Film Review

On the Aisle

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Film Review by Tony Macklin
There are some places men just don’t belong:
1) In a pink Cadillac going to a shopping shindig—yes, I know Clint was in a movie called “Pink Cadillac,” but there was no Mary Kay decal in the window.
2) At Girls’ Night Out at Thunder From Down Under.
3) At a Hillary Pity Party.
A fourth place fraught with the same potential emasculation may be a screening of “Sex and the City.” Eighty-five percent of the audience for the opening week of “Sex and the City” was female. That leaves about 5% for us heterosexual males.But if you’re driven to be a movie critic, that means you have to take the pink with the film noir.
The movie “Sex and the City” is a heady female fantasy—I think. I tried to snuggle up to “Sex and the City,” but the attempt to snuggle for two hours and 20 minutes is in itself a fantasy. Like many typical men, I’m afraid I fell asleep.
The G-spot rated movie reintroduces the characters from the phenomenon that was the HBO series that lasted seven years. During the opening credits we are brought up to date on what has happened to the four in the last three years.
Careerist Miranda (Cynthia Nixon) and her husband Steve (David Eigenberg) are living in Brooklyn. He gets laid twice in a year—obviously no male fantasy. Charlotte (Kristin Davis) and husband Harry (Evan Handler) have adopted an Asian baby. Gaudy, outspoken Samantha (Kim Cattrall) is living with a younger man Smith (Jason Lewis) in Malibu with whom she has furious sex in their beach house.
And then there’s Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker) who’s working on her fourth book and is close but unmarried to Mr. Big (Chris Noth).
Michael Patrick King wrote and directed the movie. He helmed some of the HBO show. The TV show—based on the book by Candace Bushnell—ran in half hour segments. It had serial shopping and man hunting in New York City. King has to sustain the movie for almost the length of five episodes on TV.
The women are not as young as they used to be, so they’ve “settled down” a bit. But crises arise and friendships are tested. The women are still vulnerable. The length makes it uneven, but the tone of overheated glibness is still present.
One potent symbolic scene is when the three Galigulas give thumbs up or down for Carrie’s past wardrobe. When Carrie cleans out her closet, her three friends wield placards that say “Take” or “Trash.” For some women, getting out of their clothes closet rivals getting out of Iraq.
There is no one in “Sex and the City” with whom I relate. Maybe Mr. Big, but that’s merely a matter of millimeters.
I’ve never been a fan of objects—handbags, shoes, cars, vanity license plates. Objectification smacks of ignorance. I’m not defined by what I own or what owns me. So I look at a culture where ownership is queen and I shrug. When Carrie comes to the realization at a spurned wife’s auction that she could be vulnerable, I’m probably not as empathetic as I should be.
“Sex and the City” makes a gesture toward diversity by including a new character, Carrie’s African-American assistant (Jennifer Hudson), but it
seems token.
“Sex and the City” is a deluge of product placement: Chanel, Diane Von Hamburger, Louis Vuitton, Manolo Blahnik and loads more. But a film that has a collection of female squeals, humping dogs and diarrhea is not exactly haute couture.
The four women are like celebrities riding a float in Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade waving to their adoring fans—or fashionable, inflated balloons. I kept waiting for Santa Claus, but he’s not in this parade.
The most admirable quality of “Sex and the City” is the enduring friendship of the quartet of women. I wish my friendships had endured more, but men and women seem to define friendship differently. Familiarity may be more important to women.
Most mornings I’m in Ronald’s, a doughnut shop that features vegan doughnuts. I’m not a vegan, but I enjoy the unabashed pleasure of visitors, many from out-of-state, as they see rows of vegan delights when they haven’t had a doughnut for years.
The female audiences seeing “Sex and the City” have the same grateful glee. I look on with wary but envious bemusement.

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