Movie News & Reviews

'City' sizzles, but slowly

I'm going to give it you as Miranda might: It's good. But not as good as the TV show.

Or as Samantha (the other Samantha) would: There's not enough hot sex.

Or Charlotte: It gives all single women hope that true love will find them.

Or best yet, Carrie: Devoted fans won't be disappointed.

Take all four, roll them into one (or pick one that suits your personality) and you've got "Sex and the City: The Movie." Like an old Manolo Blahnik, the movie is dazzling and sexy, but familiar and comfortable with everything we loved and missed from the TV show.

There's love and romance (even Stanford finds a surprising new love in the movie). There's gut-wrenching heartbreak (trust me when I say this is not the movie to watch if you're a late-in-life bride just weeks away from marrying an even later-in-life, formerly confirmed bachelor). There's a big spat (who else? Carrie and Miranda). There's plenty of angst (guess who's still crabby about living in Brooklyn?).

There's a life lesson (on forgiveness). There's hot sex (but less of it than we're used to). There's fabulous fashion (so much you'll have to see it twice to catch all the Louis Vuitton and Chanel). And plenty of that witty banter that hooked us initially.

It's like a whole season (or two) of "Sex and the City," only you're at the movie theater instead of in your PJs at home on the couch. But then, that's the unexpected problem. It's a whole season -- in one sitting.

That's what many of us used to wish for. That was part of the show's allure, the anticipation of what would happen next. Would Big reappear in Carrie's life? Would Aidan take her back? Would Carrie ever find true love?

But the movie is long and slow in parts. It's still packed with all the drama we thrived on, something that might be off-putting to those who didn't spend six years living the New York single girl life through Carrie, Samantha, Miranda and Charlotte.

They've changed, though. They're not really the fun-loving, sex-seeking single girls anymore. Now in their 40s, they're more settled, but essentially the same.

Charlotte (Kristin Davis) is just as optimistic as ever, now as a mother to her adopted Chinese girl, Lily, and happily married to the always-lovable Harry (Evan Handler). Miranda (Cynthia Nixon) is still sarcastic, cynical and careful, still trying to juggle the demands of motherhood, a challenging career and domestic life in Brooklyn with a not-so-perfect marriage to Steve (David Eigenberg). Samantha (Kim Cattrall) is living in Los Angeles with Smith (Jason Lewis), not surprisingly having trouble with monogamy.

Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker) seems to have it all. She's written two more books and is finally enjoying relationship bliss with Mr. Big (Chris Noth).

Big (who we now know as John James Preston) starts out better than ever. In one scene, after he builds Carrie her dream closet -- all centered on tall racks for her many pairs of beloved shoes -- it was almost as if former paramour Aidan has snatched Big's body. Big becomes the perfect boyfriend: attentive, romantic and, dare we say it, even emotionally available.

The problems begin when Carrie and Big agree to marry in what Carrie herself might describe as a less than za za zsu moment. There's no ring, no grand proposal. And once Carrie catches wedding fever (in an amazing scene that has her doing a Vogue photo shoot in wedding gowns by Vera Wang, Carolina Herrera and Oscar de la Renta), she and Big start unraveling. Only we see it and she doesn't.

Luckily, Carrie has added another weapon in her dealing-with-Big arsenal: Jennifer Hudson. The "Dreamgirls" Oscar winner is lovable as the saintly Louise, Carrie's assistant. She and Carrie bond over lost love as well as a lust for labels (Louise rents designer handbags from Bag, Borrow or Steal).

Gather the girls, grab a round of cosmos and go. The movie's happy ending likely won't leaving you aching for more. But in true "Sex and the City" form, it will make you hopeful about finding -- and keeping -- love.

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