Turning a popular TV show into a movie is no guarantee of success. Bewitched, anyone? But Sex and the City at least had more than a sitcom premise to bolster its big-screen leap. It had relationships and love lives for long-standing, familiar and lovable characters.
It also had fashion — which, on the big screen, sadly, became its reason for being. In fact, the Sex movie has so much fashion that it doesn’t even seem like a plotted film, but rather one long infomercial or runway show for various designers.
Look, I understand the synchronicity of this franchise with designer labels. Designers get on Sex and the City — on TV, or in the movie — and that exposure can mean very big sales. The show gets to show off the duds, and the designers get dollars. A win-win, right? Besides, this show’s female target audience is into shoes, handbags and dresses (but mostly shoes and handbags, for which one size fits all), so it’s a natural.
But really, given the rich history of this show, shouldn’t its much ballyhooed movie, now new on DVD, have had more of a plot? I mean, the average TV episode consistently delivered a story and a theme, as tied together by the personal column of newspaper journalist Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker), and it did so in far less time. The TV series offered not just fashion, fun and sex, but also food for thought, and a legitimate exploration of rocky relationships.
But in this film, all those little things — things like plot, characters and relationships — seem almost irrelevant compared to the parade of ostentatious fashion. Heck, given its heart-tugging musical cue, even a scene when Carrie gives her new assistant (Jennifer Hudson) a costly purse is supposed to be emotionally profound and moving. Hey, it’s a purse! If that’s your currency for love or relationships, you’re in the wrong bank.
And, of course, the basic plot is so basic that it hurts: Carrie and Mr. Big (Chris Noth) are finally headed to the altar for a big wedding, but he inexplicably does a 180-degree turn and backs off due to slightly cool feet. Will they ever reconnect?
Of course, his feet shouldn’t have been that cold, because the couple had been cohabitating like a middle-aged married couple anyway, more likely to read in bed than anything else. (Some hot romance.) But the looming ceremony somehow gets him — this grounded, confident, successful man who could handle any big business deal but can’t face a brief church ceremony.
Admittedly, Carrie went overboard, making her groom an afterthought amid all the costly hubbub. But really, there was no need to throw a monkey wrench into the wedding other than — oh yes, we need a plot development. So there you have it.
The rest of the film is pretty much Carrie never working (why she needs an assistant when she doesn’t work is beyond me), Carrie feeling sorry for herself, Carrie continuing to be the center of all attention and Carrie continuing to be slavishly devoted to materialistic excess. What’s not to love?
Actually, I wish I could love this film, because I did love the series. But the movie does it an injustice. It’s like the chick flick equivalent of the Star Wars prequels — obessively devoted to eye candy and horribly neglectful of story and characters, as if simply trotting out familiar icons were enough. And it’s not.
Sorry, Carrie and company — I love you gals. I just didn’t love your movie.