May 29th, 2008 | by SAUNDRA SORENSON News | Posted In: CLEAN UP, CLEAN UP, CLEAN UP, CLEAN UP

Cougar Habitat: Sex and the City Reviewed

     
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Screened for critics after WW press deadlines (and after we breathlessly speculated on the fates of the characters), Sex and the City makes the leap from HBO to the national box office tonight at 12:01. Saundra Sorenson has this review:

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Sex and the City

You've had the last decade to decide whether to pass on the inevitable Sex and the City big screen edition, so it's pointless to defend or decry the movie's series of origin, beyond saying that in spite of the label-whoredom, the bad judgment and crimes against fashion, the one thing the series consistently did well was to illustrate a support network more authentic than the squealing, imitative groups the show spawned. And rather than sugar-coating the bonds, or degrading them into catty episodes of back-stabbing with tacked-on resolution, the writing and performances showed off the sometimes inexplicable loyalty forged out of common professional backgrounds and the constant devastation that comes with being "out there." And the power-brunches and cocktail-swilling the ladies did was just overkill enough to harken back to Candace Bushnell's more acidic source material.

Three years on, Carrie is still with Mr. Big (Chris Noth), her white whale of sorts, and she's planning their doomed wedding while he tugs at his collar in the background; lawyer Miranda (Cynthia Nixon) is living the drained family life with her bartender baby-daddy in Brooklyn, and wouldn't you know it, he strays while she's reading a brief; sexpot PR expert Samantha (Kim Cattrall) is managing her kindly hunk of man meat's career in L.A., but is feeling the seven- (or five-) year itch, and starry-eyed would-be socialite Charlotte (Kristin Davis) seems to have beaten the group's curse by living a satisfied life in a brownstone with her heart-of-gold husband and their adopted daughter.

There are flights of retail fancy, fair amounts of fucking and honest-to-God character development, so it's disingenuous to say that the film has lost any of the show's novelty (about as disingenuous as Carrie's "take or toss?" fashion show odyssey through her own closet, wherein she disses an '80s-era shoulder-padded monstrosity that looks not unlike something she wears in the next scene). Secondary characters—like husbands and boyfriends—go underused: the obligatory gay friends (Stanford and Anthony, played by Willie Garson and Mario Cantone, respectively) make cameos instead of playing support, and Jennifer Hudson as Carrie's personal assistant is cringe-inducing—not so much her performance as the bleak premise of a St. Louis girl looking for a man in the big city while helping our dear sex columnist rebound. (When your best film role of the year sees your character gifting a Judy Garland DVD to her employer, darling, your career may well be screwed.)

The orgiastic cinematic splash of pink will only win over the demo that had always meant to check out the series but never did—no new converts will be persuaded. But oh, there is raunch. And there is eye candy. And in a sure sign that the series has grown a little, Carrie's plodding "I couldn't help but wonder…" gem is used only once, and only for nostalgia purposes.

Sex and the City is rated R. It opens tonight at Broadway Metro 4 Theatres, Century 16 Cedar Hills Crossing, Century Eastport 16, Cinema 99 Stadium 11, Cinemas Bridgeport Village Stadium 18 & IMAX, City Center Stadium 12, Division Street Stadium 13, Evergreen Parkway Stadium 13, Hilltop 9 Cinema, Lloyd Center Stadium 10 Cinema, Lloyd Mall 8 Cinema, Movies On TV Stadium 16, Oak Grove 8 Cinemas, Pioneer Place Stadium 6, Sandy Cinemas, Sherwood Stadium 10, St. Johns Twin Cinemas and Pub, Tigard 11 Cinemas, Vancouver Plaza 10 Cinema, and Wilsonville Stadium 9 Cinema.
 
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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