I’m going to do a review of Sex and the City without actually seeing it. Hell, countless reviewers write film reviews about movies they’ve never seen, so why can’t I? I’ve seen a few episodes from the series and sort of get its chic-chick-bravado appeal. I love that almost everyone who rents it (98% of whom are professional middle-aged woman) seems to feel the need to qualify her decision by explaining that it’s about the writing. “It’s really well written” is the standard response as if that somehow explains away the shallow, bling-obsessed banality of whole series.
Sex and the City is the urban female’s Nascar. The series was mostly hollow and artificial and yet managed to sell itself as being about “real women”. You would have to surmise that one or both of those thoughts must be a fabrication or the equation equals…ah… well, you do the math. At the risk of waking up with a Manolo Blahnik stiletto stuck in my temple, I’m going to suggest that both statements are probably true. I’ll have to qualify the latter (the show being about “real women”) by saying that it obviously captures something of the fantasy life that some real women want as opposed actually being about their (or for that matter any other women’s) real lives. The desire to spend each waking moment in some gloriously fabulous fantasy life where the biggest question you ever face is the number of orgasms inferred by the term “multiple” is understandable. Somewhere in this obvious conundrum is a plain truism that can’t be avoided. As “well written” as the Sex and the City series may have been, it was not about anything real. It was about fantasy, just like Nascar is for Joe Six-pack.
Rick Groen wrote a stinging review of the film in Friday’s Globe, saying among other things;
"After all, bad summer films, full of furious hype and signifying nothing, are hardly exceptional these days, nor is the sound they typically make: the dull scrape of culture hitting rock bottom. Yet this one seems uniquely bad; this one is a threshold-breaker with a different sound, the crack of rock bottom giving way to a whole deeper layer of magma.”
Wow… Jeez Rick, why do you climb off that fence and tell us what you really think instead of beating around the bush? As sad and conceivably true as Groen’s review may be, Sex and the City will probably end up one of the higher grossing films of the year. We live in a society where it doesn’t matter whether something has merit in any real sense. What is eminently more important is its marketability. I’d be shocked if studio executives don’t sit around shaking their heads at their great fortune, the direct result of just how gullible and brain dead the average film fan is.
The response to movies like Sex and the City, the endless stream of Marvel comic book adaptations, romantic comedies and direct-to-video Dolph Lundgren action flicks would almost make you think that they really have something good to sell us. That is the great mystery of the modern film industry. If any other industry made endlessly crappy products and unleashed them year after year on their customers, they’d go bankrupt in a heartbeat. Not Hollywood. They just get bigger. Who decided that we have to weather countless shitty movies every summer? Well, we did… because we keep going. Perhaps we do because the average woman really does just want to sit around having multiple orgasms masturbating with a $625 Louis Vuitton Neverfull MM handbag while Chris Noth massages her feet and murmurs “Mr. Big… Mr. Big…Mr. Big…”. Men fantasize about having so much money that they can afford to build invincible iron leisure suits and fly around kicking ass. Jesus Christ, it’s enough to make you want to build a fortress in some dark corner of the city and only venture out occasionally to grab some food and toilet paper avoiding all contact with the humans wherever possible.
I suppose the lifestyles of the rich and famous have been the source of envy and fantasy as far back as we can remember, but at least in the past we had the wherewithal to rebel and kill the wealthy every few decades. Now we just drool like lobotomy patients, scan People Magazine and lurch like zombies at a brain picnic toward movies seemingly scripted by Dr. Seuss by way of that creepy Karl Lagerfeld. How the hell did this happen? How did we end up so bereft of intellect, taste and standards? Maybe we’re so lazy and preoccupied with the vapour nothingness of modern me-life that all we can handle is vapid Sex and the City and Iron Man movies. The Vuitton signature handbag is aptly named the “Neverfull” and maybe that tells us everything we need to know about our society and ourselves. It seems to be enough for the Sex and the City women and after all, they’re like, real women. Who are we to argue with them?