As a group, although the show tries to portray them as likeable, with the possible exception of Charlotte, they're an extraordinarily selfish group of women with meaningless empty lives. Their jobs are an afterthought, they're all as shallow as kiddie pools, and they look at people outside of their little group, including the men in their lives, as little more than disposable playthings that have no purpose other than to make them happy.
Does that mean that Sex and the City promotes a promiscuous, unhealthy lifestyle? Yes, it does, although to be fair, the show does occasionally show the consequences of sleeping around.
For example, one of my favorite moments in the first three seasons is when Samantha gets sick, knocks a curtain rod down, and needs help getting it back up. So, she starts calling all the different one-night-stands she has been with and even though she goes through an enormous number of them, not one of them cares enough about her to come over and help.
Unfortunately, such moments happened far too seldom on the show and were so sanitized that as a conservative, you almost want to cheer when one of the women actually has to deal with a consequence of sleeping with a different guy every week....
Which brings me to the movie. Much to my chagrin, Charlotte and Miranda were married when the movie started and Samantha and Carrie were in long-term relationships. This was horrifying because the dating stories were the heart of the series for the first three seasons. It was almost like watching an A-Team movie where the guys had given up helping people and spend the whole movie playing monopoly and checkers.
So, if there were no dating stories, what was going on? Lots of brutally painful relationship stories along with talk about fashion. In other words, it was guy hell. We could put that movie on constant rotation at Gitmo and within a couple of days, the terrorists there would be begging to be waterboarded just to get away from their TV screens.
At about the 40 minute mark, I was ready to gouge my eyes out with my thumbs to stop the pain and that's when I remembered that the movie ran a full two hours and twenty minutes. Furthermore, I couldn't leave because I had to discuss the movie in this column. At that point, if they had cyanide capsules at the concession stand, I might have bought a handful.
Later that night, after calling some female friends who were big fans of the show, I found out that it got much more relationship-oriented in the later seasons. Had I only known, I would have just written column #47 on Barack Obama instead of spending more than two hours of my life in that Prada nightmare.
If you want a quick review of the movie, it's easy to give you one in less than five words. For women it's, "Relationship stuff. You'll love it!" and for men, it's just "Run!"
Beyond that, two things really stuck out for me about the movie.
The first is that the show's view of "love" is just as warped as its view of dating. The movie features this romance novel notion that when a mutual mistake breaks up a couple, the man should pine away for her, hopelessly in love for months and months, with no encouragement, no reason to think it's not over -- until the woman finally changes her mind and they take up right where they left off. In the real world, as often as not, this is called creepy, stalkerish behavior.
The other unintentionally sad but telling moment, requires a mini-spoiler so consider yourself forewarned if you continue.
Near the end of the film, Samantha -- who has been with a much younger, good looking, rich, successful man who has worshiped the ground she walks on for five years -- dumps him because she wants to have sex with different guys. The movie then finishes as the girls celebrate her 50th birthday party. Perhaps the message is intended to be empowering somehow, suggesting that Samantha didn't need a man or a family in her life to be content or perhaps were supposed to conclude she should be congratulated for being true to her nature. However, the reality is that she's 50 years old, her friends are all in long term relationships, and her days of going clubbing with them and picking up hot guys for casual sex are probably about to draw to a end. So even in its closing moments, like the rest of the show, the movie promotes a lifestyle and a value system that may be entertaining, but makes utter wreckage of people's lives.