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.”