“Sex and the City” the movie is like one big, fat juicy episode of the hit HBO TV show — racy, silly, clever, poignant and thought-provoking. The groundbreaking sitcom’s millions of fans — make that most of the adult female population and a fair number of sensitive gay men — will be anything but disappointed by what writer-director Michael Patrick King, who also helmed the small-screen version, has come up with for America’s favorite New York, cosmopolitan-drinking women.
The film, starring the excellent familiar cast all seemingly happy to be back on board, picks up four years after the show’s finale.
In a few short minutes, the opening sequence presents a brilliant synopsis of the program’s six-season run. Each character’s story line is summed up in a succinct capsule, allowing viewers unfamiliar with the show (straight men on dates, possibly) to step right into current-day action.
While there are delightful big (and small) moments throughout the two-hour, 25-minute film — just as in the TV show — there’s not a lot in the way of surprises. In fact, proceedings are downright predictable.
It hardly matters.
Happily involved with Mr. Big (Chris Noth), writer Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker), who’s moved from newspaper columns to books, finally gets a new huge closet and the chance to plan her wedding.
Lured by a Vogue editor (Candice Bergen) to do a fashion spread, she gets swept away by a Vivienne Westwood gown, prompting a crisis of confidence by Big, who proverbially stands her up at the altar at the New York Public Library. (Note: His name is finally revealed in an appealingly matter-of-fact manner.)
The rest of the film basically revolves aroundhow Carrie, with the help of friends Miranda (Cynthia Nixon), Samantha (Kim Cattrall) and Charlotte (Kristin Davis), finds her way back to love.
Now in their 40s, the women face new challenges. Miranda, the tough attorney, strives to balance work with her husband and son. Nymphomaniac Samantha works on a monogamous relationship with her young actor paramour in Los Angeles, while the prim Charlotte enjoys her loving husband and young daughter.
As always, the jokes are perfectly toned and timed, and the screen-filling fashions are to die for. At times, particularly in the giddy beginning, the music, sets and clothes seem to take over in clichéd montage-like scenes, serving up our girls with an unpleasant commerciality.
But soon enough, they’re back to their wonderful, complex, adorable, conflicted selves. In the end, it’s how they share the simple pleasures and pains of their day-to-day lives that still makes “Sex and the City” the phenomenon it is.
Sex and the City (3 stars)
Starring Sarah Jessica Parker, Kristin Davis, Kim Cattrall, Cynthia Nixon, Chris Noth
Written and directed by Michael Patrick King
Running time 2 hours 25 minutes