T Lo Saw Sex and the City and They Have Opinions

Posted on June 11, 2008

Darlings, life’s been rearing back and stuffing its boot up our asses lately and yes, the ensuing result is we have once again neglected this poor little blog. We promise a Dames & Divas Deathmatch on Friday.

Meanwhile, we took a couple hours off from life (and away from this withering heat) to let someone else foot the air conditioning bill while we sat in a darkened theater in the middle of the afternoon, cooling off and taking in Sex and the City. We’ll grant you, this wasn’t the optimal method of seeing the movie, since we originally planned on dressing up with our gals and making a drunken, cosmo-fueled night of it, but as we said, life’s been a bear lately and we just had to make do with sipping our six-dollar Diet Cokes in flip-flops and t-shirts while sitting in a mostly empty theater.

Now, we know you’re all leaning forward in your seats, dying to hear the answer to the burning question “What did T Lo think of the Sex and the City movie?” Well, relax kittens. As usual, we have opinions. But be warned, there will be some spoilers here. We’ll give you fair warning when we feel the need to indulge.

Okay, so.

Here it is: We didn’t love it.

That isn’t to say that we hated it, but we had to admit with disappointment as we left the theater that we only just liked it. The good stuff: The girls all still have great chemistry with each other and they slipped into their old roles with the ease of actors who could play these characters in their sleep. There are several genuinely funny moments and more than a couple laugh-out-loud scenes. Writer/director Michael Patrick King wisely understood that for a lot of the viewing audience, the primary goal was to just see their old friends again and catch up with them on their lives. Well, mission accomplished. In fact, the whole 2-and-a-half-hour movie might as well be called SATC Season 7, because that’s basically what it feels like; an entire season stuffed into one bloated episode.

And speaking of bloated, let’s get down to what we didn’t like. Number 1: these characters are ridiculously over-the-top wealthy in a way they never were on the show. Oh sure, they certainly weren’t ever living what could be called a middle-class lifestyle, but in the movie, they’re all living a “Top .5% of the population” lifestyle. Every outfit, bag and shoe is ridiculously expensive. Every living space (even Carrie’s relatively humble apartment, which gets a major – and kinda ugly – makeover) is grand and glorious and expensively appointed. Every time a character meets a bump in the road of life, they merely pack up and move somewhere else and when life rights itself, they move right back in to their old place, as if all of Manhattan real estate is simply there to provide emotional support for these ladies. The level of consumption in this movie is slightly nauseating. Sure, you could argue that “it’s just a fantasy,” and we guess that’s true. The problem is, the show, when it was at its best, wasn’t “just” a fantasy. The characters had real problems and in fact occasionally revealed that they couldn’t afford everything they ever wanted. In the film, nothing is off limits and price tags are tackily announced several times; a 300-dollar pillow here, a 525-dollar pair of shoes there, and a 50-thousand dollar ring that becomes something of a plot point. These ladies suddenly seem to delight in announcing how much money they’re spending on everything.

Number 2: Jennifer Hudson. For an Oscar winner, the girl just isn’t that much of an actress. Still, that wasn’t even much of an issue. It’s not as if she had some serious emoting to do and she is at least pleasant and personable and easy to watch on screen. No, the problem with her character is that she’s the 21st century version of the “Mammy” role; the magical negro who teaches our sophisticated pristine heroine a little about life while she serves her needs. The heroine of course responds with gifts for her that she could never afford herself, as well as a somewhat condescending “Whatever would I do without you, Mammy?” attitude. We’re all for injecting a little color into the all-white SATC universe, but not if it’s going to play on tropes that were deemed offensive over 40 years ago.

Number 3: The supporting cast. Look, we get it. It’s a movie about women and their friendships. Still, the men in this movie were virtually non-existent. Charlotte’s husband gets about 3 lines, Miranda’s gets a few more, Samantha’s beau seems to have been asleep through most of his scenes, and poor Stanford and Anthony were basically extras in the background. Sure, Big gets some prime moments, but that’s only because he’s attached to Carrie, who basically becomes Diana Ross to the other three girls’ “– and the Supremes.” All 4 women get character arcs, but they all tend to fizzle out. Carrie’s the STAR and everyone else merely supporting players.

We just couldn’t reconcile Carrie’s choice at the end. How many times can Big mistreat her and have her come back begging for more? It took them ten years to get to the altar and he humiliates her by not showing up. Nine months of drinking and soul-searching and all is forgiven? Seriously? We hate to say it, but we think that ending could only have been written by a man . Michael Patrick King was certainly the guiding force behind the show, but he had a huge team of women writers who gave the show its perspective and grounded it in real emotions and real experiences. Their absence in the making of this film was glaring. To be blunt, having Carrie marry Big after all the shitty things he’s done to her simply didn’t feel like a happy ending, although the film treated it as one.

To sum it up, if you’re a fan of the show, go see the movie. There’s enough fun stuff there to make it worth your while. Just be warned that these aren’t exactly the same characters you remember in a lot of ways and what was once an earnest, sometimes raw look at relationships and sex from a female perspective has largely morphed into a bloated Princess fantasy on steroids.