I have just been forced to watch “Sex and the City, for the purpose of this article.
The last time I spent time so painfully was in 1986 when a nurse attempted to remove a stuck stitch from my anatomy before deciding that actually it had to be done under anesthetic. While that involved tears, it only lasted 10 minutes. And the nurse didn’t go on about shoes.
With grosses north of $150 million in the US alone and a humongous fanatical following composed of obviously every women on the planet, “Sex and the City – scheduled for theatrical release in Egypt next month – is a cultural phenomena debated everywhere from New York Times and The Guardian to the obscure South Korean gossip rag and Teen Stuff.
Two and a half hours is long. If you’re going to make a film 150 minutes long, then you better have something to say, and I’m looking at you, Mr Michael Patrick King.
These inane women and their endless outfits have absolutely nothing to tell us whatsoever. This is a film set in New York City – a metropolis whose unique character usually imposes itself on, and enriches, the films in which it stars.
Carrie Bradshaw and her group of friends manage to destroy even this, with their asinine and self-obsessed musings and costume changes – NYC is reduced to the city to which, apparently, women come “for labels and love. What what what?
I am the only English-speaking female with eyes within my circle of acquaintances who has never watched an episode of “Sex and the City, but for the lucky few of you out there who haven’t, it revolves around an author called Carrie Bradshaw and her three sartorially-challenged friends who live in NYC and talk about men, clothes, shoes, and their boring personal crises. The wider world doesn’t exist in Sex and the City Land as these entirely unremarkable, dull women flounce around talking about men, and breaking up with men, and getting back together with men and talking about or having sex.
The dye was cast in the very first scene when four women go past Carrie in the street and congratulate her on her “nice dress. She is wearing a dress with a flower the size of her head parked on her right shoulder.
The following scenes are a hectic mess of flashbacks during which Carrie fills us in on what has been happening in these ridiculous women’s lives for the past God knows how many seasons before we are introduced to Mr Big.
By some kind of pop culture osmosis, I was aware of the existence of this individual, Mr Big, largely because of the loud sighing at the mention of his name – which had led me to believe that he was some kind of sexpot.
His plucked eyebrows and quiff reminded me of Egyptian comedian Samir Ghanem, and performance-wise, the only other experience this heavy was watching late 80s repeats of “The Bold and the Beautiful on state television while eating too much chocolate.
Carrie and Mr Big are flat-hunting and end up choosing a Fifth Avenue penthouse. “Why’s it so cheap? Carrie asks, briefly forgetting about her obsession with herself. “A divorce which ended badly, the real estate agents tell her.
“What is there possibly to argue about living here, Carrie shrieks just as she opens a not very big closet. “Now I understand the divorce, she says.
You see, fashion is the be all and end all of Carrie’s existence. Fashion and men; this is all Carrie and her friends go on about in a never-ending stream of drivel – which is fine possibly if you are a 14-year-old girl, but these woman are almost menopausal.
We know that in between playing dress-up one of them works as a lawyer and another is some sort of top-flight business executive, so presumably they do have semi-interesting experiences to relate to. But alas there’s no time for all that, because they’ve got puffball skirts to wear and men to whine about.
Which brings me onto the clothes. I have only a rudimentary knowledge of, and even less of an interest, in what constitutes style, so the endless and ostentatious parade of outfits was exhausting, not to say dull.
In one scene we endure Carrie trying on something like 98 wedding dresses for a photo shoot, her voiceover announcing the designers of each frock before we see her laughing coyly, or looking distant and serious while the obligatory homosexual friend looks on and makes the tired old joke about him wearing a similar dress when he gets married.
Do I lack a fashion gene? Does this explain why I found the clothes theme so exasperating, so dull, so intensely intrusive? And when you take away the clothes what are you left with? Four vacuous women who wear bead necklaces in bed.
For the record, I have nothing against watching dramas revolving around the lives of vacuous Americans with a sex obsession – I am a huge fan of Nip/Tuck, which manages to combine frivolity with a healthy dose of cynicism, darkness and irony.
One gets the feeling that Carrie et al have dismissed irony because it wouldn’t match their handbags. The film’s principal ‘comedy’ moment involves one of the characters defecating in her trousers. Other light moments are supposed to be provided by the witty barbs and ripostes the women fling at each other about their various deficiencies. They lack the humor, the humanity or the character to pull it off.
One of their numbers, Samantha, is meant to be a go-getter and savvy and independent, but, alas, to a newcomer like me, she just came over as rude, crass and slightly tragic.
Perhaps this is the key to the mystery: one perhaps has to have watched this nonsense from the start in order to understand and enjoy the company of these people – much in the same way as old friends forgive each other’s peccadilloes.
A “Sex and the City devotee and a first-time viewer, weigh in on the highly anticipated movie. For the other review, click here: http://www.thedailynewsegypt.com/article.aspx?ArticleID=14970