Michael Patrick King
Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, Kristin Davis, Cynthia Nixon, Chris Noth, Candice Bergen, Jennifer Hudson, David Eigenberg, Evan Handler, Jason Lewis, Mario Cantone
Michael Patrick King, Candace Bushnell (book), Darren Star (television series creator)
Get Carried Away.
Sex and the City is a feature film adaptation of the hit HBO television series. The film follows the continuing adventures of the series' four main characters - Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte, and Miranda - as they live their lives in Manhattan four years after the series ended. Stars Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, Kristin Davis, and Cynthia Nixon reprise their roles, while the film is written and directed by Michael Patrick King, who executive produced the original television series. Additionally, Chris Noth, David Eigenberg, Evan Handler, and Jason Lewis return as the women's love interests. Academy Award-winning actress Jennifer Hudson has also joined the cast and plays Carrie Bradshaw's assistant, a new character introduced in the film.
$56.848 million on 3285 screens.
English Dolby Digital 5.1
Runtime: 151 min.
Release Date: 9/23/2008
• Audio Commentary with Director Michael Patrick King
• ďA Conversation with Sarah Jessica Parker and Michael Patrick KingĒ Featurette
• ďThe Fabulous Fashion of Sex and the City Featurette
• Additional Scenes with Optional Directorís Commentary
• ďFergie In the StudioĒ Featurette
• Digital Copy
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Sex And The City: The Movie - Special Edition (2008)
Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (September 30, 2008)
Never underestimate the love women maintain for shoes and slightly comedic soap opera. How else can one explain the success of Sex and the City: The Movie? As a counter-programming move, it hit the screens during the action film dominated summer of 2008 and managed to become a decent hit. The flick snagged a tidy $152 million and all but ensured another cinematic chapter of the City franchise.
All of which caught me somewhat by surprise. Oh, I didnít think City would bomb, but I felt it had too limited an audience to be much of a hit. I think the TV show appealed to women in their 20s and 30s, gay men, and thatís about it. Thatís not an insignificant demographic, of course, but I didnít believe itíd be enough to generate big box office bucks.
I was wrong. And now I confront the possibility I might be wrong about another thesis. I never watched the series; I mayíve seen an episode or two in passing, but thatís it. I had no interest in the movie whatsoever, and I canít imagine itíll have much to offer anyone outside of the demographic I already mentioned. Will a 41-year-old heterosexual guy find anything of value in City? Letís see!
City takes us to New York to meet its four female protagonists. We have relationship columnist Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker), a serial dater who goes through on-again, off-again thing with ďMr. BigĒ (Chris Noth). They finally settle on ďon-againĒ and move ahead with their relationship. Prototypical ďcougarĒ Samantha Jones (Kim Cattrall) always pursued cheap sex with younger studs. She eventually decided to turn in her spurs and stick with TV star Smith Jerrod (Jason Lewis), a move that sent her to live in LA.
Charlotte York (Kristin Davis) always wanted the perfect love. She married a bald nerd (Evan Handler), adopted a Chinese girl (Alexandra and Parker Fong), and settled down. Miranda Hobbes (Cynthia Nixon) wed Steve (David Eigenberg) after she got pregnant with Brady (Joseph Pupo) and then moved to Brooklyn to live out their little family life.
So that brings us up to date for the start of City. What happens in the actual movie? Carrie and Big get a fancy penthouse apartment together and eventually decide to finally marry. However, he gets cold feet and leaves her at the altar.
That thread and its complications drive most of the film, but a few other plot lines emerge. Miranda avoids sex due to all her responsibilities, and she leaves Steve when he admits he cheated on her. Miranda decides to address her own boy toy relationship and her future, while Charlotte mostly just hangs around, though she gets her own Major Plot Development along the way.
First things first: I must admit City was better than I anticipated. Granted, I figured itíd make me want to poke out my eyes with toothpicks, so I didnít go in with high expectations. Nonetheless, I have to acknowledge that it was more watchable than Iíd thought itíd be.
But thatís about all I can claim for it. I managed to sit through all two and a half hours of it without too much pain, though some parts were iffier than others. Iíve heard City described as ďfashion porn for womenĒ, and I canít quibble with that notion. That movie includes a bunch of clothes-oriented montages, and even when it avoids those, it shows a seemingly endless series of snazzy outfits and shoes.
For the target audience, I suppose that this is a good thing, but for those of us with no interest in such material, it gets old pretty quickly. Actually, even for folks who do dig this stuff, itís hard to imagine they can maintain a ton of enthusiasm given that excessive running time. Light material such as City doesnít work better with more exposure. 100 to 105 minutes mightíve made more sense, especially from a ďleave them wanting moreĒ viewpoint; two and a half hours is just way too much for this sort of stuff.
This makes City a case of diminishing returns, as it becomes less compelling as it goes. Still, it never seems less than watchable to me, which remains a minor miracle. Thatís even though the characters tend to be somewhat annoying. I canít blame Big for leaving Carrie at the altar, as she seems needy and pushy in the moments that lead up to the wedding. First she gets Big to live with her, but then she must be married. She gets engaged, but then she wants love notes all the time. She even makes him build her a closet the size of Cleveland! No wonder the dude gave her the boot Ė sheís never satisfied.
Oddly, the movie makes her look kind of crappy until the jilting occurs. I donít think this is intentional, but it happens. She sports obscene amounts of make-up, and Carrieís wedding get-up gives her a serious Bride of Frankenstein vibe. When she gets dumped, however, and she pouts in bed, she actually looks pretty hot even though weíre supposed to view her as unappealing.
Not that the women of City are meant to look good for men. They exist in a fashion wonderland of styles that only dazzle other women and gay men. Maybe some straight guy finds Carrie or the others appealing when theyíre made up all fancypants, but I donít.
This doesnít matter, since City isnít meant for any other hetero dude or me. Itís a girlie fantasy world of clothes and sex in which all their dreams eventually come true. Thatís fine, I suppose, but itís not the most substantial piece Ė or the most entertaining, at least not if you donít care about fashion.
City almost tosses guys a bone, as we get a shower scene with Davis that nearly shows us some real skin. The sequence remains a tease, but itís better than nothing. Davis is by far the most attractive of the characters, and she looks damned good in her birthday suit.
Ultimately, City offers a banal but generally unoffensive piece of fluff. I didnít like it, I didnít hate it Ė I just thought it was there. Plenty of problems do emerge along the way Ė such as plot conveniences and the presentation of Carrieís jilting as a tragedy of Holocaust proportions Ė but none of these will matter to its core fans. This is a mediocre movie that will likely charm its target audience and few others, though at least those guys stuck with it should be able to survive the experience.
Note that this DVD includes an unrated extended cut of City. The flick ran 148 minutes theatrically, so it seems nuts to make one that goes even longer than that. However, this cut only lasts another three minutes, so itís not terribly extended. Since I didnít see City on the big screen, I canít directly say how the two differ. Based on what the filmís director states in his commentary, though, it appears that the extended cut simply adds a little to already existing scenes. I donít get the impression that the two versions differ a whole lot.
The DVD Grades: Picture C/ Audio C+/ Bonus B-
Sex and the City: The Movie appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. The movie presented a surprisingly drab transfer.
Sharpness was one of the better aspects. Though never tremendously concise, the movie showed good clarity and definition, with only a smattering of slightly soft spots. However, I noticed some blockiness and jaggies, and mild edge enhancement cropped up through movie. Source flaws were absent, though the film seemed rather grainy much of the time.
Colors looked decent. The flick went with a natural palette that showed reasonably good tones, though the grain dulled them at times. Blacks were dark and tight, but shadows tended to be a little dense; low-light shots were a bit more opaque than Iíd like. Overall, the flick was watchable but too bland to merit a grade above a ďCĒ.
While without problems, the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack of City lacked much to make it memorable. Music dominated the soundfield, as the score and songs did most with the piece. Otherwise, there wasnít much here. Effects featured some minor ambience but nothing more, as the mix stayed decidedly subdued. If the surrounds had anything to offer, they went essentially unnoticed; this was a quiet track.
Audio quality was fine. Speech appeared natural and concise, without edginess or other flaws. Music demonstrated nice dimensionality and vivacity, and effects were perfectly acceptable. They didnít have much to do here, but they seemed clear and accurate. Though the track failed to stand out, it appeared suitable for the material.
A bunch of supplements fill out this two-disc set. On DVD One, we get an audio commentary from director Michael Patrick King. He offers a running, screen-specific chat that looks at the script and story points, locations and shooting in New York, costumes and set design, music and editing, changes for the unrated cut, themes, cast, characters and performances, and a few other production issues.
King starts out strong and usually makes this a very good commentary. He digs into many useful movie topics and maintains a nice level of energy. As the flick progresses, he loses a bit of steam and relies a little too much on general praise, but those issues donít really mar the chat. Instead, King gives us a very informative and enjoyable piece.
A few ads open DVD One. We get clips for Sex and the City: The Complete Series, Get Smart, Nights in Rodanthe and Heís Just Not That Into You. No trailer for the City movie appears here.
Over on DVD Two, we find a few featurettes. A Conversation with Sarah Jessica Parker and Michael Patrick King runs 23 minutes, 49 seconds. As it promises, it features King and actor/producer Parker as they discuss the filmís success, what it was like to come back to the franchise, clothes, bringing the characters up to date, cast and performances, shooting in New York, and various sequence specifics.
For the most part, King acts as an interviewer here. He throws in some of his own thoughts, but he usually serves as the catalyst for Parkerís remarks. The featurette feels pretty fluffy, so donít expect a lot of substance here. Still, Parker manages a few decent insights, so itíll probably work for fans.
The Fabulous Fashion of Sex and the City goes for 18 minutes, four seconds and features Parker, King, costume designer Pat Field, producer John Melfi, style consultant Benjamin Evidente, Jimmy Choo founder/president Tamara Mellon, Scoop NYC fashion director Danielle De Marne, shoe expert Meghan Cleary, designer Christian Louboutin, Fred Leighton director of publicity Rebecca Selva, and actors Kim Cattrall, Cynthia Nixon, Willie Garson, and Kristin Davis. As implied by the title, ďFabulousĒ is all about the movieís clothes and other fashion choices. We get a good overview of the choices here, as it sheds some light on the various costume decisions.
Finally, Fergie In the Studio zips through in a mere two minutes, 12 seconds. It shows a little of the singer as she records a tune for the movieís soundtrack. Itís pretty useless and exists mainly to promote the flickís music.
Four Additional Scenes go for a total of three minutes, 45 seconds. The most significant shows a discussion between Carrie and Big about their upcoming nuptials, as it demonstrates more of his reluctance to indulge in a fancy wedding. The clip is somewhat redundant, but it does set up some later concepts.
The other three pieces arenít memorable. We see a little discussion between Samantha and Smith about cheating; it doesnít go much of anywhere. We also check out a bit about the friends when they great drunk in Mexico, and we observe more of Mirandaís post-Brady bitterness. None of these are strong clips.
We can view these with or without commentary from King. He gives us some basics about the scenes, though not a whole lot. Unfortunately, King doesnít usually tell us much about the reasons he cut the sequences, so his commentary doesnít prove to be very useful.
DVD Two finishes with a Digital Copy of City. This lets you transfer the flick to your computer, your iPod, your iPhone, or whatever other modern gizmo the youngsters love. Iíll never use it, but itís there if you want it.
Although I expected a genuinely dreadful experience via Sex and the City: The Movie, I must admit the end result was surprisingly tolerable. That doesnít make it good, as itís really a pretty cheesy piece of fashion-based melodrama at heart, but itís watchable. The DVD presents mediocre picture and audio as well as a decent mix of extras. The quality of the disc disappoints, but I doubt thatíll keep fans from their City fix. I doubt the flick will do much for those not already part of the cult, however.
Viewer Film Ratings: 3 Stars|| Number of Votes: 12|