ARTS

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June 3, 2008

The Sex saga continues, inside and outside the city

[img id="80722" align="alignleft"] Once again, the ever-inquisitive voice of writer and fashion icon Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker) has entered into the minds of fans, asking the "big" questions in the much anticipated film version of Sex and the City. Moving on from her pun-filled columns on dating, it appears as though Carrie has raised the stakes, and now has her eyes set on the big M: marriage. Sex and the City director and writer Michael Patrick King has a created a decadent treat for audiences that has reunited them with their best girl friends, Carrie, Samantha (Kim Cattrall), Miranda (Cynthia Nixon), and Charlotte (Kristen Davis), with an unprecedented display of fashion, New York City, and, of course, sex.

Like old friends, audiences are brought up to speed with the four ladies who made talking about orgasms and Jimmy Choo in the same sentence okay. First there is Carrie, who after years as a struggling but fabulous columnist has finally written two successful books and captured the heart of Mr. Big (Chris Noth). Next we find Miranda, struggling to fade into domesticity in Brooklyn with Steve (David Eigenberg), but still seemingly in love. Charlotte's dream has finally come true: She is still happily married to Harry (Evan Handler) and raising their adopted daughter on Park Avenue. And Samantha, after years of bed-hopping, appears to have settled down with her boy toy Smith Jarrod while traveling between New York and L.A. Of course, not everyone can be happy forever in Hollywood, and soon after the sweet introduction the four heroines are tossed into something of a whirlwind drama.

First, Carrie and Mr. Big's wedding escalates into a full-blown celebrity event, and Mr. Big appears uneasy. Not all is happy across the Brooklyn Bridge either, where, as the trailer reveals, Steve has been unfaithful to Miranda. Samantha, while warming up to the idea of monogamy, is tested by a hot neighbor, and Charlotte is given a miracle pregnancy that could easily be lost. In a departure from the series, Parker, Nixon, Cattrall, and Davis demonstrate their talent as dramatic actresses. Although the film can be uncharacteristically melancholy, each actress makes the sad moments relevant.

Parker dazzles with her lovable personality and comedy, only this time viewers are able to see a softer side of a Carrie Bradshaw unprotected by her fashionable attire. At times, some of the scenes seemed too contrived and over the top, but Carrie still remains the anchor for the three other characters and the captain of the journey through the two L's: labels and love.

The other three actresses also demonstrate their talents for drama. Davis's palpable emotions throughout the film make her even more enjoyable and illustrate her versatility. And as always, Cattrall's comic timing and sexual allure give the show a lot of its energy—one scene has Samantha with sushi in some compromising places. Samantha's interactions with her neighbor are sure to satisfy fans' expectations of sex in the film.

Nixon balances her dramatic and comedic elements nicely, but one missing component of her character was her quick wit. The drama in Miranda's life prevents her from having much of the dry humor that she had in the show. But fortunately even when Miranda is upset, her cynical nature allows her to be funny.

The movie brings new elements to the table as well, while still reminding audiences of what they loved about the show. New characters, like Carrie's label-and-love-seeking assistant Louise (Jennifer Hudson), breathe life into the movie's plot, while some new locales like Mexico and L.A. provide variety. The fashion in the film is reminiscent of that in the show, but costume designer extraordinaire Patricia Field brings the women to a whole new level with designers like Vivienne Westwood, Zac Posen, and Marc Jacobs. Stunning views of New York are as prominent as ever, but moments like fashion week in Bryant Park give viewers another side of the city.

Time and the age of the characters shift the film's focus away from the constant man-hunting of the series to more serious commitments, but the underlying message of self-love and the importance of friendship remains the same. The film, though loaded with relationships and Manolos, brings audience members a sense that even though labels or love may not be coming their way, they have solace in their friends and themselves. Sex and the City remains a beacon for friendship and self-love, and by the end of the film, movie-goers will wipe away their tears, raise a Cosmo, and remember Carrie's farewell words from the series: "The most exciting, challenging, and significant relationship of all is the one you have with yourself. And if you find someone to love the you you love, well, that's just fabulous."