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Wednesday, June 12, 2024

‘Sex’ Falls Short, but It’s Still Fun to Watch

This review was penned by a couple of girlfriends having a couple of drinks, with plenty of time for a little idle chatter between rounds. It was, in fact, the kind of gathering that Carrie Bradshaw, the Manolo-shod heroine of Candace Bushnell’s best-seller “Sex and the City” and the HBO series of the same name, often attends herself – when she’s not too busy sashaying her way onto the big screen.

For avid fans like us, the “Sex and the City” movie was a long-awaited reunion. However, we feared it wouldn’t be able to capture the magic of the series, and last week’s Costa Rican premiere proved us at least partially right.As we sipped our cocktails post-screening, we couldn’t help but wonder: Is it possible to have too much “Sex?”

The movie gets off to a weak start, with an awkward and unnecessary montage recapping the series and reintroducing us to Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker), Samantha (Kim Cattrall), Miranda (Cynthia Nixon) and Charlotte (Kristin Davis). Three years after the end of the series, we’re told that the women’s happy endings continue to soar along. Two of the four now have children, but they’re portrayed mostly as adorable accessories, leaving plenty of time for general fabulousness.

Though decadence has always filled their lives, it’s somehow more ostentatious in the film, with outrageous spending emphasized.

Part of the genius of the series was that, because of good writing and vulnerable characters, people around the world could somehow relate to a Manhattan lifestyle few of  us could ever attain. The movie fails to achieve this connection as it gets under way.

Of course, trouble arises in paradise, and the women begin to address the movie’s central question of what happens after love is found.With imperfections finally in view,we recognize the realistic and sarcastic writing we used to love.Of course, Carrie doesn’t fall so far from grace that she actually has to unpack her own boxes when she moves house. For that, she hires an assistant, Louise – who, though well played by Jennifer Hudson, comes across somewhat obviously as a token black character for a lily-white cast, and it’s a little odd to watch Carrie buy her employee a coveted Louis Vuitton bag so she can finally stop renting her purses.

Still, the film get its groove back in places, eliciting its share of belly laughs and reminding us why we loved the show.When one of the characters reaches the end of the story as a singleton once more, it also reminds us how Parker and friends changed the way so many single women see themselves. This Cosmopolitan-fueled world may be silly and frilly at times, but it also places women in the driver’s seat and shows the unique power of female friendships.

Bottom line: In some ways, the movie is doomed from the start, as it sets out to mess with perfection and then recreate it. But considering that we would probably watch these women sit onscreen and read a phone book aloud, we were happy to see them back in action, and most other fans will be, too.



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