she can’t get a 917 area code for her new cell phone after she threw the last one in the ocean in a fit of rage.

Unfortunately, the supporting cast isn’t any more endearing, starting with Jennifer Hudson, who plays Carrie’s new assistant, Louise. Unfortunately, Hudson isn’t given much to do other than look frumpy while gushing over her boss’s great taste and generosity. Meanwhile, Mario Cantone camps it up as Anthony, a wedding planner who seizes any opportunity to steal a scene.

Fair (1 star). Rated R for profanity, sexuality, and graphic nudity. Running time: 142 minutes. Studio: New Line Cinema.

For more movie summaries, see Kam’s Kapsules.

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