Friday, June 6, 2008

'Sex' gets better with age

This comedy-drama stars Sarah Jessica Parker, Cynthia Nixon, Kristin Davis, Kim Cattrall and Chris Noth and is directed by Michael Patrick King.

At times romantic and consistently very funny, the movie is no frivolous romp. It dissects the emotional lives and values of today's urban women. As they sail through the turbulent seas of life in New York City, they search for the two big Ls - Labels and Love. Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker), Miranda (Cynthia Nixon), Charlotte (Kristin Davis) and Samantha (Kim Cattrall), four friends now in their 40s and 50s, celebrate their friendship and togetherness, all the while negotiating relationships, work, fertility and children.

Michael Patrick King, the movie's writer-director, has the difficult task of introducing the characters to a new audience without irritating fans of the show. He executes it easily by (re-)introducing the protagonists during a credits sequence narrated by the main character, Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker). Carrie is a best-selling author. There's Samantha Jones (Kim Cattrall), a successful publicist with a ravenous sexual appetite and Charlotte York (Kristin Davis), a gentle wife and mother. And there's Miranda Hobbes (Cynthia Nixon), a cynical and unforgiving lawyer (with a personality verging on bitterness) living in Brooklyn with her husband and son.

The first few minutes of the movie introduces first-timers to the status quo before the brakes are released and the ride begins. Four years have flown by and Carrie and her boyfriend (or is it man-friend?) "Mr. Big" (Chris Noth) are on the verge of buying their own apartment. One thing leads to another and the two decide to tie the knot. This soon turns into plans for the fashion marriage of the century, with a guest list of 200 and a gown by Vivienne Westwood. However, life is no fairy tale.

In the meantime, Samantha is dissatisfied with her life in Hollywood, even though she is still in love with her much-younger boyfriend, Smith. Miranda and her ever gentle husband, Steve are going through a 'dry spell' in marriage. Charlotte's life is the happiest and the most stable in this installment, to the point that she fears impending disaster.

Carrie takes on a personal assistant, Louise (Jennifer Hudson) after her 'dream wedding' that never materialises. Louise's charm and sisterly advice pulls Carrie out of her heartbreak and her motherly side is revealed.

Sex and the City grows and matures along with its characters. Each character gets a chance to shine through the glitz and glamour, the frivolity and the emotional realism, the middle-aged disappointment and the self-effacing humour. The script and the screenplay handle the various issues with wit and maturity. This is definitely a movie for grown-ups... of all ages.

It clocks a hefty 145 minutes, the equivalent of an entire TV season squeezed into a single episode. However, we step out of the movie hall asking for more. The irony of it is that we went to the movies to watch TV. This is definitely the beginning of a whole new string of films.

The big question, however, is, "Will men watch the movie?"

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