Get out of here with that eye rolling!
So the other night I put my brand new marriage* in jeopardy during what began as a pleasant post-honeymoon dinner with my sister and her husband. I’d masterfully steered the conversation towards movies, a skill I’ve acquired to mask the fact that I’m generally oblivious to most other topics, and we touched on the early summer blockbusters. We cruised past Iron Man with a universal thumbs up and enjoyed discussing why the new Indiana Jones was so utterly disappointing (it’s the skull), when my husband said with confidence, “And then we saw Sex and the City, and, ugh, was it awful.”
My sister, who hadn’t even seen the film, immediately protested, at the same time as my brother-in-law, who hadn’t even seen the film, immediately agreed. The table erupted into rapid-fire arguments, men versus women, over whether or not this high fashion movie was anything more than a shoe catalog on the screen.
Take heed, ladies. Don’t even bother trying to interest a dude in the SATC phenomenon. What my male saw as gratuitous, materialistic drivel with a side of chicks hugging a lot, I saw as a wonderfully accurate portrait of female friendships and how women rally around each other like instinctive bodyguards, with a side of some entertaining fashion choices.
And I wasn’t even that into the show!
In fact, the big screen epilogue to the wildly popular HBO series seemed to me to fix a lot of easy cop outs with which the series left us. Carrie’s rampant vanity is less cute now that she’s in her forties, and, for lack of a better way to put it, it begins to come back and bite her in the ass. Miranda comes to grips with reality, Samantha accepts her own failures, and Charlotte…well…Charlotte suffers an embarrassing incident that dirties her pedestal a little. Sure, there’s handbags and shoes and shopping. It wouldn’t be Sex and the City without it. But the movie exposes the “happily ever after” message of the series finale as just a temporary high point. It’s comforting somehow to know that these women have realistic problems and that they still need each other just as much to get through them.
Of course, a clever script helps. Carrie narrates, as usual, with her usual arsenal of tiring puns, but unlike the half hour pieces of candy that the series provided, her voice-overs are sparse and unobtrusive. To the best of my knowledge, Carrie gets through over two hours of screen time with only one “Three hours and four martinis later” segue. And she only sits pensively at her laptop once or twice. We even see her wear the same accessories more than once, if you can believe it. This theme of reaching maturity reappears throughout, as Carrie frequently passes groups of girls reminiscent of her own lighthearted twenties. Her pals have different epiphanies regarding middle age. Miranda had no problem accepting maturity long ago, but is now having trouble tempering it with emotion. Samantha, on the other hand, has been pressured into a maturity she’s not quite prepared for. And Park Avenue Charlotte, of course, is still sitting around wondering why her friends can’t just get with the program.
All this coming-of-middle-age stuff aside, the real meat and potatoes of Sex and the City is still relationships between women. Desperately needing to be able to talk out your entire life in a diner (or on a couch, or over drinks, or on the phone, or in a drugstore) with your friends is something to which I think most of us can relate. And so what if the series and the film rely heavily on couture product placement?** You guys have one of those shows too, as my brother-in-law pointed out. It’s called Entourage.
*In case you’re wondering where I’ve been, and I’m 98% positive you’re not.