In the big-screen version of Sex and the City, Miranda (Cynthia Nixon) tells her husband, Steve: “I changed who I was for you.” Viewers will no doubt relate, but fortunately for those eager to reconnect with Miranda, Samantha (Kim Cattrall), Charlotte (Kristin Davis), and Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker) four years after the hit HBO series went off the air, the film remains mostly true to the spirit of the show, with clever writing and characters who struggle with their own failings but never give up on their friends.
As in the series, the action of the film revolves around the women’s relationship issues. Charlotte is happily ensconced in Park Avenue matronhood, but Miranda’s inability to forgive a transgression by Steve (David Eigenberg) threatens their marriage. Samantha, who has relocated to the West Coast to manage boyfriend Smith’s (Jason Lewis) career, wavers between loyalty to him and her desire to lead her old self-centered life. Most significantly, Carrie and Mr. Big (Chris Noth) decide to get married, providing them with yet one more opportunity to split up.
The film, which runs a bit long and contains far more explicit sex scenes than those featured on the show, strikes some discordant notes. Samantha resists the tempting proximity of her oversexed Malibu neighbor, but why does she resort to eating in order to stay faithful to Smith, instead of breaking out the vibrator, as the old Samantha would have? For a movie set mostly in New York, the milieu remains puzzlingly white, with people of color present mostly as service workers. Sequences that show Carrie modeling bridal couture for Vogue and the four friends attending a Fashion Week show feel like gratuitous product placement. And Carrie’s declaration, in the iconic voiceover, that women move to New York in search of designer labels may surprise those who thought that even Carrie and her fashionista friends had moved to the city to create their adult identities, not simply to shop.
Ultimately, though, the message appears to be that less can be more, and we’re happy to join this reunion of friends who’ve suffered and celebrated together.