Sex and the City the movie is, as the Seattle Times said, "for the fans." The movie doesn't break new ground but is a full turn around the park for Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker) and Mr. Big (Chris Noth). In his book Everything Bad Is Good For You Steven Johnson notes how most current movies and television shows are more complex than Leave It To Beaver or any of the fare we baby boomers grew up with. Contemporary shows have to be more complex, Johnson notes, because they will be watched many more times than, at least back in the day, Leave It To Beaver. Think of the old model. The original episode would run, be put in the can until summer reruns and then retired forever. How many times can we watch the shoes we love? With DVR's, computers and web sites we can watch contemporary creations an almost infinite number of times. Johnson's notes how increased access leads to a need for more than double the complexity. Sex and the City conforms to Johnson's multiple complex thread model.
Several threads mentioned in Sex and the City the movie remain dangling and are only there for fans. The mention of Carrie's almost wedding to Aidan that took two seasons not to happen is left hanging with a single mention. If you've never seen the series it will be hard to understand Samantha's angst about a committed loving though sexless (at least for Samantha) relationship. You may not understand why Miranda is wrapped so tight or Charlotte so perky. The Sex and the City movie assumes you know each character's back-story. Short of that, you will never understand Carrie's assault on Mr. Big with flowers in the street (trying not to spoil the major plot point here).
I've been a fan of Sex and the City for a long time. The writing has been crisp, more so in the series than in this over two-hour movie, and these women's characters are always well drawn. I've learned things from Sex and the City (movie and series) including these five lessons. Think of these five lessons as guides for guys who would like to have a clue:
- Women are different
- Fashion Is Foreplay
- Packs are important
- Pacts are important
- Remember the 3 R's (Romance, Romance and Romance)
Women talk about EVERYTHING. Men discuss almost nothing. The subtext of every Sex and the City conversation, no matter how banal, is really about knitting relationships tighter. There is no wasted motion. Every comment and subtext exists to reinforce the love they feel for each other. Love is expressed. Love is created. Love is cherished.
Sex and the City: Lesson 2 - Fashion Is Foreplay
Ever noticed how every guy-oriented action movie has a "MacGyver" moment? MacGyver, a famous 80's television show staring Richard Dean Anderson, moments are procedurals that explain how the hero saves the day. These moments are so predictable and defining that Saturday Night Live has taken to lampooning them as "MacGruber".
Fashion catwalks are to chick flicks what MacGyver moments are to the action genre. Sex and the city has several versions of the "fashion catwalk" theme:
- There is Carrie's pre-move closet catwalk as the four friends take three days to pack her couture treasures
- The street fashions are, as usual, eye popping and very New York
- There is the wedding dress catwalk for Carrie's Vogue shoot
- There is the actual Fashion Week catwalk attended by all four friends
Sex and the City: Lesson 3 - Packs Are Important
Charlotte's mother-bear warning to Mr. Big in the street in an important tip. If you love a woman and her friends hate you good luck with that. Lose the friends and you lose your girlfriend, wife or partner. There is no faster way to lose an entire pack than leaving a member of the pack at the alter. Don't do that no matter how much panic is setting in if you ever want to have a relationship with any of the women involved. Do this and your ban could last across generations, be blogged about and bad words said about you, in these times we live in, worldwide in a matter of moments.
Sex and the City: Lesson 4 - Pacts Are Important
Men, do what you say you will do. When Mr. Big says of the too expensive New York apartment, "I got it" you could hear very woman in the theater swoon. When he didn't get out of his car at the church he was burning in effigy. From hero to monster in less than a half an hour. Why? Mr. Big didn't do what he said he was going to do. Steve doesn't do what he said he was going to do when he cheats on Miranda. Smith, Samantha's boyfriend, doesn't deliver on the sexual front. Men, do what you say and, when in doubt, do it again. Pacts are important and must be kept.
Sex and the City: Lesson 5 - Remember The 3R's (Romance, Romance, Romance)
Big mistake when Mr. Big says, "sounds like we should get married" during an "adult" conversation with Carrie. Marriage is not a merger or partnership. Well it may be, but it will be nothing if you don't drop down on your creaky knee, look up at her like a puppy and say the words, "will you marry me." All clichés are true and the need for this one knee proposal is one you adhere to. This is another "ignore at your peril" thing. Drop down, grab a knee and rehearse "will you marry me" to the point where there is no hitch in your voice and no flicker in your eyes.