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Movie Review: 'Sex and the City'

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If the boys can swoon over the return of Indiana Jones to the multiplex, then certainly the girls deserve equal sentimental time. The new "Sex and the City" movie more than fills that bill.

Bring back Carrie, Samantha, Miranda and Charlotte, New York at its loveliest, "Mr. Big" and Manolo Blahnik, Prada and Vuitton, fashionable eateries, fashionable fashions and fashionistas.

Bring back romance. Well, maybe not so much of that.

And really, who cares if Indy and Iron Man save the world in under two hours and this already (somewhat) tidied up TV series can't be re-tidied in under 2:25? "SATC" is all about the leisure time, "ladies who lunch" and, of course, discretionary income.

The hit HBO series about four successful thirtysomethings making it in the big city and "making it" in the big city, looking for love and that perfect purse, perfectly absurd hat and some Jimmy Choos to go with it, becomes a movie that has all of the virtues and the flaws of the show, blown up for the big screen.

They're still women who go after what they want, whenever they decide what they want. They're older, but they age with style. They put their friends first. They lust. They share everything, "no secrets." And they don't mind blowing bucks on the bling.

It's a teenage girls' fantasia on being a big girl in the Big Apple, or a gay man's idea of that teen dream.

Three years have passed since we last saw them, "three years and three books" for Carrie Bradshaw ( Sarah Jessica Parker). Three years of marital bliss for Charlotte ( Kristin Davis), three years that have pushed the over-scheduled Miranda (Cynthia Nixon) into "Let's just get it over with" sex and made the super-successful publicist-turned-manager Samantha ( Kim Cattrall) question her allegiance to her movie star toy boy.

But now, Carrie's "happy ending" is in sight. Mr. Big (Chris Noth) has bought them a penthouse. And he's proposed. Sort of.

So there's a wedding to plan, a magazine spread in Vogue (where Carrie works while writing her city-lifestyle memoirs) built around it as "the girls" plot their ultimate coup, a New York Public Library wedding with designer gowns, gossip column coverage, "A-list" guests, the works.

Things go awry, just the way they did on the show. The girls rally around one another, as they always did on the show. They get naked and have sex (save for Ms. Parker), just like on the show. Samantha blurts out the most colorful and raunchy put-downs, Miranda suffers, Charlotte comes a little bit further out of her conservative shell, and, well, you know, just like the show.

Which is to say that "SATC: The Movie" is modest entertainment, a real treat for HBO fans, but more of a shrug to the rest of us. You don't have to have been devoted to the series to follow this (a brisk prologue brings everybody up to speed). But you do in order to get into its whole superficial, bitchy vibe.

Plenty of funny lines, plenty of glorious (and laugh-out-loud) outfits, romantic New York locations, rude jokes about waxing, Montezuma's revenge and an oversexed dog.

And there's Judy Garland and a Dreamgirl ( Jennifer Hudson, an Oscar winner who still isn't the most natural actor) as Carrie's new personal assistant, and Fashion Week and cosmos and shopping and trying on dresses and flashing back to '80s and '90s fashions and gay wedding planners.

But really, was there nobody on the set butch enough to say, "Excuse me, WHY we pairing up three of our FAB-ulous Four with very effeminate men?" A TV show about driven, successful, assertive women, looking for love in NYC, and this is who (writer-director) Michael Patrick King sees them with? Harvey Fierstein and Rupert Everett weren't available?

The smartest things about the show endure the transition to the big screen and the transitional lives of our heroines. It's hard to meet someone, to fall in love and hang onto love in the big, impersonal city.

And if it all feels a mite perfunctory, a mite trite and a little dated (the girls haven't heard of the New Frugality?), "Sex and the City" still manages to be a hymn to hotness, hipness and haute couture, one its fans can happily sing along with.

See the trailer and find local showtimes for "Sex and the City."

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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