I’m probably one of only a handful of people who can say this, but I have never seen one episode of the television series “Sex and the City” - not even one minute of one episode.
So the big screen revival of the popular HBO series didn’t exactly illicit the same response from me it did from the millions of fans who helped push the film into a record-breaking weekend at the box office.
No, instead I approach the film as an outsider - with an outsider’s perspective meant to be a guide for fellow outsiders like myself, who may or may not find themselves in the movie.
And from my point of view, this is a film with a lot of fuss, but ultimately not enough bite.
Sure, there are things to like about “Sex and the City,” but the overall result is a rather ho-hum romantic comedy overstuffed into a nearly 21/2 hour running time. It feels as if writer-director Michael Patrick King is trying to put a season’s worth of material in one movie - something sure to please the hard-core fans, but it wears thin for everyone else.
“Sex and the City” tells the story of successful author Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker) and her three high society friends: Samantha (Kim Cattrall), Charlotte (Kristin Davis) and Miranda (Cynthia Nixon), continuing to struggle to juggle jobs and relationships, while navigating motherhood, marriage and the Manhattan social scene.
The movie picks up four years after the series ended with Carrie about to marry Mr. Big (Chris Noth). Meanwhile Samantha is having second thoughts about her long-term relationship with a younger man and Miranda feels betrayed after her husband reveals a one-time infidelity.
There’s also the addition of Academy Award winner Jennifer Hudson as Carrie’s assistant.
With so much going on in “Sex and the City,” it really does feel like the film could have been chopped into four or five smaller episodes.
To its credit the cast is solid - especially Parker and Noth (who I found to be the most interesting character in the film) - and the writing does have its moments of wit.
My biggest problem, though, is that it all seems so superficial. The film wants to deal with serious issues for adult women, yet a lot of times resolutions seem to be a fashion show montage or a vacation getaway to an exotic resort. I just found it hard to have interest in a group of characters who seem so self-centered and pampered.
But this is clearly not a film designed for me. With that in mind I will concede that my letter grade should be at least one letter higher for anyone who has ever enjoyed the TV series. This is a film clearly in your wheel-house.
For everyone else, this probably isn’t the kind of film that will have you rushing out of the theater looking to find “Sex and the City” episodes on DVD.
DVD dandy of the week
This week’s dandy is “Funny Games” (B-), Michael Haneke’s U.S. remake of his morbid look at the way violence is portrayed in the media.
“Funny Games” tells the story of a family (Naomi Watts, Tim Roth and Devon Gearhart) who head to their summer home for vacation.
But the rest and relaxation quickly turns deadly when they are taken hostage by a pair of young, articulate, white-gloved serial killers (Michael Pitt and Brady Corbet) intent on torturing the family for their own pleasure.
Haneke’s film is disturbing to watch, but that is exactly the point. In an era where the media has pretty much desensitized violence, Haneke has found a way to make it all seem uncomfortable.
Some have criticized the film’s self-aware tone and its decision to break the fourth wall, but it only adds to the overall effectiveness of the material.
This is definitely not a movie for everyone. I’m still not certain if I really liked the film, but I respected its effort. And for that reason alone, I think it deserves a look.
“Funny Games” is rated R for terror, violence and some language and will be available Tuesday on DVD.