News From Terre Haute, Indiana

At the Movies

May 28, 2008

‘Sex and the City’ satisfies fans

HOLLYWOOD — The clothes! The shoes! The magical depiction of Manhattan and the promise of finally finding true romance!

It’s like porn for women. And we haven’t even gotten to the sex part of the “Sex and the City” movie yet.

Fans will be thrilled to see their old friends — Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte and Samantha — back together and on the big screen, which makes it easier to ogle what they’re wearing, of course. Everyone else? Well, they never watched the HBO series and if they did, they didn’t get it. Or they’re heterosexual men.

But writer/director Michael Patrick King and producer/star Sarah Jessica Parker certainly know their audience: the devotees who’ve already reserved group tickets for opening weekend, which they’ll celebrate in high style, complete with the requisite Cosmopolitan consumption and needless shopping sprees.

In that regard, this hotly awaited follow-up to the hit TV show, which ended in 2004, is a success. This is one of those movies you have assess in terms of whom it’s aiming to please, not unlike the 3-D Hannah Montana concert film: The audience has very specific tastes and needs.

Surprisingly, despite its obsession with all things Manolo Blahnik, “Sex and the City” also has its share of tearjerker moments. Parker has become such a fashion icon over the past decade that you forget she really can act, and is capable of visceral, heart-tugging vulnerability. And not to say too much, but she does get plenty of opportunities to display that side of her talent — especially with a running time that’s well past two hours.

It’s all really soapy, though, with only some smidgens of substance. Co-star Cynthia Nixon’s story line is meaty, but more often than not our heroines are defined solely by the partners in their beds and the clothes on their backs, as if to suggest that the right wardrobe and a big enough closet to put it all in are the keys to ultimate happiness. The movie (and the series that inspired it) perpetuate stereotypes of female superficiality, but then again, these women do stick by each other no matter what, which makes it somewhat easier to stick around for the conclusion.

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