Friday, May 30, 2008

30th May 08 - Sex and the City

There’s an amazing start to this film, where Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker) frolics across the road towards her beloved Mr Big, when suddenly bam! A bus hits her - ironically the very bus that carries her advertisement, which is seen in every opening sequence to the much loved Sex & The City series. Carrie is tragically killed, and in a fit of despair Mr Big goes on a rampage through New York, slaughters the other three main characters (Charlotte, Samantha and Miranda) before falling into a pit of nuclear waste, which changes his molecular structure so that he literally becomes Mr Big, towering above the buildings of New York and destroying everything in his path. Meanwhile a group of twenty-somethings have to escape from the city, all the while filming their escapades on shaky-cam. Mr Big is eventually felled by a hoard of angry gophers and some aliens.

Ok. That isn’t quite what happens. But wouldn’t it have been something special? Something you could only really do as a one-off special feature? Something to make use of a bigger budget? Something that gives a reason to make a film after a show has ceased to be? Yeah - it would have been. But instead the Sex and the City film is exactly the same as any Sex and the City episode. Only it’s two and a half hours long.

But here’s why that isn’t a problem. Sex and the City was a good show. Funny, dramatic, pioneering in terms of its strong female leads and graphic scenes, SATC established a huge fan base for a reason. Yes, the characters could sometimes get bloody annoying, occasionally seeming to parody themselves to a point of banality, but its character arcs and relationship-fuelled plots became addictive, and it was one of those shows where you could easily watch two or three episodes at a time.

The film picks up a few years after the show left off, and it’s a testament to the writers and actors that after four years the characters and tone of the series simply carry on, as if there hadn’t been a break at all. Characters face varying degrees of dilemma (some far more than others), there’s lots of weird clothes on show (it strikes me as odd that what many people call “fashion” I call “looking like a twonk… in bad clothes”) and even two, count them, two montages of Carrie trying on different outfits. Two. In the first twenty minutes. Smashing.

It’s frustrating and ridiculous that the majority of the major plot points are blurted out in the film’s overlong trailer, ruining any surprise revelations or potentially devastating turns of events. There is certainly a powerful mid-point, which spirals into a wave of darkness, before levelling off for the last third into a rather non-wow finale. But it still made the audience laugh and cry on more than one occasion. Whether it would have the same effect on someone who didn’t have six series’ worth of back story, I’m not so sure.

Like the Simpsons Movie, there was no real reason to make this (aside from money) and there wasn’t anything special done to the series to reason a voyage from the little screen to the big screen. But by being based on a super show, it automatically becomes a super film, notching above the baseline CF0. But only to a CF1. There are no extra points because, well, there weren’t any extras in the film either. And if I see production notes detailing a new B-Movie with a “Mr Big” and some gophers, I’ll bloody sue.

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