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Sex and the City: The Movie DVD Review

Sex and The City movie poster Sex and the City

Theatrical Release: May 30, 2008 / Running Time: 145 Minutes / Rating: R

Writer/Director: Michael Patrick King / Creators: Darren Starr (creator), Candace Bushnell (characters)

Cast: Sarah Jessica Parker (Carrie Bradshaw), Kim Cattrall (Samantha Jones), Kristin Davis (Charlotte York), Cynthia Nixon (Miranda Hobbes), Chris Noth (John James "Mr. Big" Preston), Candice Bergen (Enid Frick), Jennifer Hudson (Louise), David Eigenberg (Steve Brady), Evan Handler (Harry Goldenblatt), Jason Lewis (Jerry "Smith" Jerrod), Mario Cantone (Anthony Marentino), Lynn Cohen (Magda), Willie Garson (Stanford Blatch), Joanna Gleason (Therapist)

Buy Sex and the City from Amazon.com:
Widescreen DVD • Fullscreen DVD • Extended Cut 2-Disc Special Edition DVD • Extended Cut Blu-ray • Complete Series DVD Gift Set


By Kelvin Cedeno

Turning a television series into a film is not an unknown occurrence. In fact, it's been done for decades, dating back as early as the 1960s on programs like "The Munsters" and "Batman."
However, modern moviegoers are more accustomed to seeing either new actors in big screen takes of classic shows, or having the cast return for a television movie. That makes Sex and the City somewhat of a rarity as it's a recent series that's been treated to a theatrical feature and with the original cast, to boot.

The film version of the popular HBO show picks up six years after the series finale. New York columnist Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker) is living a dream life with her "manfriend" John James Preston (Chris Noth), affectionately called "Mr. Big." Although not known for staying committed in a relationship, Big proposes to Carrie, and a lavish wedding is planned. As the wedding day inches closer, though, Big begins to get cold feet while Carrie gets wrapped up in her much-publicized ceremony.

Samantha (Kim Cattrall), Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker), Miranda (Cynthia Nixon), and Charlotte (Kristin Davis) are none too pleased when someone tries outbidding them at an auction. Charlotte (Kristin Davis), Samantha (Kim Cattrall), and Miranda (Cynthia Nixon) critique the wardrobe Carrie plans on bringing to her new apartment.

Meanwhile, Carrie's friends have their own relationship struggles to endure. Samantha Jones (Kim Cattrall), renowned for her many sexual escapades, is out of her element when sharing a relationship with actor Smith Jerrod (Jason Lewis). Miranda Hobbes' (Cynthia Nixon) marriage to Steve Brady (David Eigenberg) is jeopardized when she focuses too much on her legal career, causing Steve to make a grave mistake. The only bond still going strong is the one between Charlotte York (Kristin Davis) and Harry Goldenblatt (Evan Handler), though an unexpected surprise has her worried.

After working together for six years, it's clear that the cast have their characters and chemistry down pat, resulting in memorable performances all around. As "Sex and the City" was what one would call a dramedy, everyone uses their experience to expertly juggle both comedic and dramatic elements. The film knows when to make appropriate use of each, and it manages to satisfy on both accounts. The humor is sharp and witty, even if it's slightly less daring than the series. There's also perhaps a surprising level of drama on board handled with tact and understanding. The characters' personalities seem simple and straightforward at first, but their insecurities and growth help flesh them out as real people.

The balancing act is less even, however, in terms of plot. With four storylines to tackle, someone is bound to be given the short thrift, and that someone is Charlotte. Her character has always lent stability and sincerity to the group, and that's about all she's reduced to here. Her storyline includes a bit of minor drama, but it doesn't work, especially as it's breezed through with little setup or payoff.

Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker) reads to Mr. Big (Chris Noth) a collection of love letters by historical figures. Carrie's new assistant Louise (Jennifer Hudson) comes across one of the more flamboyant entries in Carrie’s sacred shoe collection.

On top of that, the film adds little to the world of the show. This is understandable since the filmmakers clearly wished for this to make sense to those unfamiliar with the series, and in that regards it works. One can view this without ever seeing a single episode and still follow along. Still, some more story progression could've been paid to existing fans.

Thanks to memorable dialogue and well-rounded characters, Sex and the City is still strong despite some story issues. While it's obvious that it only exists to bring the girls back together again, the movie should still please most fans. Those who don't care for the series aren't likely to be won over, but those who enjoy romantic comedies may very well be entertained, even if it serves as their introduction to these characters.

Buy Sex and the City: The Movie on DVD from Amazon.com DVD Details

1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Dolby Digital 5.1 (English, French, Spanish),
Dolby Surround (English),
Subtitles: English, Spanish;
Closed Captioned; Extra Not Subtitled
Release Date: September 23, 2008
Suggested Retail Price: $28.98
Single-sided, dual-layered disc (DVD-9)
White Keepcase
Also available in Fullscreen Edition DVD, on Extended Cut Two-Disc Special Edition DVD, and Extended Cut Blu-ray Disc

VIDEO and AUDIO

Sex and the City comes to DVD and Blu-ray in a 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer that adds a sliver of information vertically to its 1.85:1 theatrical ratio. Picture is expectedly excellent; colors appear natural and the image is consistently sharp. Edge enhancement is kept to a minimum, and purists will be happy to notice fine grain, proving that the transfer hasn't had digital noise reduction applied.

It's unrealistic to expect the Dolby Digital 5.1 surround track to offer demo-quality sound. This is a dialogue-heavy film, and as such, audio is focused towards the front and center. Dialogue is always crisp and intelligible. Surrounds are used mainly for music and comes across strongly without being overpowering. It's as good a track as can be expected from a film of this nature.

Miranda (Cynthia Nixon) and Steve (David Eigenberg) discuss their differences while at a marriage counselor's office. The dull main menu simply cuts up the teaser poster into fragments without score or animation.

BONUS FEATURES, MENUS and PACKAGING

All home video releases of Sex and the City come with an audio commentary by director Michael Patrick King.

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He offers a surprisingly lively chat as he talks about stories from the set, his filmmaking approach, and fan reaction. While it's disappointing that a cast commentary wasn't done, King makes up for it with his enlightening and entertaining anecdotes.

Note that for this review, only the widescreen single-disc was assessed. An extended cut adding 12 minutes to the running time is also available on a two-disc DVD. On top of the King commentary, it contains "A Conversation with Sarah Jessica Parker and Michael Patrick King", (23:49), "The Fabulous Fashion of Sex and the City" (18:04), "Fergie in the Studio" (2:12), four additional scenes (3:45), and a digital copy of the feature. The Blu-ray disc contains all of these along with "The City" and "Dish It" interactive features.

The disc opens with an anti-piracy ad using Casablanca clips along with previews for "Sex and the City": The Complete Series, Get Smart, Nights in Rodanthe, and Warner Brothers Blu-ray Discs; and an anti-tobacco promo.

The single-disc edition's menus don't exhibit very much effort. The main menu offers a silent, static image based on the teaser poster. The only other two menus ("Scene Selection" and "Languages") are equally quiet and still, containing publicity photos.

This edition comes packaged in a standard white Amaray keepcase. Included inside are a code for accessing a digital copy online and ads for the film's soundtrack and the complete series DVD set.

Akin to the most iconic moments of the show, the girls enjoy a night on the town together. While at a Mexican restaurant, the girls try their best to get Carrie's mind off her troubles.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

Sex and the City doesn't take the story very far from where the series left off, but that doesn't mean it's not well-made in its own right. It's able to stand on its own two feet and not rely too heavily on nostalgia and past charms. Both funny and touching, it's recommended for fans of the show and films of this sort in general. Image and sound quality on DVD meet expectations, and the commentary track is informative. Which edition to pick up depends on what one is looking for. The reviewed disc seems a viable option for those who don't consider twelve extra minutes of film and 48 minutes worth of supplements substantial. For those who want the most material available, though, either the 2-disc extended DVD or Blu-ray is the way to go.

Buy Sex and the City from Amazon.com:
Single-Disc DVD / Extended Cut 2-Disc DVD / Extended Cut Blu-ray / Complete Series DVD Set

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Samantha Who?: The Complete First Season • Ugly Betty: The Complete Second Season • Army Wives: The Complete First Season
The North Avenue Irregulars • When Harry Met Sally (Collector's Edition) • Laverne & Shirley: The Third Season

The Cast of Sex and the City:
Sarah Jessica Parker: Smart People • Hocus Pocus • Flight of the Navigator | Kim Cattrall: Ice Princess
Kristin Davis: Deck the Halls • The Shaggy Dog | Cynthia Nixon: Early Edition: Season 1
Chris Noth: Mr. 3000 | Candice Bergen: The Muppet Show: Season One | Jennifer Hudson: Dreamgirls
Jason Lewis: Brothers & Sisters: Season 1 | Mario Cantone: Surf's Up | Willie Garson: Boy Meets World: Season 1 • The TV Set

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Reviewed October 5, 2008.



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