Sunday 6 July 2008

Film Review: Sex and the City (2008)

It's four years later. Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker) has settled into a relationship with Big (Chris Noth), Miranda (Cynthia Nixon) has settled into life in Brooklyn, Charlotte (Kristin Davis) has settled into the role of wife and mother, and Samantha (Kim Cattrall) has settled in LA, managing the career of her long-term lover.

None of this settling is without troubles brewing beneath the surface, as Carrie is longing for the re-assurance of marriage, Miranda has little time for wifely duties, Charlotte is about to receive a surprise and Samantha is gradually getting resentful that her life is not revolving around her.

And so we are off on a two-hour adventure with the ladies who forever transformed television, as they tackle life's latest challenges, this time on the big screen, dressed from head to toe in the latest designer clothes and accessories, visiting the trendiest restaurants, and in Samantha's case, seemingly spending every other day jetting from LA to New York and back.

There are no disappointments here for fans of the series. There is fashion, fashion, and more fashion, everything from out-there everyday outfits to wedding dresses (an excuse is found for a wedding dress photo-shoot), to haute couture (an excuse is found to attend a fashion show) to the latest designer shoes (an excuse is found for a pair of shoes to play a role in the storyline) to the latest designer handbags (yes, another role in the script is found for a handbag). Not an opportunity is missed to show a designer label, and no less is expected.

There are many gab-sessions over many meals and (mostly) many drinks. The full supporting cast from the series is back, and there is the welcome addition of Jennifer Hudson (of Dreamgirls and American Idol fame) as Carrie's new assistant.

What about the Sex, and the City? Plenty of both. Sex is near the core of the issues that Miranda and Samantha have to deal with, and as an added bonus, Samantha finds herself living next to a hunk who is always either (a) naked; (b) getting naked; or (c) naked and having wild passionate sex, with at least one partner. It's mostly (c), actually. As for the City, although the plot finds an excuse for a quick interlude at a five-star Mexico resort, and there are several scenes at Samantha's dreamy LA beach house, New York remains very much the fifth member of the group. Key locations that play a part in the film include the public library, the Brooklyn Bridge, Central Park, many restaurants, a luxurious penthouse apartment, and even City Hall.

The friendships, the fights, the misunderstandings, the make-up sessions, and the comedy are all here, appropriately proportioned to the big-screen experience, and as usual with Love being the emotion at the core of everything. Searching for it, finding it, being afraid to lose it, and trusting in it. It's also a nice touch for one of the other central themes of the movie to be the age of the central characters, now in their 40's, and a bridge is built to the next generation in their 20-somethings through Hudson's character.

It is rare for a TV series to translate so well to the big screen, but Sex and the City succeeds without the slightest stumble. It is highly recommended, of course for all women, and for all men who want to try and understand them.

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