25 November 2008 | bob the moo
Does bring in real substance to support the run time but then also fails to capture the witty spirit of the series
Since any opinion on this movie has to be tempered by sex and viewing history let me just make it clear up front that I am a man and, while I don't dislike the series, I didn't ever get into it beyond watching (and enjoying) the odd episode that someone else was watching in the same room as I was sitting. Please feel free to dismiss/accept my opinions accordingly in light of this information. My first proper reaction to the Sex & the City movie was to baulk at the running time, which struck me as pretty excessive for what it was. I was right on this as the film is longer than it probably deserves to be but at the same time it never dragged as badly as I expected. The characters are older now and, after the series ended, all partnered up to a certain degree and "happy" in their relationships. Carrie and Big have settled into a new flat and this has made Carrie think about commitment and legal connections a path that leads to them deciding to get married. While Big gets nervous, Carrie goes planning crazy, Miranda sows the seeds of problems in her own marriage, Charlotte plays happy families and Samantha has it all except one thing.
This plot setup creates the focus of the film less on the free-wheeling sex and modern relationships of the series and more on the pitfalls of a mature relationship. This offered more substance to carry the film from my point of view but unfortunately this was not to be the case here. For too much of the film the material is superficial and sentimental with "love" not ever being all that real and instead smacking of easy steps in the writing that focused on events rather than the characters. Fans may say that the show was never about great depths and, in my limited experience, I agree it was witty, light and bubbly. The problem is that, the occasional moment aside, the film just isn't that way understandably perhaps given the narrative demands of the platform and the running time. Problem is, without the witty swiftness of the series, something else is required and this is why the substance was important and why the film is damaged by the lack of depth on this occasion.
This doesn't make a bad film but it does severely limit it to being "average" in the main content. What doesn't help at this time of recession (and the film was released during this period) is just how endlessly capitalist the whole thing. The audience needs to care for these characters and that is a little difficult when money is no object for them, retail therapy solves everything and so much dialogue is about expensive items. To top all that, given how easy it is to get product placement into a film about shopping why on earth did we have to have such clumsy and obvious product placement (the iPhone being the worst example). The cast do their usual shtick and all look good and play comfortably with their characters. Some reviews have criticised the four actresses but the material is to blame rather than them. The male cast are mainly just narrative devices and, with the exception of Eigenberg and possibly Noth.
The Sex and the City film is an average film with lots of problems. Generally this opinion is dismissed if it comes from a male non-fan but I cannot imagine that fans of the series are totally happy with this either. It doesn't manage to capture the spirit of the series but nor does it manage to replace it with anything else of note in regards depth or substance. It is glossy and professional enough to distract but if the plan was to continue the series through the occasional film then this is a pretty poor way to start off.