Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Sex and The Pity: OK, Please Go Away Now

If you live in the New York area, it's seemingly impossible to escape the excruciating hype surrounding this annoying group of women. Now that the movie adapted from a cable television show that ended years ago has arrived, the inane hype has taken on ridiculous proportions.

Pathetic 40-somethings lined up outside Radio City wearing ill-fitting shoes, squealing like pre-pubescent girls at a David Cassidy show is more than unappealing. It's downright degrading. Even my wife, bless her heart, has had enough, and she used to watch this program.

Now after years of buildup, the movie is a flop. What a shocker. There's only so much you can milk out of what used to be 25 minutes of narcissism and egregious self-absorption.
NEW Yorkers put up with noise, lack of privacy, tiny expensive apartments and countless other daily insults. But will they shell out 12 bucks for what amounts to a 21/2-hour "very special" TV episode of "Sex and the City" that feels like it was written and directed by an audience focus group in Omaha?

If the ecstatic reaction at the screening I attended is any indication, they might - at least if they're not heterosexual males bored by the movie's endless fashion montages, shameless product placements, lethally slow pacing and utterly predictable plot.

Or if they're not feminists distressed by the movie's regressive, unmistakable subtext: that unless she's a sexual compulsive, a woman is nothing without a man of her own.

I was a big fan of the TV series derived from Candace Bushnell's book, which defined turn-of-the-21st-century New York and its proudly independent single women in a way that no movie did - at least until it jumped the shark around the fifth season.
An even harsher reactions here.
Michael Patrick King, who wrote and directed the film, does an able job in ensuring that the whole thing doesn't just seem like a bunch of episodes slung together.

Yet, in spite of its great length, he doesn't succeed in adding to what we know about any of the characters: they've become frozen, Spice Girls-style types - angsty, neurotic, predatory, princess - rather than individuals who might evolve or surprise us.

The short shrift given to endearing men such as Harry is also a shame. What really grates, now more than ever, is how much time is given over to advertising. Shoes, dresses, handbags, coffee, removal companies: it seems that almost every inch of the screen is full of product placements and designer labels, branded like the jumpsuit of a grand prix driver.
Now, can they please go away?

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