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Sex and the City: The Movie

By Adam Lippe

2008_sex_and_the_city_002I am not the audience for this movie. I know this. I’m straight and male, and I thought the TV show was hideously written, like a misogynistic and glib gay man’s fantasy of what fashionable women in NYC are like, unknowingly miserable, shallow, and stupid. Is it fair for me to judge the film, especially if it gives the audience exactly what it came for? Well I went to the film with my girlfriend, so I will write her fictional perspective (with her input) and I will respond as a normal critic, noting technical excellence or flaws, writing, and acting.

AL: Remember, a few weeks ago when I mentioned that What Happens in Vegas… was using a film stock that caused all the actors to look splotchy faced and unattractive? One that looks good on DVD, but is an ugly mess in theaters, because studios don’t think people will go see comedies theatrically? Well this is 2 ½ hours of that. The lighting was ungainly, there was no plot and more getting dressed up montages than I could stand.

Girlfriend: Fans may like the movie, but it was disturbing how ugly most of the clothes were, house dresses and drapes passing as fashion.

This review was written for Outlook Weekly, a gay newspaper in Columbus, Ohio.

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AL: You forgot how disgustingly skinny everyone looked. I know that saying that in Columbus Ohigh fructose corn syrup is odd, because everyone is comparatively obese, but these women were frightening looking. When we got home, you were watching a rerun on TBS, and while Sarah Jessica Parker was thin, there was at least some tone or muscle in her legs. The movie was closer to a documentary about starving Ethiopian children than a hip, funny, grrrl power comedy.

Girlfriend: There was a betrayal in the way the characters were portrayed, the women are all eventually subservient to their men, except Samantha, and they totally sold out Stanford and Anthony.

sex-city-movie-spoilerAL: Don’t forget the repeated false crisis in the plot, things that a normal woman wouldn’t care about at all, like putting in a new closet in the bedroom, and numbers of guests at your wedding, taking up 30 minutes of screen time. And oh the jokes, how sophisticated? Repeated dog humping, pants shitting, and little foreign kids who say cute things. Fantastic.

Girlfriend: It wasn’t that bad. While there weren’t many jokes at all, it had moments that were pleasant and humorous.

AL: Yeah, like Jennifer Hudson’s token black secretary. Her 12-head and incredibly flat line readings were pretty funny. And Candace Bergen showing up looking like a plastic faced Candace Bergen. If you thought Karen Allen looked Botoxy in the Indiana Jones movie that just came out, Bergen blows her out of nerveless face water. Hell, all the women looked aged and haggard. The scenes with Parker and her dyed black hair unfortunately harkened back to when she played a warty witch in Hocus Pocus.

Girlfriend: That’s not fair, because the show was about aging, and the movie covers that quite a bit as well.

AL: And continuously forgets about it as well. Face it, this movie was disorganized and overlong, ineptly written and directed, and had flat, colorless cinematography.

Girlfriend: Well, I admit from those standpoints it wasn’t very good, but the soap opera feel of the show is still intact, and really enthusiastic fans will have a ball.

AL: It might have worked if it had been a parody of itself. No such luck.

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By Adam Lippe

Whenever there’s a genre parody or ode to a specific era of films, such as Black Dynamite’s mocking of Blaxploitation films or Quentin Tarantino’s Death Proof, the second half of Grindhouse, the danger is that the film might fall into the trap of either being condescending without any particular insight, or so faithful that it becomes the very flawed thing it is emulating.

Black Dynamite has nothing new to say about Blaxploitation films, it just does a decent job of copying what an inept [...]

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Featured Quote (written by me)

On Cold Fish:

Though the 16 year old me described the 1994 weepie Angie, starring Geena Davis as a Brooklyn mother raising her new baby alone, as “maudlin and melodramatic,” Roger Ebert, during his TV review, referring to the multitude of soap-operaish problems piling up on the titular character, suggested that it was only in Hollywood where Angie would get a happy ending. “If they made this movie in France, Angie would have shot herself.”

Well Cold Fish was made in Japan, where Angie would have shot herself and that would have been the happy ending.