Sex and the City has now been in theaters for almost 48 hours, and gay guys are supposed to be part of the target audience, so I feel this requires some acknowledgement. I have almost no active memories of sitting down and watching the show during its 1998-2004 run, but I know I’ve seen just about every episode somehow.

I’m not going to bother with spoiler alerts in this post. My guess is that roughly 30% of the people who want to see this movie went yesterday, in Stoli Raz-soaked groups of 10 or more.

Curious but wanting to avoid the throngs, I skulked into a 9:30 a.m. show this morning by myself, unshaven and clutching a 24 oz. coffee. In a 400-seat cinema, 15 were filled, and I was the only dude. With moderately fond memories of all but the show’s final season – when the focus shifted from serial dating and promiscuity to monogamy and garden-variety bridal/motherhood porn – I braced myself for the worst.

A couple of thoughts before we get to the gay stuff: Did all the characters get 30% dumber during the transition from small to big screen? Why is demure Charlotte squealing in every scene that she’s in, and why is she onscreen so much less than the other characters? Does anybody actually think that the Carrie/Big romance is one for the ages, and should represent the main thrust of the movie, even after we thought we put that puppy to bed eight times already?

If the movie is called Sex and the City, why is everything about monogamy, marriage and children (you don’t even see Kim Cattrall’s nipples, for God’s sake)? Why have all the men been castrated and lobotomized (like Harry and Big), or altered to fit the machinations of what passes for a plot (like Steve)? I realize the show was celebrated for its trendsetting approach to style, but does the movie have to flash 10 designer logos at us per shot, and stop dead in its tracks for a wardrobe-change montage every reel, thus bloating the running time to 145 minutes? Fashion brand obsession is one thing, but does it have to extend to bang-you-over-the-head-with-a-tire-iron plugs for Smart Water, Starbucks and Apple?

Does Miranda actually blame herself for causing Big’s cold feet – and when it becomes clear that Carrie does blame her, why does Miranda put up with Carrie’s bullshit (this, in fact, may be the central question of the entire series)? Did anybody, at any point, think that casting Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson as Carrie’s wide-eyed slave girl…I mean, assistant…whom she actually deems a “saint” may not be the most up-to-the-minute means of diversifying the cast?

And while we’re at it, what’s with the Andre Leon Talley cameo? And the “Charlotte shits her pants in Mexico” joke? And the “Sorry we made you wait till the 2-hour mark for male nudity but oh my God don’t look we’re showing you a penis!” scene featuring Samantha’s hot neighbor (fuck it, I’ll take Jason Segel any day)? Why does no one laugh at Carrie’s hideous Vivienne Westwood bridal abortion with the dead bird on top, until an hour later, they do? Why does Parker, so crafty and offbeat in movies like Miami Rhapsody, steamroll through this like Evita Peron’s preserved corpse? Why does no one laugh anywhere, least of all in the audience, in this jokeless comedy?

I take umbrage with the accepted wisdom that Sex and the City is a cult item among gays. Golden Girls (a show that is arguably less dated in 2008 than SATC)? Sure. Designing Women? Yup. But Sex: The Movie takes a weirdly retrograde approach to homosexuality.

Not far into the film, the old gals are strutting down a Manhattan sidewalk in their ridiculous outfits when Samantha starts checking out a guy, only to watch as he says hello to another dude and – DRAT! – kisses him! (It’s not your self-absorption that’s the problem, mall-dwelling flip flop-wearers in the audiences, the problem is that all the hot guys are gay!)

The only two gay guys that Carrie and company apparently know, dweeby Stanford and shrill wedding planner Anthony, eventually make walk-on appearances, and a split-second scene at a New Year’s Eve party implies that they have become a couple. Why? An episode in which Charlotte tried to set them up with each other established that they have nothing in common. It’s supposed to be five years later, and the lonely queens are finally settling for each other to go pink tuxedo shirt-shopping with?

The movie is so filled with off notes, misjudgments, inconsistencies, irrelevance and Fergie songs that this post could turn into a novel. I’m disappointed in writer-director Michael Patrick King, the SATC showrunner who later went on to create HBO’s brilliant The Comeback. The smarter characters on that show would have called bullshit on this movie, and the dumb ones would have loved it.

All I’m saying is, since it’s a hit, please don’t blame the gays.

18 comments so far

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  1. Wow, bitter much? I’m gay and loved the movie. The film worked because it WASN’T exactly like the show. Characters evolved and the anty was upped ten fold from what we remembered on HBO. It worked for me. Perhaps Meryl Streep or some CGI dinosaurs would have made this film more appealing for you? Go take a nap and stop watching good movies so damn early.

  2. Way to delete my post, wuss. :-)

  3. Hmmm. where did you see this? My screening was also a matinee and was definitely jampacked. And there were way more than 1 or 2 guys.

    i find the polarizing this series and now movie does to be fascinating. It’s like everyone is watching an entirely different thing.

    For my part I thought the movie went a long way towards undoing some of the wrongs of the series finale (i.e. tying everything off with a monogamous happily ever after bow) and allowing for different life options (samantha) and accepting (rather than banging its head against the wall for another season) the more difficult and complicated relationships (carrie & big –who both have issues and whose issues are not right for each other even if they are in love)

    anyway… this is a long way of saying that I think the series and the movie are so much better and more nuanced than they ever get credit for being.

    but that said i agree with some of the snark here ;)

  4. I am stunned that this movie is generating so much buzz. When production of the film was announced, I thought that this one would go straight to DVD. I thought the same for the announced remake of “The Women” Whatever happened to that project?

  5. as always, I’m floored by how perfectly you’ve put what I’m thinking into words.

  6. Coolguy – Didn’t delete your comment, WordPress sometimes just takes a long time to moderate them. Patience is a virtue!

    Paul – Last I heard, The Women was scheduled for September. Its distributor, Picturehouse, just folded though, so that may change.

  7. A trailer for “The Women” is up on Yahoo…


    I agree with a good portion of your comments Rob, as some of the story was just downright insulting. Stanford and Anthony? Seriously. Just because they’re gay doesn’t mean they’re going to hop on each other. Though, if they had included a “morning after” scene with both of them freaking out and screaming at each other, wondering what happened when they blacked out, then we might’ve had something entertaining.

    And something that chapped my ass for the duration of the movie (aside from the lack of penis on screen), was the whole bit about Carrie misplacing her cell phone, therefore causing Big to back out. There is NO WAY that Carrie would let that phone out of her sight on her wedding day. NO WAY. Though I was mildly amused at her inability to comprehend the iPhone…

    Harumph. I’m still waiting for a Veronica Mars movie.

  8. I may be gay, but I’m apparently immune to the “charms” of SatC. I hated the series with a fiery passion. Probably the only way you could get me to watch the movie would be to tell me it’s a snuff film.

  9. Awesome post! And although I went to see SATC opening night and enjoyed it (probably due to the two Cosmos I had beforehand), I agree with you. I felt like I was watching an overly long episode and didn’t understand why Charlotte was barely ever onscreen except to be the “comic” relief.

    Really the only things I enjoyed about the movie was the gay kiss at the very beginning, and Gilles Marini, and…well…Big getting the shit beat out of him with roses.

    I’d only ever seen the first two seasons of the show, and was saddened that everyone seemed so settled – especially Samantha, who in the early seasons would never sleep with the same man twice!

    Carrie seemed really immature for a 40-something – which was annoying. Miranda seemed completely unnecessarily unhappy and angst-ridden. I was completely unhappy with Samantha (what do we have against happy sluts!). Charlotte! Ugh! I always thought she was sheltered but taking pudding to Mexico. And then there was Jennifer Hudson, who just seemed out of place. And that horribly confusing kiss between the only two gay characters.

    Oh well. I guess I’ll stick to the first two seasons.

  10. My partner and I were fans of the series and we thought the movie was harmless and cute, with no real substance to it, other than being very girly and chic flickish. But that was fine, I was still entertained. I loved the scene where the girls were referring to sex as crayons — for years now, when my partner and I have been out with friends and if he or I just wanted to go home and fuck we would use “coloring books” and “crayons” as code words for going home to make love (needless to say we colored outside of lines later that night and used every color in our crayon box). I also thought it was cute how ALL of the women in the theater audience tried their hardest to get all dolled up in their Sunday Best. Overall, I liked it and even though going to see this movie made me feel like a HUGE homo, surrounded by suburban housewives decked out in cheap costume jewelry, I’d still go see a second Sex and the City movie.

  11. well here we are a couple of months later… the flick has been in and back out of the theaters.. and i don’t know a single person who paid to see it, so much ado about not much. the gay characters on the series were so insultingly awful that i’m amazed that there were enough gay guys so enamored of a horse-faced, piss-poor actress in loony outfits to fill even one theater one time.. but ‘different strokes’ as they used to say.

  12. Sarah Jessica Parker is a drag queen.

  13. Great post. I couldn’t agree more. It was sad and depressing – post menopausal trying to be hip? I can talk to my friends about their sex life if I want to hear about complicated monogomus relationships. Bring on the SEX!

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