Sex and the City was the kind of show that actually improved over time—and not just for us straight guys tuning in for girlie gossip. What started off as Cosmo-lubricated escapism (especially in Candace Bushnell’s original design) slowly began to gain heft, as the real subject came into view: mortality. Men would never fully complete these women, nor would sex, though the show’s fuck-me feminism was certainly welcome. When brassy Samantha (Cattrall), the series’s finest creation, quietly broke down at a funeral, we were suddenly watching real drama.
You’ll hear much sniffling in your dolled-up audience as this mega-anticipated film version unspools. That’s actually a good thing: Sex and the City, written and directed by the show’s most intelligent helmer, Michael Patrick King, is a proper evolution, gradually empowered, honest and loaded with candy-colored anxiety. Yes, Big (Chris Noth) and Carrie (Parker) plan a gorgeous wedding, complete with a Vogue photo shoot. But he bails at the last minute, stranding her at the altar. For the next two hours plus, the movie is a mourning story, a resiliency tale. Tears are shed in a Mexican retreat. Hair is dyed dark. It’s serious-period Woody Allen, if he were a better shopper.
Carrie hires an intuitive assistant (Jennifer Hudson, better than in her overrated Dreamgirls turn) to help her go through the wreckage of her life, and the film leans into some rebirth clichés—even literally, when Charlotte (Davis) suddenly turns up preggers. But here too is cheating, jealousy and smugness. More subtly, can you think of the last time a Hollywood movie starred four cougars? (Hollywood needs SATC more than HBO does.) Of course, there’s room for multiple resolutions that accommodate forgiveness—and truthfulness. In a sense, that’s the happiest ending of all for a show that required its wrinkles more than it knew.
Cast and crew