Sex and the City has now been in theaters for almost 48 hours, and gay guys are supposed to be part of the target audience, so I feel this requires some acknowledgement. I have almost no active memories of sitting down and watching the show during its 1998-2004 run, but I know I’ve seen just about every episode somehow.
I’m not going to bother with spoiler alerts in this post. My guess is that roughly 30% of the people who want to see this movie went yesterday, in Stoli Raz-soaked groups of 10 or more.
Curious but wanting to avoid the throngs, I skulked into a 9:30 a.m. show this morning by myself, unshaven and clutching a 24 oz. coffee. In a 400-seat cinema, 15 were filled, and I was the only dude. With moderately fond memories of all but the show’s final season – when the focus shifted from serial dating and promiscuity to monogamy and garden-variety bridal/motherhood porn – I braced myself for the worst.
A couple of thoughts before we get to the gay stuff: Did all the characters get 30% dumber during the transition from small to big screen? Why is demure Charlotte squealing in every scene that she’s in, and why is she onscreen so much less than the other characters? Does anybody actually think that the Carrie/Big romance is one for the ages, and should represent the main thrust of the movie, even after we thought we put that puppy to bed eight times already?
If the movie is called Sex and the City, why is everything about monogamy, marriage and children (you don’t even see Kim Cattrall’s nipples, for God’s sake)? Why have all the men been castrated and lobotomized (like Harry and Big), or altered to fit the machinations of what passes for a plot (like Steve)? I realize the show was celebrated for its trendsetting approach to style, but does the movie have to flash 10 designer logos at us per shot, and stop dead in its tracks for a wardrobe-change montage every reel, thus bloating the running time to 145 minutes? Fashion brand obsession is one thing, but does it have to extend to bang-you-over-the-head-with-a-tire-iron plugs for Smart Water, Starbucks and Apple?
Does Miranda actually blame herself for causing Big’s cold feet – and when it becomes clear that Carrie does blame her, why does Miranda put up with Carrie’s bullshit (this, in fact, may be the central question of the entire series)? Did anybody, at any point, think that casting Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson as Carrie’s wide-eyed slave girl…I mean, assistant…whom she actually deems a “saint” may not be the most up-to-the-minute means of diversifying the cast?
And while we’re at it, what’s with the Andre Leon Talley cameo? And the “Charlotte shits her pants in Mexico” joke? And the “Sorry we made you wait till the 2-hour mark for male nudity but oh my God don’t look we’re showing you a penis!” scene featuring Samantha’s hot neighbor (fuck it, I’ll take Jason Segel any day)? Why does no one laugh at Carrie’s hideous Vivienne Westwood bridal abortion with the dead bird on top, until an hour later, they do? Why does Parker, so crafty and offbeat in movies like Miami Rhapsody, steamroll through this like Evita Peron’s preserved corpse? Why does no one laugh anywhere, least of all in the audience, in this jokeless comedy?
I take umbrage with the accepted wisdom that Sex and the City is a cult item among gays. Golden Girls (a show that is arguably less dated in 2008 than SATC)? Sure. Designing Women? Yup. But Sex: The Movie takes a weirdly retrograde approach to homosexuality.
Not far into the film, the old gals are strutting down a Manhattan sidewalk in their ridiculous outfits when Samantha starts checking out a guy, only to watch as he says hello to another dude and – DRAT! – kisses him! (It’s not your self-absorption that’s the problem, mall-dwelling flip flop-wearers in the audiences, the problem is that all the hot guys are gay!)
The only two gay guys that Carrie and company apparently know, dweeby Stanford and shrill wedding planner Anthony, eventually make walk-on appearances, and a split-second scene at a New Year’s Eve party implies that they have become a couple. Why? An episode in which Charlotte tried to set them up with each other established that they have nothing in common. It’s supposed to be five years later, and the lonely queens are finally settling for each other to go pink tuxedo shirt-shopping with?
The movie is so filled with off notes, misjudgments, inconsistencies, irrelevance and Fergie songs that this post could turn into a novel. I’m disappointed in writer-director Michael Patrick King, the SATC showrunner who later went on to create HBO’s brilliant The Comeback. The smarter characters on that show would have called bullshit on this movie, and the dumb ones would have loved it.
All I’m saying is, since it’s a hit, please don’t blame the gays.