Cinema review: Sex and the City

June 17 2008 at 11:02 pm (Cinema reviews)

I must begin by saying that I used to watch Sex and the City sometimes and I quite enjoyed it. And I have to admit that I also quite enjoyed this film, but I also have some big problems with it.

Let’s get one thing quite clear: this film hates men. It would be something of a sweeping generalisation to say that romantic comedies are enjoyed only by women, but never before has a film been aimed so uniquely at women. When I watched it there were about a dozen men in the cinema, but I’ve heard reports of entirely female audiences, not a Y chromosome in sight. If it sounds like I’m entering dangerous sexist territory, here’s why: the film actually inspires sexism.

Neither sex is painted in a very good light and as little more than thinly disguised stereotypes, but it’s inevitably men that come off worse. All the heterosexual males in this film are either idealised sex objects or pathetic, evil bastards. In fact, it is nigh on impossible to watch this film as a human being – it must be viewed from either a male or a female perspective.

That aside, it doesn’t really work well as a film. It suffers from the same problem as The Simpsons Movie last summer – a longstanding and hugely popular TV series transferred to the big screen but just ends up as an extended episode of the series. The Simpsons went from being a 20 minute cartoon to a 90 minute film. SATC stalwart director Michael Patrick King has stretched the winning formula by a similar ratio and made a film that feels about a fortnight.

However, despite all these problems, it’s actually an enjoyable film. For a start, all the ingredients that made the series so adored are here. The characters all have good stories and it’s nice to see them grow a bit even if all these women are still a little shallow and materialistic – even love is made out to be a commodity, like it’s a Louis Vuitton bag or a pair of Manolo Blahniks.

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t find it funny. Several moments that are hilarious, including one joke involving bowel movements which wouldn’t be out of place in a Farrelly brothers film. It’s also much more serious and touching than I remember the series – one scene between Carrie and Miranda is positively heartbreaking.

There has been so much expectation about this film that despite Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk and The Dark Knight, this summer may always be remembered as ‘Indy vs Carrie’. And it would appear that Carrie has won. Whereas Indy 4 overpromised and underdelivered on a beloved franchise, Carrie and her crew gave their fans exactly what they wanted. Summer cinema tends to be largely a boy’s only affair – explosions, guns, superheroes – so this film is a fine example of blockbusting for girls.
Rating: 3/5

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