The Nexus of Pop-Culture Fandom

Sex and the City Fails to Entertain

Written by: Ron Bricker

Image I have a confession to make: I am, almost literally it seems, the only female I know who is not a Sex and the City fan.  Maybe it’s because I didn’t have HBO when the show was on.  Or maybe it’s because I do most of my shopping at the Gap and the most expensive pair of shoes I own are Nikes.  Either way, I don’t really get the whole Sex and the City phenomenon.

That said, I have seen a few episodes, and I have watched enough Entertainment Tonight to know the basic premise: four single, thirty-something women live in Manhattan and talk about sex.  A lot.  Sometimes clothes or shoes come into the conversation, but mostly it’s just sex.  I also know that the show was not cancelled prematurely.  Instead, it rode off into the sunset with, arguably, more fanfare than any series finale in recent history.  All the loose ends were tied up, and viewers got the happy ending they were looking for.  The women were neither single nor thirty-something anymore, and thus, the show was over.  Which left me with one question: What exactly is the point of the Sex and the City movie?

After watching this movie, I feel confident in saying that the point is to bilk money out of the series’ devoted fan base.  This will probably be okay with them—after all, they are called “devoted” for a reason.  Unfortunately for them, the fun tone and witty, incisive writing that made the series such a favorite is gone, leaving behind a dull, excruciatingly slow-paced film that is neither particularly funny nor particularly dramatic.

The film takes place a few years after the end of the series, and begins with a quick recap of where all the main characters have been.  Charlotte has been living with her husband and their three-year-old adopted daughter.  Miranda is still living in Brooklyn with her husband and son, who is now about five.  Samantha is living in California, where she is managing the career of her boyfriend, a hunky actor nearly half her age.  And of course, Carrie has finally managed to pin down that ne’er-do-well Big; they are looking for an apartment together. 

The script feels strangely phoned-in for such a highly anticipated movie, as if the writers ran out of original ideas when the series ended and resorted to overwrought situations and clichéd emotions.  The mood takes a downturn about thirty minutes into the film and delves into darker situations, each involving the main characters’ relationships and the problems therein.  The darker tone could have worked, but the blend of humor and pathos here is awkward at best, and nonexistent at worst.  The plot doesn’t really go anywhere, either, adding very little to the overarching Sex in the City storyline.

Don’t get me wrong: there are a few funny moments here, but there are not as many of them (and they are not as funny) as you might expect.  When the most memorable gag revolves around poop, you know the movie is in trouble.

The biggest problem here is the pacing, taking two and a half hours to cover situations that could have been presented more effectively (and entertainingly) in 90 minutes.  Instead, useless scenes of dog walking, Halloween costume shopping, and fashion shows slow the speed of the plot to a crawl.  It’s fitting that the film covers about a year in the characters’ lives—it felt like it was about a year long!

Maybe I’m not the greatest authority here; since I don’t watch the show, I don’t feel emotionally connected with the characters in the way a true fan would.  And after all, Sex and the City is not the first—nor will it be the last—television show to make a useless reunion movie; after all, how many made-for-TV Brady Bunch movies were made in the 80s before Sherwood Schwartz realized that no one cared who Marcia and Jan got married to?  But as paying consumers, fans should expect something better than The Brady Girls Get Married.  Unfortunately, this movie has committed the cardinal sin of cinema: it’s just not entertaining.