New Line // 2008 // 151 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Clark Douglas // January 7th, 2009
Get carried away.
"Women come to New York for the two L's: Labels and Love."
It's been a while since we've caught up with the four fabulous friends from HBO's Sex and the City. What are they up to these days? Columnist and author Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker, State and Main) is still in a relationship with the off-again-on-again love of her life, Mr. Big (Chris Noth, Cast Away). In fact, Carrie is beginning to think that the pair should take their relationship to the next level. They've been together so long; a marriage seems like the right thing to do. Mr. Big somewhat reluctantly agrees, and Carrie quickly begins to make fabulous wedding plans. Meanwhile, Samantha (Kim Cattrall, Ice Princess) continues to enjoy her smoking-hot relationship with her actor boyfriend, Charlotte (Kristen Davis, The Adventures of Shark Boy and Lava Girl) remains happily married, and Miranda (Cynthia Nixon) becomes angry and bitter when her husband confesses to having a one-night stand with another woman. Ah, but surprising left turns are in store for all four of these women. Will everyone be able to find (or keep) their happily ever after?
I've liked or loved the vast majority of HBO's original programming from the past decade, but for some reason, I've never really cared for Sex and the City. I watched the first season of the show and found the characters to be disappointingly shallow and superficial. Sure, there were some thoughtful points about romantic relationships in the modern world, but such points have been made in superior shows and films. I didn't watch the show regularly after that, but would catch an episode here and there. My impression of the show never really changed. However, I had hopes that the feature film might be a bit better. After all, some time has passed, and these women are now in their forties. Perhaps these characters had learned some life lessons. Perhaps they would be wiser and more thoughtful.
Sadly, that is not the case. I wanted to like this film, honestly. There aren't many major feature films primarily starring women over the age of 35, which is an absolute travesty. Because of this, I had hopes that Sex and the City: The Movie would be a worthwhile film. Though the movie certainly managed to achieve considerable box office success, it remains the same old shallow, insubstantial Sex and the City. Like The Devil Wears Prada, this film won an audience by focusing on fashion, sex, montages, and trite life lessons. There are plenty of far more interesting stories to tell about middle-aged women, but people apparently aren't interested in seeing them. We're stuck with this rubbish.
Sex and the City: The Movie ranges from sweetly artificial to repulsively narcissistic. There is actually a climactic moment in this film in which one character says, "I love you...but I love me more," and dumps a caring loved one for incredibly shallow sexual reasons (I'll bet you can guess which character I'm talking about). We also get a couple of surprisingly dumb (and agonizingly drawn-out) breakups caused by petty differences. The inevitable making-up sessions occur, but it takes these rather thick characters quite a long time to get around to them. The actresses are all comfortable playing their career-defining roles, and they are all appealing in their own way. However, all of them seem too intelligent to be making the decisions they are making. Also, this 151-minute extended version is much too long. The dreary midsection should have been cut ruthlessly, because the script can't support such a lengthy running time.
The hi-def transfer is mostly quite a strong one. The colors for this visual fashion show are simply vibrant, making the film a pleasure to look at if little else. Blacks are nice and deep, facial detail is very strong, and the image is reasonably well-balanced all around. Even so, a few early scenes concerned me quite a bit. Individual shots seemed to be surprisingly lacking in clarity, so much so that I had to double-check and make sure that I wasn't watching a standard-def disc. Fortunately things clear up nicely after the first fifteen minutes or so. Wonder what was going on there? Sound is not particularly aggressive throughout most of the film (audio on the theatrical trailer is more dynamic than anything in the actual movie), but it's solid and well-distributed in general. The audio puts an emphasis on the soundtrack quite frequently, which brings mixed results. At times I felt that Aaron Zigman's score got a little too cutesy, and the hip-hop remix of the show's main theme is a misfire. Other wise, the music sounds like Sex and the City music should sound.
A decent batch of supplements is included. First up is a commentary with director Michael Patrick King, which is quite engaging. King is a bit self-congratulatory here, but he keeps the track lively and informative at all times. The commentary is definitely worth a listen for fans. Next up is a 23-minute conversation with King and Sarah Jessica Parker. Perhaps fittingly, they primarily focus on the fashion choices rather than on the character motivations. More of this is available in the featurette "The Fabulous Fashion of Sex and the City," which is quickly followed by a behind-the-scenes look at a popular singer with "Fergie in the Studio." There are also some additional scenes. We also get a couple of hi-def exclusives here. "Sex and the City: The City" is a somewhat boring interactive map. Next, we have "Dish It," a rather dull trivia track. These add nothing of interest.
Sex and the City fans will undoubtedly be thrilled to have another slice of this fashionable pie, and it's certainly accessible enough for those who don't have much familiarity with the show. Even so, I found it a rather hollow and tiresome viewing experience. It's a slick, superficially appealing, and glittery flick, but all that glitters is not gold. Here's hoping that a smarter and more thoughtful film about middle-aged women will be able to attain similar success at the box office. The Blu-ray transfer will enhance the experience for those who are in it for the shoes, hats, and dresses, but the BD-exclusive supplements are a waste of time.
Review content copyright © 2009 Clark Douglas; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: New Line
* 1.85:1 Non-Anamorphic (1080p Widescreen)
* TrueHD 5.1 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
Running Time: 151 Minutes
Release Year: 2008
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Additional Scenes
* Interactive Map
* Trivia Track