Saturday, May 31, 2008

Sex and the City

Girls, I Can't Believe We Got Chopped in Singapore

I've got to admit that I've never seen an episode of Sex and the City prior to this movie, so I'm probably a good gauge whether someone going in blind will still be able to enjoy the movie. In short, yes I did, primarily because it's so cliche of a romance movie and I'm in the mood for some formula after frying my brain for the last work week. But like in true Singapore fashion, the same reason why the television series never made it to our free-to-air channels, is precisely because we cannot stand sex. I've said it before and I'll say it again, stop complaining about dwindling birthrates when we can't even watch some harmless humping on the screen. In true capitalist fashion, the distributors decided on the M18 rating, with the censors exercising their scissors to trim it for that. An R21 rating will enable this to go uncut, but no. So while we can see a dog hump everything in sight, human copulation is a strict no-no.

So yes, the version screened here is the censored one. NO sex please, we're Singaporeans. Welcome home, I thought. Anyway even without the sex on screen (which I'm sure we can all imagine in our erm, heads), the first impressions I have on the characters, especially Sarah Jessica Parker's New York #1 Single Girl (read: worried woman at 40 afraid of being left on the shelf and miss the train) Carrie Bradshaw, was that she's so whiny and shallow. It's all about the materialistic labels, as if not having a brand plastered on herself would mean the end of the world as we know it.

And succinctly put, that was the impression I got, which irked me at the beginning, until slow, and surprisingly, it started to grow on me. Stop the press, a chick flick which disses men at first opportunity, being appealing? Yes, you heard me right. While I had disdain for the Label part, what with the gushing over Vogue spreads, and having being sponsored gowns that rattled off like a who's who in the fashion industry (although I do admit that the Vivienne Westwood wedding gown was stunning) that made it look like wanting to go one up on The Devil Wears Prada, the Love part was what made it a tad more interesting.

As the series alluded to, the Big Apple is where the everyone goes to in an attempt to get their dreams come true and their love life sorted out, or so Jennifer Hudson's very minor supporting role as Carrie Bradshaw's personal assistant. I thought I was watching Desperate Housewives in their 40s, with the return of the principle cast of Cynthia Nixon as Miranda Hobbes, who's having problems dealing with infidelity and the grappling with the notion of forgiveness, Kristin Davis' Charlotte York, the ditzy one (yup, there's always one) amongst the group, and Kim Cattrall's Samantha Jones, the one who put the Sex in the city, but now living on the West Coast, and having to fight temptations with staying next door to a hunk (oh yeah M18 allows a cock shot too), resisting her internal urges to play the horizontal tango. For those who are virgins to the series, you'll thank the filmmakers for summarizing everything for you in the series when the opening credits roll.

But we all know that this movie is all about Carrie Bradshaw, don't we, as the trailer already suggests, the central story revolves around Bradshaw's impending marriage to her Mr Right, Mr Big (Chris Noth, and to the clueless like me, I thought it refers to an appendage, does it?). And in formulaic fashion, you know what would happen, and what would happen next. It runs fairly predictably, but the only thing that keeps us glued onto the screen, is because it appealed to our internal curiosity to observe how surprisingly these characters are brought to life by their charismatic actresses. That's also one major contributor to the fun factor, as you also laugh at some subtle remarks and actions - the iPhone bit just cracked me up, and so does the growing of the national forest part, despite being prominently featured in the trailers.

And it throws down a few life lessons too for everyone thinking about marriage, the severity of it (if you still subscribe to the notion), and that's to be dead sure before you even moot the point. Forever's a very long time, and you've got to be dead serious when making such commitments. In any case, whatever you do, never ever leave the bride at the alter. To me I think that's quite irresponsible, ungentlemanly and really very wrong. If you have cold feet and want to call it off, do it early, not at the very last minute. Though I think it really makes a good catalyst for a movie, like Run Fatboy Run.

So will Sex and the City make a lot of money, and wise enough to play during summer? Going by the crowd reaction, the fans have turned out in full force to support the movie and reminisce about the television series they loved, with the return of characters they spent a part of their lives with. To the uninitiated like me, they definitely have piqued my interest to try and watch the series. Uncensored of course, somehow, somewhere, where there's a will, there's gotta be a way. And later in summer we'll see the return of yet another television series to the big screen, and I can't wait for Fox Mulder and Dana Scully to dig up another case of the X-Files.

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