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Overall Rating

Awesome: 5.26%
Worth A Look: 21.05%
Average: 10.53%
Pretty Bad: 15.79%
Total Crap47.37%

6 reviews, 21 user ratings

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Sex and the City
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by Erik Childress

"Cinderella Liberty: or Give Me Death"
1 stars

I’m a guy. Let’s get that argument out of the way immediately. I’ve also never seen more than a fit or a spurt of the Sex and the City show; two-thirds of a few episodes at best so I had no stake in a big-screen adventure of their travails. To me it was just another movie starring some characters that I found to be as repugnant a presence in my short time spent with them than any television program I’ve ever seen. So there you go, ladies. I’m not the audience for your precious TV show. But I’m also a film critic and from time-to-time I have to remind people that despite whatever misgivings a project may predispose me to based on its cast & crew package, trailer or word-of-mouth, every film gets a blank slate once the lights go down. Except at this particular screening a nasty little trick awaited the press confined to this evening.

After a countdown (for those showing up earlier than the announced 7:30 start time) interspersed with little featurettes about the film reached zero, 7:30 arrived and so did the stars. On the red carpet. Introduced by Kojo. For the next HALF HOUR! One crappy interview after the next while press members fidgeted, some threatening to leave, others worried about the deadline they had to hit by Midnight who now had another 30 minutes sucked away from their time. No warning. No escape. I bring this up not to out Chicago critics as some group of petulant whiners in a room full of cougars, but as a piece of helpful advice to studios. If you know you have a film geared towards women and your film critic base is 85% male (80% of whom likely not looking forward to your film) you may want to give them an actual time that the movie starts instead of subjecting them to a surprise pre-recorded half-hour of a twit like Kojo, 25 minutes of which spent waiting for Jennifer Hudson to arrive. Or maybe next time invite them to an earlier screening so the anger isn’t quite so fresh when they’re writing their review. So let’s get to that shall we.

Sex and the City opens with a very brief introductory course in the four characters, their primary likes and attitudes, to catch up the uninitiated and, based on the 140 minutes that follow, giving us the only answer as to who these women really are. From what I gather there’s Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker), a writer of some presence for the Vogue groupies in New York City who is apartment hunting with a significant other she refers to as Mr. Big (Chris Noth); I presume not for his height. Miranda Hobbes (Cynthia Nixon) is married to doting schlub, Steve (David Eigenberg) and is so work-obsessed she won’t even let their nanny finish her meal on a night out and in the middle of getting some canubial pleasure for the first time in six months tells hubby to just finish already. Charlotte York (Kristin Davis) is more happily married to Harry (Evan Handler) with an adoptive daughter, frequent sex and admition that she’s happy most of the day – every day. Finally there’s Samantha Jones (Kim Mannequin Cattrall), the hornbitch of the group. (What? Guys can be horndogs, but THAT is out of line?) She’s getting some good regular dick on the West Coast from a hotshot actor but, in his absence, fantasizes about the next door neighbor who sexes it up in front of his windows with a different girl every night and showers nude on his deck. Your heroines, ladies and (hopefully not) gentlemen.

Wondering when the plot was going to kick in 90 minutes deep I remembered seeing something about Carrie and Big (coming to TLC this fall) planning a wedding. There’s an all-girls trip to Mexico. Samantha loves cock. In-between the details are a little hazy without introducing spoiler alerts. When your entire story arc is dependent on the dramatic tension of wondering when three pairings are going to say “I’m sorry” to each other, surely said writer is not interested in mere plot contrivances and is trying to tell a character-based dramedy with varied insights into marriage and the role reversals of women protagonists with all the superficiality of a fratboy who doesn’t know he’s gay yet. Nope. Instead, writer/director Michael Patrick King throws himself into a closet full of cliches (both comic and dramatic) and takes every opportunity in-between dialogue not worthy of an According to Jim episode to make these characters as loathsome as imaginable.

You can try selling the whole enterprise as some satire of superficial materialism and breaking down the Cosmopolitan myths of what women really want, but you may as well be selling arsenic to Don Juan because the anti-romantic vibe inhabited by this film runs counter to the very fairy tale they are trying to manufacture. Carrie talks a lot about wanting to find love in the big city, even hiring a personal assistant (Jennifer Hudson) based on her similar dream, but when it comes to her wedding it’s strictly a business affair that begins with her wanting to have some legal rights to the penthouse that Mr. “I got it” Big has offered to spring for, sashes into having her dream wedding and ends in such a breathtakingly hokey fashion that you would swear there was another plane crash downtown. Workaholic Miranda has the sweet husband whom she treats like dogshit. Naturally he’s a nerdy glasses-wearing type that gets the heave-ho in bed just as he’s trying to make the experience better for her. The big revelation in their relationship is offered up as nothing more than a Macguffin, makes neither of them look good and forces us to repeat scenes in which Miranda is told to forgive him only for her to remind her confidants that they have yet to offer any bit of forgiveness in their own plot contrivance.

Charlotte is happy. Just happy, happy, happy. Happy marriage. Good Chinese daughter. That means the film must punish her by making her seem the least sophisticated and most dimly lit bulb of the bunch. And if that’s not enough, throw in a little Montezuma and have the poor woman flail about as if she’s in a bad Farelly Bros. film that also includes a close-up of Miranda’s ungroomed jungle thatch around her bikini line, repeated shots of a humping dog named Dante and the fixed one Samantha buys on the street. Speaking of heave-hos, that Samantha is quite a piece of work. Lord knows us guys have had plenty of eye candy to drop our sunglasses at on screen, so I have no problem with women getting to ogle their objectifications in the same way – if only for the simple fact that it drops down their own guise of being more mental than visual romantics. But Samantha takes it to a new level of abhorrence. Did I mention she likes the cock? A point driven home, in case you missed the subtlety, two hours in when, looked down upon for developing a gut says “The only thing I’m not eating is Dante’s dick.” Whatever, go girl. But this is a woman whose lover has stuck through chemotherapy with her and bought her a $50,000+ diamond at auction only to be upset that she couldn’t buy the thing for herself and the nerve of this guy for buying it FOR her. What a prick, huh? This impromptu surprise gift that costs more than the income of most middle-class households isn’t good enough for her because she wanted to somehow adhere to some “hear me roar” extravagance. And when she reluctantly admits that her struggles not to cheat are based upon his faithfulness to her, good friend Carrie in one of her great witticisms says, “Do you realize you just compared your relationship to Chemo?” Your heroine, ladies.

Having the story of Cinderella play a significant role in the feature introduces the deadpan irony that this version is told through the eyes of the stepsisters like a big screen version of Wicked only without the happy ending. “You gave me my life…” and “…You gave me Louis Vuitton” is just one of the groan-worthy exchanges meant to produce tears and loud whispers of “awwwwwwww.” We’re a long way from “I gave her my heart and she gave me a pen.” But I kept thinking more along the lines of what Judd Nelson says to Molly Ringwald right before she says “Why? Because I’m telling the truth?” I imagine that’s the response I’ll be getting from fans of the show asking why I hated the film. I can begin answering by asking what apparent truth there is to be found in Sex and the City? Entourage may be the male equivalent, but at least in-between their self-involved and substantial “guy” behavior there’s a knowing satire of fame and Hollywood. For satire of this caliber to work, their first needs to be a recognition of their narcissism and not expect its female fanbase to be clinking their invisible martini glasses in agreement.

I actually welcome intelligent, in-depth discussion from admirers who have a deeper history with these characters who try to convince me that this film accurately captures why they followed the series through thick and thin. Because, honestly, of the two films that open this week it shouldn’t have been The Strangers that presented a more thought-provoking approach to the institution of marriage. Everything about Sex and the City is horrible. The women are nothing more than that clique everyone hated from high school. The sex is meaningless from both a romantic and pleasure standpoint. New York City looked better in Cloverfield. Oh wait, I just got word that Kim Cattrall was actually in a movie called Mannequin. What a coincidence. Guess I should go back and put quotes around that nickname. Something I would suggests the makers of Sex and the City put around “The Movie” part of their title.

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originally posted: 05/30/08 14:00:00
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User Comments

2/21/17 morris campbell who wants watch old chicks looking 4 dick? 1 stars
3/19/11 some random guy its okay 4 stars
4/29/09 Rio Sexist and the shitty. 1 stars
12/04/08 Shaun Wallner Fell asleep to this one. 1 stars
9/21/08 Steven James Parker This movie is great! I love it! Funny and charming! A must see! 5 stars
7/28/08 Monster W. Kung My cat makes better things than this. PS: my cat is not a movie director. 1 stars
7/19/08 Susan Lee I thought it was great .. much like the series.. great fun..aside from miscast hudson 5 stars
6/08/08 Mockingbird Erik, if you can't spell "admission," I'm afraid I can't accept your smug witticisms 4 stars
6/07/08 Sully Wish my boss would gift me with a $5400. Louis Vuitton Bag 4 stars
6/07/08 judyr stinks 1 stars
6/05/08 Jayson Better off on TV. 2 stars
6/05/08 Jon And we wonder why people want to blow us up. 2 stars
6/03/08 carol proof positive a show can make millions and be a piece of crap made for superficiality 1 stars
6/02/08 Norm It's was great! Damn Male Critics! 5 stars
6/02/08 L.A. Francois This movie remained true to the series' characters. Fans will enjoy it! 4 stars
6/02/08 George Barksdale A "Chick Flick" all the way. My daughters loved it but I was ready to go. 4 stars
6/01/08 jcjs33 like such TV shows..shallow, materialistic, dunce, douche bag sluts 1 stars
6/01/08 reptilesni This movie was made me long for the series again. It was a realy treat for SIC fans. 4 stars
6/01/08 D Another sign of the coming apocalypse 1 stars
5/31/08 Miles I actually liked this show once... 2 stars
5/31/08 Darkstar I fucking hate my girlfriend for dragging me to see this bullshit. 1 stars
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  30-May-2008 (R)
  DVD: 23-Sep-2008


  DVD: 23-Sep-2008

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