A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this comedy is based on HBO's hugely popular series Sex and the City TV series, which has garnered quite a following among teens thanks to DVDs and edited reruns in syndication. The movie is very similar to the unedited version of the show -- meaning that while it's warm and endearing (for the most part), it's also quite raunchy. There's plenty of frank talk about sex, sometimes in front of a child (though the characters use a euphemism to shield her from their usual saucy banter). There's also a fair amount of partial nudity (both female and male, including breasts and butts), a brief male frontal shot (or, rather, a glimpse of the front from the side), and characters shown in various sexual positions. Also expect lots of salty language, a good bit of drinking, and piles of high-end brand names and products. But, all of that said, just like the series, the sex and shopping aren't really the point here -- the women's friendships are.
What's the story?
When last we saw SEX AND THE CITY's fashionable foursome, they were off to their respective happily-ever-afters. But, as narrator Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker) would likely put it, what does it all mean to live happily ever after? Four years later, Carrie and her beloved Big (Chris Noth) -- now given a proper name, John James Preston -- are still going strong. But when they decide to get married, what begins as a simple affair quickly gets complicated, threatening to overwhelm everything (much like Carrie's fantastical Vivienne Westwood wedding dress). Meanwhile, Brooklyn-based Miranda (Cynthia Nixon) and Steve (David Eigenberg) are stuck in a rut that gets a much-needed -- if painful -- jolt, and Samantha (Kim Cattrall), still with golden boy Smith (Jason Lewis), bristles under the constraints of an established relationship. Only Charlotte (Kristin Davis) seems perfectly happy (she's even pregnant!), but that itself gives her reason to pause, if only because she worries when the proverbial other shoe will drop.
Is it any good?
This satisfying movie will make fans want to embrace SATC like a long-lost friend. When the series hit the scene years ago, it was groundbreaking, not only because it served up so much sex (the word is in the title, after all) -- and from a woman's point of view, at that -- but also because it fearlessly examined women's relationships with the men in their lives and, more importantly, with each other. Although the movie doesn't blaze any new trails (the dialogue, though offering handfuls of barbs, seems to have been written with a pencil less sharp than usual), fans will still likely walk away satisfied, since it serves up plenty of what made devotees watch in the first place: Friendship, romance, and drama in the big city.
The women themselves, while older, are none the worse for wear. It's so refreshing to see them celebrate themselves as they are, not pining for a youth that was so much better, bolder, and brighter than the present. The men, too, seem to have gotten better with age, especially Big, who -- though still confused -- exudes a warmth rarely seen in the series. That said, we get far too little of Stanford (Willie Garson) and Anthony (Mario Cantone). And while it's true that SATC was built on glamour, the vast array of branded products is just too much. The movie actually gets better once it dispenses with the fabulosity and gets down to the business of drama. Of the four storylines, Carrie's and Miranda's hold the most depth, but Samantha gets all the best lines, if no longer all the great sex (surprise, surprise). Charlotte, who was most transformed in the series, deserves more complexity, as does Jennifer Hudson as Carrie's assistant. But even though the movie isn't perfect, there are stand-out moments that remind us of the show's singular ability to tap into authenticity amid all the frivolity.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how the movie presents sex. Is it all just for fun, or are there consequences? If so, what are those consequences?
What messages are teens likely to take away from the movie about relationships?
Does the movie deal with the same issues as the series? Is the quest for love still the central theme? If so, what kind of love? In the end, does a woman need a relationship to be whole?
What's the glue that binds these characters together? What role do friends have in your life? Do they sometimes take the place of family? Why?
- In theaters: May 29, 2008
- On DVD or streaming: September 22, 2008
- Cast: Cynthia Nixon, Kim Cattrall, Kristin Davis, Sarah Jessica Parker
- Director: Michael Patrick King
- Studio: New Line
- Genre: Comedy
- Run time: 148 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: strong sexual content, graphic nudity and language
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.