Sex and the City (2008)

(On TV, January 2017) You could retitle Sex and the City as “Wish Fulfillment for Middle-Aged Women: The Movie” and I’m not sure it would be entirely dismissive. But I’m being too harsh: I’m not in the target audience for the series to which this is a follow-up, and even I have to admit that there is a contagious enthusiasm to the movie’s most entertaining moment. Shopping, trips, contentment and inner peace—what’s not to like, even though the details may differ? Watching this as someone with only the barest knowledge of the TV show (to the point of: “Wow, I did not expect that much sex/nudity in a movie called Sex in the City!”) is strange—while the film doesn’t forget to have a plot, it’s often bare-bones in the way it presents its characters or moves them through the motions of their dramatic arc. There are lengthy digressions simply to scratch the wish fulfillment of its audience. It boldly sets off to hyper-consumption for no other reason than it can do so. And yet, and yet … it works. It’s a good time. It’s the kind of movie that reassures you that there is good in the world, even though it may be more easily attainable with a credit card with a ludicrously high limit. Sarah Jessica Parker is very likable in the main role despite odd script-dictated behaviour, and Kim Cattrall remains the most interesting of the three other main cast members, while Chris Noth remains the ultimate Mr. Big. Sex and the City may be a wish fulfillment film, but then again so are most big-budget movies—and for some strange reasons, few movie critics ever mention how we should be dismissing action films as power fantasies of seeing average guys shooting terrorists in the head to save the world/wife/kids. From that perspective, Sex and the City is a welcome complement.

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