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'Sex and the City' Ladies Settle Down with Style
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'Sex and the City' Ladies Settle Down with Style

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'Sex and the City' Ladies Settle Down with Style

'Sex and the City' Ladies Settle Down with Style
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Kristin Davis, Sarah Jessica Parker, Cynthia Nixon and Kim Cattrall i

They're ba-ack: Four years after Sex and the City's TV finale, Carrie Bradshaw and her posse return — a little older and a little more settled — but with Cosmos still in hand. Craig Blankenhorn/New Line Cinema hide caption

toggle caption Craig Blankenhorn/New Line Cinema
Kristin Davis, Sarah Jessica Parker, Cynthia Nixon and Kim Cattrall

They're ba-ack: Four years after Sex and the City's TV finale, Carrie Bradshaw and her posse return — a little older and a little more settled — but with Cosmos still in hand.

Craig Blankenhorn/New Line Cinema

Sex and the City

  • Director: Michael Patrick King
  • Genre: Romantic Comedy
  • Running Time: 148 minutes

Sarah Jessica Parker in "Sex and the City" i

Fabulous, but fragile: Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker) is as sexy and emotionally insecure as ever. Craig Blankenhorn/New Line Cinema hide caption

toggle caption Craig Blankenhorn/New Line Cinema
Sarah Jessica Parker in "Sex and the City"

Fabulous, but fragile: Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker) is as sexy and emotionally insecure as ever.

Craig Blankenhorn/New Line Cinema

'Sex and the City' Scenes

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'We're Getting Married'

 

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'Go Ahead and Feel Jealous'

 

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'I Forgot to Wax'

 
Sarah Jessica Parker and Jennifer Hudson in "Sex and the City." i

Carrie finds yet another BFF in her new personal assistant, Louise, played by Jennifer Hudson. Craig Blankenhorn/New Line Cinema hide caption

toggle caption Craig Blankenhorn/New Line Cinema
Sarah Jessica Parker and Jennifer Hudson in "Sex and the City."

Carrie finds yet another BFF in her new personal assistant, Louise, played by Jennifer Hudson.

Craig Blankenhorn/New Line Cinema
Sarah Jessica Parker and Chris Noth in "Sex and the City." i

Big Decision: After countless episodes of Is-He-The-One angst, Carrie finally settles down with the arrogant but lovable Mr. Big (Chris Noth). Craig Blankenhorn/New Line Cinema hide caption

toggle caption Craig Blankenhorn/New Line Cinema
Sarah Jessica Parker and Chris Noth in "Sex and the City."

Big Decision: After countless episodes of Is-He-The-One angst, Carrie finally settles down with the arrogant but lovable Mr. Big (Chris Noth).

Craig Blankenhorn/New Line Cinema
Kim Cattrall, Sarah Jessica Parker, Cynthia Nixon and Kristin Davis. i

The fairytale friendship: The foursome is fiercely loyal, never too competitive, and somehow always has time to get together for brunch. From left, Kim Cattrall, Sarah Jessica Parker, Cynthia Nixon and Kristin Davis. Craig Blankenhorn/New Line Cinema hide caption

toggle caption Craig Blankenhorn/New Line Cinema
Kim Cattrall, Sarah Jessica Parker, Cynthia Nixon and Kristin Davis.

The fairytale friendship: The foursome is fiercely loyal, never too competitive, and somehow always has time to get together for brunch. From left, Kim Cattrall, Sarah Jessica Parker, Cynthia Nixon and Kristin Davis.

Craig Blankenhorn/New Line Cinema

A much-anticipated movie is opening this week and oh boy (and oh girl) what a rush, because instead of comic-book fangeeks fighting for tickets, there are women lining up in awesome numbers. It's Sex and the City — the motion picture.

If you love the TV show, it's a joyous two-and-a-half-hour wallow. If you hate it, think Chinese Water Torture.

Now, I love the show — but I hated it once, so I see both sides. They can be very annoying, those over-privileged materialistic women who depend on men for their self-esteem while also treating them as objects.

On the other hand, what a hoot to watch women for once doing the objectifying — and talking dirty, sleeping around and wearing fabulous clothes.

The movie opens three years after the series, and in case you missed the finale (or the show), newspaper relationships columnist Carrie Bradshaw, played by Sarah Jessica Parker, brings you up to date over the credits:

Miranda (Cynthia Nixon) lives in Brooklyn, which in Manhattan-speak means Siberia, with her kid and mousy husband. Charlotte (Kristen Davis) and her hubby have adopted a Chinese girl, now a toddler, whose presence makes it hard to babble with her friends about sex. Samantha (Kim Cattrall) is wilting from monogamy with her hunka-burnin'-Hollywood loverboy. Carrie finally settled into the arms of Chris Noth's Mr. Big and can afford even more shoes. But Miranda wonders whether the new, shared penthouse apartment comes with a hidden price.

I won't spoil what happens, but the wedding of Carrie and Big midway through is a heart-stopper — a farce without mirth, where cell phones and limos function as agents of the unconscious.

Parker is spectacular. She has come in for monstrous derision, maybe inevitable given how she's pushed on billboards as the personification of sultriness. But on screen, you see the fragility beneath the poses. She's a little girl dressing up, wriggling from one eye-popping outfit to the next, elated but likely to wither in the face of rejection or self-doubt.

Of course, the heart of Sex and the City is not any one character but all four together. And it's possible the friendship is the biggest romantic fantasy of all — they complement one another perfectly, they're never too competitive. But what an inspiring fantasy it is — an haute couture design for living. If Cattrall's high-style vulgarity borders on camp, it doesn't drown out her down-to-earth moments of pain. Nixon makes Miranda's prickly ambivalence so real it's wrenching — and her bitterness over the sacrifices she made for her marriage is the bleak subplot. The balance between dark and light tips to the dark — which makes Kristin Davis's old-fashioned ditzy double-takes all the more welcome.

Sex and the City was criticized for being too white, and I'm not sure it helps to have Jennifer Hudson enlist as Carrie's assistant, a blandly helpful ingenue who's too close for comfort to a twentysomething Hattie McDaniel: She doesn't clean Miz Bradshaw's apartment, she cleans up her computer files, and oh, she admires her mistress in those get-ups.

The movie was written and directed by Michael Patrick King, an executive producer and writer on the show, and the hetero men are lesser entities and the product placements irritating. The pacing sags in the last half hour. But when you're this invested, it barely matters.

This is what the show's finale should have been — the ultimate exploration, as these women settle edgily into their 40s, of independence versus commitment, the fairy-tale trappings of modern romance smashing against a sobering reality. Which is where those pink cocktails come in.

I hazarded to a friend that Sex and the City theater lines would be great places to meet babes and she said, "Not so fast, slobberpuss. There's going to be serious female-bonding there."

She's probably right. I'd be much less cowed by overweight teenage boys with plastic lightsabers than by roving bands of Cosmo-pickled women finally getting their day in the multiplex.

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