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Sex on the big screen

Sex is back and the Hollywood big guns would have us believe that it is bigger and better than ever before. How great is the latest Sex and the City movie? Monica Zen takes a look.

For years I told myself that the sceptics had it wrong: you could never have too much of a good thing. You can never have too many caramel lattes, or lazy nights in front of the TV eating Thai and watching one of your favourite shows with your best girlfriends. However, it seems that I got caught up in a lie.

From its beginning, Sex and the City spun me into a world of cocktails and late night adventures in a city I have often dreamt about – New York. For six seasons I watched as four Manhattan women searched for love, fashion and the perfect pair of Manolo Blahniks, all the while looking effortlessly chic as they sipped on cosmopolitans.

Riding on the success of the first film, Michael Patrick King (the mastermind behind SATC on the small screen) has brought our four favourite girlfriends back. Having burnt a hole through my collection of DVDs of the TV series, I couldn’t have been more thankful.

With my pre-booked ticket in hand I took my seat among an audience of women (and the odd few unamused men) who cheered with joy as the opening credits rolled. Maybe it was my high hopes or love for the show that had me expecting so much, but I have to admit that by the end of the film, I felt a little bit cheated.

It seems that with marriage and menopause, the lives of Carrie and co. aren’t as exciting as they once were. Lacking any real story line, the film splits its focus from Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker) and Big’s (Chris Noth) lack of ‘sparkle’ in their marriage to Charlotte’s (Kristin Davis) nanny worries, Miranda’s (Cynthia Nixon) work troubles and Samantha’s (Kim Cattrall) menopausal hot flushes.

The film opens promisingly with a young Miss Carrie Bradshaw hailing a cab, circa 1980s. Lacking the style and sophistication we have seen her acquire throughout the six seasons and one movie we’ve enjoyed so far, Carrie takes us briefly back to where it all began and shows us how she met her three ‘soul mate’ best friends. The scene is hilarious as we see the four women without husbands and babies as we first met them, but with some amazing fashion that only the 80s could have produced.

Back in the present, when dilemmas arise between Carrie and Big, over his pre-occupation with the television set, Carrie feels as though the ‘sparkle’ is missing from their relationship. As only Big could suggest, he proposes a weekly two-day break from their marriage – not exactly what Carrie had in mind to rekindle the romance.

Meanwhile, adventurous Samantha agrees to an all expenses paid trip to Abu Dhabi and manages to wrangle the inclusion of her three best friends, transporting Sex from the concrete jungle of Manhattan to a radically conservative and controversial Middle Eastern Desert.

However, there seems to be little purpose to the girls visit to the foreign country plot wise, as they spend most of their time wondering how to eat fried chips while wearing a burqa, and analysing their lives back home. Not to mention, there’s an over-reliance on Muslim jokes.

Disappointingly, little happens while they’re away. The highlight of the movie, in which we see Carrie’s ex Aidan Shaw (John Corbett) return to her life, is pointless. His appearance, which is meant to create a major plot line for the film, is barely noteworthy, rushed into the script. So too is the girls arrival back in Manhattan.

Gone are the days I would spend wondering what was going to happen to the four single ladies on screen. Instead, I’m wondering where all the stories went.

From the beginning the film seems artificial. The lighting reminded me of a flashy Hollywood advertisement and lacked enough of the shows most fundamental character, the city of New York. Not even Liza Minnelli’s rendition of Beyoncés, ‘Single Ladies’, could have saved this one.

One thing did however remain true to the original series – the fashion. Waving her magic style wand, Patricia Field once again created some beautiful on screen fashion moments, from Halston Heritage to Christian Dior and the essential Sex and the City accessory, Manolo Blahnik. The film brought that over-the-top fashion we love to the big screen once again, even bringing with it an old series favourite, John Galliano for Christian Dior Newspaper Dress.

Although not what I had expected, the film still gives its audience some laugh out loud moments and quirky one liners. It will no doubt gain an allegiance of fans, as it was made for the women who have followed the fab four from youth and one night stands, through marriage, divorce, single motherhood, cancer and now to Abu Dhabi. Although, I have learnt that there can be too much of a good thing.

Monica Zen is a second year Media Studies student at La Trobe University.

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