'Sex and the City' a glorified TV episode - The Explorer: El Sol

'Sex and the City' a glorified TV episode

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Posted: Tuesday, June 3, 2008 11:00 pm | Updated: 8:04 am, Thu Mar 24, 2011.

Rated R for strong sexual content, graphic nudity, and language.

You have to wonder: Do “Sex and the City” fanatics crave a glorified TV episode, and a rather middling one at that? The TV show’s creative honcho, writer-director Michael Patrick King, has called this 2-1/2-hour movie “The Lord of the Engagement Rings.” I’m not sure he’s being ironic. It reportedly features over 300 makeovers among the four female leads. (Does that include all those strappy sandals?) At times, the movie resembled nothing so much as Kabuki with Cosmos.

King kicks off the movie with uncharacteristically fast-paced updates. Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker) is back from Paris and big with Mr. Big (Chris Noth), with whom she’s scouting a Fifth Avenue penthouse (her fantasy aerie, his money). Overworked Miranda (Cynthia Nixon) is ensconced in Brooklyn with her guilt-ridden (don’t ask) husband Steve (Dave Eigenberg) and young son.

Charlotte (Kristin Davis), is guilt-ridden because she and her loving hubby Harry (Evan Handler) and adopted baby girl from China are so, well — happy. (Even more good stuff happens to her in the course of the movie. What’s a poor girl to do?)

Samantha (Kim Cattrall) has conquered her cancer and heads up a talent agency in Los Angeles where she handles, if that’s the right word, her hunky live-in boyfriend Smith (Jason Lewis). She has a difficult time committing to one man — even one who appears to have been chiseled by Rodin — and is forever flying to New York to provide aid and comfort and costume changes.

There’s also a welcome new addition: Jennifer Hudson as Carrie’s gal Friday. She’s younger than the leading ladies (that’s good for audience demographics) and African-American (previously the show was whiter than an ice floe).

Thanks to the show’s huge following and its lucrative afterlife on DVD and in syndication, SATC still has its rabid followers. It is even, heaven help us, iconic. Artifacts from the show are housed in the Smithsonian. But is it such a big deal anymore to hear women talk about sex as crudely as men do?

In the meantime, can someone please explain to me what that thing is called on Carrie’s head that looks like a butterfly-encrusted corsage trapped in a terrarium?

THE STRANGERS

Rated R for violence/terror and language.

T

he film is about a couple, played by Scott Speedman and Liv Tyler, whose potentially amorous overnight in a remote family home in the woods is interrupted by a trio of masked crazies who proceed to draw big-time blood.

The couple, James and Kristen, are on the outs after his marriage proposal has been rebuffed. Their prenuptial tryst turns chilly; the rose petals James has strewn throughout the cabin serve as reminders of what might have been.

But just because Bertino attempts to paint these two as real people, as opposed to human targets, is no reason to stand up and cheer. He’s still playing the same slasher-pic game, only in a slightly different key. The “humanizing” of this couple is essentially a tease — a setup for the mayhem to come.

And when it does, it’s so gruesomely relentless that the effect is like watching a slo-mo snuff film. The actors playing the masked creepies never reveal their faces. (Good career move.) One wears a scarecrow hood, the other two, both women, have doll-face and pinup mugs. When Kristen cries out to them, “Why are you doing this to us?” one of the women answers, “Because you were home.”

But sometimes, dear reader, there’s no place like home, and that’s just where you should be as this gorefest plays at a theater near you.

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