Thursday, July 20, 2017

REVIEW: Sex and the City

It was messed up right from the beginning.  I should never have taken the bet.  I lost, and I am being punished.  For those who do not know, there was a competition on The Movie Breakdown podcast last year, a podcast that I co-host, where we picked movies that we thought would make the most money in their opening weekends.  I lost, and in a big way.  Because of that, I have had to watch and review movies that were picked as punishment.  They included Smurfs 2 and Sex in the City 2.  A third pick fell off of Netflix, so the replacement for that was the original Sex in the City, meaning I got to have another go-around with the girls in New York city.

Seeing Sex in the City 2 was my first outing into this world that was set up during the popular television show.  It was a mess of a movie, as it had almost no plot and it was extremely difficult to identify with the main characters.  They had major first world problems, and not the kind that you and I may bitch and complain about.  The entire crux of the movie was them trying to get to the airport so that they could fly in first class.  It wasn't that they would miss the opportunity to get home and would be stuck in the UAE, but that they would miss out on first class and have to travel like the rest of us.

Perhaps that is the allure of this franchise.  It is soap opera like in that it depicts a life that the normal person cannot attain and presents it in a way that allows for some fantasy through the vicarious living of the characters.  The main character is Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker), who is a writer, loves nights on the town with her good friends, and is in a relationship with someone named Mr. Big.  I know that is just a nickname for him, but it is rather silly.

All turns to hell when Big doesn't show up for their wedding, casting the illusion of marriage to the ground for Carrie as she struggles to pull herself back together and get her feet underneath her again. The issue of marriage becomes a major theme for the film, as Carrie's friend Miranda (Cynthia Nixon) is going through a divorce.  Another friend, Samantha (Kim Catrall) is in a monogynous relationship and fantasizes about life prior, when sex could be had with anyone.

So, what is director Michael Patrick King saying about the institution of marriage?  Not a whole lot.  He fails to deeply look at it, and keeps a lot of the realities to the surface.  The one character who is not going through a relational transition is Charlotte (Kristin Davis), and, frankly, she offers very little to the conversation.  She is pretty much a useless character, which is unfortunate because Davis' portrayal of her is really well done.

This film, like its sequel, lacks a conventional plot.  It instead tries to create moments between the friends that are the glue to this bloated run-time.  For it's length of two hours and twenty five minutes, it must be said that the film doesn't drag too long on any one scene, and it has a decent pace.  The problem is that the material just isn't incredibly enticing.  It's not boring, it just isn't a journey through human emotions that would come along with upheavals in long term relationships.

The problem is that you are either in with this fantasy of living the high life in New York city, or you are on the outside.  It has the feeling of a members only club.  You are either endeared to the characters already, or you are left on the outside trying to find a way in.  To be honest, they aren't one dimensional characters, but they aren't necessarily captivating, either.

Without a solid plot, this film just takes us from scene to scene, with the only real binding force being the rise to individual freedom of Carrie.  Perhaps this is enough to pacify viewers and keep them engaged.  The script just doesn't bring enough emphasis to this struggle, and the end result is something more out of a fairy tale than the world that has been created by Michael Patrick King.  There have been many other films that I have seen that are worse, but this one does little to justify the immense run time and keep the viewer engaged.

Rating - 2 out of 4 stars

1 comment:

  1. The appeal of 'Sex and the City' seems to be wish-fulfillment, even if from the description it seems like very vapid and superficial wish fulfillment. These lives don't seem to be real or even orbiting this reality, but again, maybe that is the appeal being so far off from anything that is grounded or could cause actual pain. It is interesting that it even dared to deal with marriage, if it did not have the focus or desire to really even explore it. Why even bother with any kind of plot, and instead just allow the viewer to live viacriously through parties and drunken blatherings.


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I'm smarter than a bat. I know this because I caught the little jerk bat that got in my apartment, before immediately and inadvertently bringing him back in. So maybe I'm not smarter than a bat.