‘SATC’: We Watched the Movie, But We Really Watched the Clothes

OMG!!!! HIIIII! SHRIEK!!! Photo: Courtesy of New Line Cinema

Don’t ask how we ended up rolling into a 10:10 a.m. screening of Sex and the City, in a theater crammed to the gills with Ladies Who Lunch tucking designer shades into knockoff handbags and gossiping during the film about whether Candace Bergen looks bloated. Just know that sometimes the prospect of a big-screen buffet of expensive clothes, big hair, and killer stilettos is hard to resist. Fear not, we’ll warn you before we dish plot spoilers, but we don’t think it will ruin anything to tell you that the heart of the film does and always will belong to one Mr. above all others: Mr. Manolo Blahnik.

JESSICA: As far as fashion/home-decorating porn goes, that was awesome.
HEATHER: Indeed. I couldn’t help but wonder, “Why even bother with plot at all?” Of course, in the end, they kind of didn’t break new ground on that front — but before we get to spoilers, let’s talk shoes.
JESSICA: And bags. And jewelry. And dresses. And giant, feathered headpieces. I felt like I could have watched it with the sound off and been perfectly happy.
HEATHER: What I like about Sex and the City — which was already always a show I enjoyed sort of passively, for eye candy's sake — is that it knows its wardrobe is crazy and doesn’t care. That they gave Carrie and Charlotte a moment where Carrie acknowledged she’d been wearing a bird on her head rather than just a plain old feather, and Charlotte’s sort of amazed/impressed/bemused/scared reaction, is such a wink to that.
JESSICA: I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a movie with more clothing-related montages.
HEATHER: Including movies that make fun of other movies with clothing-related montages.
JESSICA: They managed to revisit some of Carrie’s greatest hits from the past — like her long, ratty fur coat — throughout the movie, and in an organic way, so … Yeah, I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I kind of wished we could have lost a montage or two.
HEATHER: Like, say, the product-placed Vogue montage with the Plum Sykes cameo? Not that it wasn’t cool. Those Top Model shoots could pick up a tip or five. But it did pad out the movie REALLY aggressively.
JESSICA: I know. I enjoyed seeing Carrie’s tutu from the show’s opening credits, but did they really need to spend twenty minutes on her cleaning out her closet? The movie is like two and half hours long! I looked at my watch when we actually got to some dramatic conflict and we were something like 50 minutes in.
HEATHER: You’d think that a movie about four fortysomethings would be more sympathetic to the fact that I am old and my rickety knees can’t handle sitting in a movie theater for that long unless things are blowing up on screen, or Scarlett O’Hara is about to make a dress from curtains.
JESSICA: Speaking of fortysomethings, I thought the ladies all looked good — facially and otherwise. Hair and makeup (and lighting) earned their paychecks. Weirdly, SJP always looks more natural to me as Carrie Bradshaw than she does when she’s out and about on her own, which I guess says something about how good she is in the role. She wore this purple cocktail dress toward the beginning that I deeply covet. And I was pleased that we had at least a few “WTF is Carrie wearing?” moments. It wouldn’t be SATC otherwise.
HEATHER: Style-wise, it worked for me that the film didn’t try too hard to evolve their wardrobes just to make the point that time had passed. Carrie is still Carrie, Charlotte is still Charlotte; the world changes, but they’re the same at their cores, you know? Although I felt for Cynthia Nixon. That weirdly long montage at the beginning — the one bringing people up to speed on the series, as if anyone is coming to the movie fresh — was SUCH an awkward testament to how much she got the short shrift with hair and wardrobe in the early seasons. That woman suffered.
JESSICA: I thought that “previously on the last six seasons of Sex and the City” was really random. I get why they did it, but it felt like a studio note. WE KNOW. Unless the point was to remind us how much more expensively everyone dresses now. The bag Carrie gave Jennifer Hudson alone would cover my rent. And speaking of J. Ho, she’s so cute, but…
HEATHER: Yeah, anyone who hasn’t seen the movie might want to back away so we can talk plot. But come back when you’ve seen it! We will miss you … Okay, phew, thank God they’re gone, so here goes: Jennifer Hudson can’t act unless she’s singing. There, I said it. Also, I sort of resented that she got certain emotional beats with Carrie that I wanted Carrie to have with one of her core girlfriends. Don’t take those away from me, Michael Patrick King. Not when you’ve got a running time equal to FIVE episodes.
JESSICA: I know. As much as I enjoyed the movie — and don’t get me wrong, I will rewatch it every time it shows up on cable — I sort of felt like I couldn’t believe we had to go through all that yadda yadda with Big and Carrie AGAIN.
HEATHER: All the plots felt pretty rehashed, but especially theirs.
JESSICA: They are like those friends you have that keep breaking up and getting back together over and over and over again and eventually you’re like, “Oy. I am so over this.” I mean, I like Big as much as the next girl, but if I were Carrie’s friend, I think I would have a hard time signing off on their shenanigans once more.
HEATHER: What bugs me is that they went to all that trouble to end the series on a sweet note with them, then exhumed that grave and peed all over it. They made Big jilt her! How can we be happy to see them reunite after that? That’s DOUCHEY. Period. Grow up and get your act together, old man. It makes me respect her less that she forgave him for something that humiliating, and I don’t want to have conflicted and deep feelings during a Sex and the City movie.
JESSICA: Speaking of old men, did Noth have something done? He looked different to me.
HEATHER: He looked freakishly well rested. Like he’d just woken up from the world’s longest, most rejuvenating nap.
JESSICA: I prefer my Mr. Big to be more facially rumpled. And less of a total man-child.
HEATHER: Absolutely. And while I find it hilarious — given all the rumors of discord — that Kim Cattrall’s character being in L.A. led to her having about six entrances in which everyone had to squeal and hug her and be thrilled to see her, I did think the movie was at its best when it focused on the girls’ bonds with each other and less on contrived, repetitive man problems. When Carrie and Miranda fought, it affected me more.
JESSICA: Me too. I thought when Miranda showed up at Carrie’s appointment in the cab to hash it out, and she rolled the window down and leaned out to talk to her, it was SO like Mr. Big. I thought that was a really nice touch — making the point that, in the end, your relationship with your girlfriends is as meaningful as any relationship you might have with a man. And for me, that’s always been what the show has been about. Not to be cheesy. Well, that and the shoes.
HEATHER: Sniffle. Does that make you my lady-husband? I will NEVER jilt you. Not even for those hot blue Manolos that were the movie’s touchstone. I need them. They were gorgeous, elegant, sexy, and maybe a bit impractical — just like the four girls themselves. —The Fug Girls

For more of nymag.com's breathtaking Sex and the City coverage:
Overheard at the Midnight Screening of 'Sex and the City' [Daily Intel]
The First 'Sex and the City' Citizen Reviews Are In! [Daily Intel]
Pink Carpet Fashion at the 'Sex and the City' Premiere [Cut]
Would Men Really Rather Be Shot Than Watch 'Sex and the City'? [Vulture]
Cynthia Nixon: The Secret 'Sex and the City' Gay-Publicity Weapon? [Daily Intel]
Steve Has Never Watched 'Sex and the City'! [Daily Intel]
Patricia Field On Her Favorite 'Sex' Outfits and SJP's Crazy Hat [Cut]
Tears of Fashion [Daily Intel]
All About Gidget, the Canine Star of 'Sex and the City' [Vulture]
The Sad, Bizarre World of 'Sex and the City' Promotions [Cut]

For more of the Fug Girls, check out their complete archive.