Sex And The City
R
Entertainment: +2
Acceptability: -4

Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, Cynthia Nixon, Kristin Davis, Christopher Noth, Jennifer Hudson. Comedy/drama. Written by Michael Patrick King, Candace Bushnell. Directed by Michael Patrick King.

FILM SYNOPSIS: Four years after the end of the long-running HBO series, the ladies return still looking for the fairytale ending or at least the right pair of Jimmy Choos. Carrie gets the great apartment in Manhattan with her love of ten years, Big, and sooner than you can say Youve come a long way, baby, she is proposed to. Her wedding takes center pages coverage in Vogue and the guest list mounts to over 200. But since this happy ending is coming within the first 30-some minutes, we can assume that dramatic events will disrupt the joyous occasion.

PREVIEW REVIEW: I used to get my hair cut in a womans salon. Know what I discovered? Sexual comments flowed far freer there than in the barber shop down the street. And depending on how secular the group, the verbiage became distinctly graphic. This film seems to reflect that uninhibited worship of the flesh or the material. And women in the audience gleefully responded much the way I suspect suffragettes did after garnering the right to smoke in public.

Never having seen the TV series, I am what is known as a SATC virgin. Indeed, I kept looking for Teri Hatcher, suddenly realizing shes in that other TV series about women behaving badly. I knew it was going to be bawdy, but honestly had no clue as to just how raunchy the material would become, with its humor ranging from less than subtle sexual references to sight gags concerning pubic hair and diarrhea. Even more disturbing than the several sexual situations, which were played out like a porno film, was the attitude toward the priorities of life. The Sarah Jessica Parker character is rich and lives to shop. (She has shoes that cost over $500.) Watching this film youd have no idea that there was poverty in the world or that anyone cared about spiritual matters. Its downright decadent.

The lady leads are gifted, as easy with a throwaway quip as with the portrayal of being a jilted lover, and the storys bottom line is a simple revelation no romantic comedy goes without everybody wants to be loved. But these positives are outweighed by the over-long (145 minutes) screenplay (loaded with endless ordeals being resolved much the way soap operas do before fading to commercial), trite dialogue, and a boorish portrayal of men.

Special note must be made of Jennifer Hudson. She delivers nearly every line as if reading it off a cue card. I sat there in disbelief that this actress had won an Oscar (Best Supporting for Dreamgirls). I realize there is very little great screen acting these days, the emphasis mostly placed on technical cinematic achievements meant to satisfy male 14-year-olds, but thats no excuse for bad acting. I dont blame Ms. Hudson. She American-Idolized the nation and found Hollywoods door of opportunity opening. Good for her. But now producers are populating theatrical releases with televisions semi-idols, despite their dramatic limitations.

My main problem isnt so much with the filmmakers as it is with the concept. I suppose its true that the culture has become self-indulgent and vulgar, but shouldnt this art form at some point do more than merely reflect societys shortcomings? Shouldnt filmmakers actually give us an example to live up to? Which one of these women would you want to be like? Each is either self-obsessed, materialistic, or secure only in her white picket-fenced world. They are brassy and oblivious to anything spiritual.

DVD Alternatives: Enchanted April. A delightful fable about four women in 1920s London escaping inattentive husbands and repressed lifestyles by renting a castle in Portofino. They soon discover the estate has a magical effect on all those who stay there. Witty dialogue, dreamy cinematography, and savory performances from Joan Plowright, Polly Walker and the rest of the cast.

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright
Distributor: New Line/Warner Bros.

Summary
Crude Language: A great deal of sexual banter and situations that go beyond bawdy.
Obscene Language: Around 15 obscenities, mostly the s- and f-words and mostly from women.
Profanity: Two misuses of Jesus name and several uses of the expression Oh my God.
Violence: No real violence other than a jilted bride-to-be hitting her man with the bouquet.
Sexual Intercourse: Five or six sexual situations, most graphic in detail; one of the leads constantly views her neighbor having sexual relations with different women; a dog is seen humping a pillow, we see it over and over.
Nudity: Both male and female nudity, including male frontal nudity.
Homosexual Conduct: A couple of times we see gay men kiss.
Sexually Suggestive Action/Dialog: A whole lot of sexual talk, including sexual euphemisms in front of a child.
Drug Abuse: They drink. They drink to celebrate, they drink to forget, they drink when they reunite, which they do often, screaming like middle graders.
Other: None
Running Time: 145 minutes
Intended Audience: Adults, possibly females who wish to live vicariously.

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