home Entertainment, Movies, Sex The epic abomination of “Sex and the City”

The epic abomination of “Sex and the City”

When challenged to use the word horticulture in a sentence the writer, poet, and critic Dorothy Parker retorted, “You can lead a horticulture, but you can’t make her think.”

Parker, the acid-tongued queen of New York wrote in Vanity Fair and The New Yorker in the early turbulent part of the 20th century, commenting on everything from politics to literature, before eventually writing screenplays in Hollywood. In the early part of the 21st century beset by the war on terror, oil hitting $135 barrel, and global warming, New York has…Carrie Bradshaw.

Now, the “Sex and the City” series at least played like a well-written article: sharp, rude, forgettable and perfectly made to fit the 30-minute format. The movie is too long to be an episode and too short to reflect the achievements of a series.

Four years on from the series’ end Bradshaw is no longer writing for the New York Observer, but plying her trade with “maginatively” titled books like Menhattan. Get it? Because, in this film that’s as good as it gets.

Our foursome may have moved on with their lives, but the leap from the small to the big screen has not been kind. Television can make lesser film talents seem magnificent, but transported back to the grandeur of cinema they shrink. There is a reason why Sarah Jessica Parker and Kim Catrall didn’t make it in Hollywood first time round and this film highlights their acting deficiencies cruelly. “Striking Distance” or “Mannequin” anyone?

However this cruelty pales into insignificance with what the audience are subjected to when these two in particular scar the screen in a multitude of hideous outfits. The clothes they wear, far from flattering them, conjure up visions of an experiment gone badly wrong-a kind of Jurassic Central Park.

What’s even worse is that Samantha, easily the most interesting character, doesn’t even give us a real sex scene. Like a first girlfriend she teases and promises, but we are left disappointed. All she does is turn up from L.A. with such annoying regularity that one wonders why she is living there in the first place.

The much vaunted plot, such as there is, is weak beyond belief. Journalists were apparently forced to sign a secrecy clause to keep the story from the world. What a shame that didn’t extend it to the script at the development phase to save us all from this vacuous exercise in vanity.

So bad is the writing, so bereft of ideas is the story that the fascist foursome go to Mexico just so that Charlotte can make fun of the water, and, by proxy, the Mexicans themselves, and catch a bout of Montezuma’s Revenge. The thinly veiled racism doesn’t stop there:

Miranda, forced to move to a less salubrious neighbourhood, follows the white dad to find the up and coming area, watched by, yes you guessed it, a Latino type with gang tattoos and a mean looking dog. It wouldn’t be so cringe-worthy if Miranda and the writers acknowledged their prejudices, but alas, this is played without a shred of irony.

Even worse is the way Jennifer Hudson is crow-barred into the film in an obvious attempt to feature a black character. Is she a fashion designer or a lawyer? Of course not, she is a personal assistant/maid, reminiscent of the unseen servant in Tom and Jerry. She is also from St. Louis, which has one of the worst crime rates in the U.S. What are the filmmakers trying to say with her relationship with Carrie?

In fact what are they trying to say full stop? “Sex and the City” is supposed to be escapist entertainment for everyday people, but these are the same people who are mocked and looked down upon by the writers just like the ugly fur protestors featured in the film.

The movie is insulting, crass, and deeply unfunny. To paraphrase Dorothy Parker: “This is not a film to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force.”

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Mark Farnsworth

Senior Film Writer Mark Farnsworth teaches Film in East London and is currently working on two screenplays, The Mysteries and Fair Access. He also writes the Oh/Cult section for Brokenshark.co.uk.

2 thoughts on “The epic abomination of “Sex and the City”

  1. I really liked this film but then I am fortunately or unfortunately a Sex in the City fan and a Desperate Housewives fan… I am a fan of great movies too like Apocalypse Now and the Graduate and Kagemusha to name but a few dozen. However my real question is why go to see this movie at all, unless you like Sex in the City… it is obvious to me that it won’t rank amongst the greatest movies in the world or come even close. Save your machete for some more worthy opponent such as Star Wars 3 probably the worst film ever made for mass appeal. Sex in the City the movie was a film made for the fans of Sex in the City and not an attempt for an Oscar winning accolade or anything else and surely should be viewed in that light.

    However of the author’s penmanship, I say bravo for a studied performance in the best traditions of Noel Coward or Oscar Wilde.

    I enjoyed the film because I like the characters and also because having just broken up from a relationship it gave me the feel good of escapism that things could come right after all, although in real life they often don’t. Who cares about the flaws, or anything else. Billions of pounds are wasted every year in Hollywood films many of which should have outraged the public long ago and contain more gratuitous violence than the second world war ever did, save your ammunition for the real criminals of the movie industry and leave our beloved soaps alone I say…

  2. Thanks for the comment David and the compliment. I’m not adverse to the series at all and went to see it with my partner and six of her friends with a very open mind. I never set out to dislike any film but I do believe in a level of quality and entertainment that can be obtained by any piece of art be it a rom-com or an opera. Unfortunately Sex and the City missed on all levels-it wasn’t funny, it wasn’t sexy and the clothes were hideous beyond belief.

    Hollywood can’t afford to just rely on attracting fans of the TV shows it turns into films-it has to cater for others or the numbers just don’t fly.

    As for violence I would agree with you-there are some truly reprehensible films out there but a film like Sex and the City is dangerous in its own way. Do we really want our young women to aspire to be empty headed brand whores who are prejudiced against anything or anyone who hasn’t got the money to buy the latest Manolo Blahnik’s?

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