'Sex and the City' Movie Premieres Friday
Thursday, May 29, 2008; 12:00 PM
Only hours to go until the premiere of "Sex and the City: The Movie" - can you wait?
Style section staff writer Jennifer Frey was online Thursday, May 29 to talk about Cosmos, Manolos, cupcakes, boyfriends, girlfriends... and just why it is so many of us are so excited to see Carrie, Miranda, Samantha and Charlotte again, four years after the HBO series signed off the air.
A transcript follows.
Jennifer Frey: Hi, all! Sorry I'm a few minutes late. Hopefully you all saw my colleague Ann Hornaday's review of the film this morning! I saw it as well, at the media screening, but will do my best to avoid all spoilers. Now, looking forward to your questions.
Baltimore, Md.: I'm a middle aged woman who faithfully watched the TV show, but always felt a little guilty doing so. Kind of like reading "Cosmopolitan" magazine. I didn't want my kids to see it.
Jennifer Frey: No guilt! No guilt! Carrie et al. would hate the guilt. That said, definitely don't take the kids to see the film!
Washington, D.C.: Is this movie a date movie? I say no.
Jennifer Frey: This is a girlfriend movie, not a date movie. Then again, there are some guys out there who wouldn't complain about watching sexy women for 2-plus hours. But you'll wish you were with your girlfriends.
Carrie in Training (I wish!!): Please... I am searching for a movie theater that serves cocktails so my girlfriends and I can sip Manhattans while living vicariously through our "girlfriends" on screen. Does one exist in this area??
washingtonpost.com: I know the AMC at Mazza Gallerie has a "club cinema" with a bar, may be others around...
Jennifer Frey: Yes, Mazza Gallerie is right. As long as it's showing on one of the two club cinema screens, and I believe it is--I believe it's showing on two screens there.
Elizabeth City, N.J.: Is there sufficient nudity to entice a male to go and watch this movie? I want him to go with me, but he won't if there's no nudity.
Jennifer Frey: Hmmm. Getting a few of these do-i-get-to-see-skin? questions from the men. Yes, there is skin. (Oh, and ladies, there is naked man skin, too).
Alexandria, Va.: When you ask a woman which SaTC character is she is, why is the answer -always- Carrie?
Jennifer Frey: Because Charlotte is too goody-goody, Samantha too much of a, well, you know....and Miranda gets portrayed as witchier and witchier. Carrie is the safe bet.
I've never watched one episode of SATC and just recently got interested in the movie only because the commercials make everything look so pretty and I like Jennifer Hudson. Should I go see or will I be lost unless I watch the show? (In which case I won't because I don't have the time or desire).
Jennifer Frey: There's a little recap upfront to help understand who the characters are and where they are at in their lives, but there will be a lot of references back to SATC the series that will fly over your head. But I say go anyway, if only for the clothes and the shoes.
Minneapolis, Minn.: Watching SATC is my guilty pleasure and will most likely see the movie. That being said, I watched the trailer for the movie and it was 98% Carrie (read Sarah J Parker). Will this movie be a vanity project with her? Can we expect even stories on the other three?
Jennifer Frey: Without spoiling plot lines, my own major complaint with the film was that it was too Carrie-centric. I wanted more Samantha, more Miranda....but the all do have their own stories and the interaction among the four is, as it always was, very entertaining.
Washington, D.C.: Hi Jennifer!
Your readers might be interested to know that Sex and the City fans have a chance to see Cynthia Nixon (Miranda) here in the Nation's Capital, next week! As a breast cancer survivor and advocate, and celebrity ambassador for Susan G. Komen for the Cure, Nixon will be in town for the 2008 National Race for the Cure Eve of Race party at the Newseum on June 6, and will help lead more than 3,500 breast cancer survivors in the Parade of Pink during the pre-Race ceremony on June 7. Get your cameras ready!
washingtonpost.com: National Race for the Cure
Jennifer Frey: Thanks for letting us know, Washington!
Silver Spring, Md.: As I have grown older (now a mom with 3 kids) and watch SATC on TBS, I have grown increasingly irritated with Carrie. I often turn the channel to HGTV, but I digress. Carrie is so self involved and downright spoiled. I like her independent thinking but that's about it. Will the movie continue down Carrie "Self Involved" Bradshaw lane or will I be happily surprised at a new and improved Carrie?
And, um, I am dying to know, does Carrie marry Big and they live happily ever after??
(ha - threw that in just in case you were having a weak moment)
Jennifer Frey: Carrie is always going to have a lot of self-involvement. That's just who she is. And now she's making enough money to hire an assistant! (That's not a spoiler, given that Jennifer Hudson's addition to the cast in that capacity has been pretty well known). The question is, can YOU stand it for 2-plus hours in order to find out if Carrie and Big get married? Because I'm not going to tell you......
Laurel, Md.: I love this show! My husband won't go with me, so we found a showing of Indiana Jones at the same time as Sex and the City so we both get the best of our movie seeing tastes.
Jennifer Frey: I applaud that kind of flexibility. Now, can you arrange to sneak a girlfriend there to meet you as well?
Washington, D.C.: My girlfriend and I cannot wait for Friday night! Here's my question - do you know of any "fun" smaller theaters in D.C. or Md. where this is playing? I generally avoid the megaplexes but is that the only option for SATC?
washingtonpost.com: Check out The Avalon in Chevy Chase, D.C.
Jennifer Frey: And there's your answer. It's on Connecticut.
U Street: Will this chat include spoilers? I watched a promo on E! this weekend and it basically gave away the movie (grr!).
And as an fyi -- my favorite SATC episode is when Carrie and Aidan call off their engagement (so moving... aww).
Jennifer Frey: Like I said, doing my best to avoid spoilers. Shame on E!
My favorite episode, sad though it is, is the one where the writers manage to compact Miranda's engagement/wedding into the same show where Samantha finds out she has cancer. And you don't feel overwhelmed. It had everything.
Embarrassed to ask: I'm kind of embarrassed to ask this, as I must be one of the few people who really does want to know what happens first. Is there a review of SATC that does contain a lot of spoilers?
washingtonpost.com: Just Google "sex and the city spoilers." I didn't click on any links because I don't want to know!
Jennifer Frey: Now that the movie has been screened in the U.S., spoilers will abound on the internet. Get googling!
"You'll wish you were with your girlfriends": Now that makes me sad - none of my girlfriends watch the show (which probably means I need new girlfriends, but I digress). I am taking my husband, who has seen every episode at least twice courtesy of my box set and gets every random reference I make to the show. He likes it too.
Is this as pathetic as it sounds to me?
Jennifer Frey: This is not pathetic. A man who can quote the show and knows all the references is lovely. Think of him as your own Stanford Blatch. Okay, maybe not. That might be pushing hubby a little too far.
Washington, D.C.: I haven't even seen the movie yet, so I know this question is ridiculous, but I'm so excited, I can't help but wonder:
Will there be a sequel?
Jennifer Frey: It took so much effort to get all four of the women together to make this film, four YEARS after the fact, that I think it's highly unlikely. Kim Cattrall didn't even want to make this one. Then again, never say never in Hollywood. If this movie does box office gold, there will certainly be discussions.
SA, TC: Hey! Are there any premiere parties in D.C. tomorrow night, especially in bars near the theaters where it's showing? I'm thinking Chinatown, Mazza... Thanks!
washingtonpost.com: Going Out Guru Jen is working on a list of places that would be great for a pre- or post-show cocktail... stay tuned. If it's ready by the time the chat ends I'll put a link up, otherwise just check the site later.
Jennifer Frey: Stay tuned!
New York, N.Y.: Does Mr. Big have a major part in the film?
Jennifer Frey: As always, all the "major" screentime goes to the ladies, especially Carrie. But Big does play a significant role. He definitely gets lots more screen time than poor Harry (Charlotte's husband).
Burbank, Calif.: No spoilers, but I saw the movie at a company screening and just wanted to let everyone know that it was clear that the filmmakers have a great respect for the fans. I felt like it was a gift to us.(So many times, big screen adaptations of favorite shows get off track.)
Jennifer Frey: And my esteemed colleague, Ann Hornaday, would appear to be in agreement with you.
D.C.: C'mon, who cares about these shallow, insecure, middle-aged hags?
Jennifer Frey: I'll tell you after I see the box office numbers. And I suspect the answer will be LOTS of people. And watch it without that "hag" comment! Sure, they do insecure and some people--*some* people--may think that a fixation on Manolos is shallow. But hags? I think not!
New England: Hi,
All four characters are in seemingly stable relationships at the beginning of the movie and I assume they end the movie in those relationships as well.
Does this undermine the show's theme that women can be happily single? Or was the show not really about that?
I enjoy watching Grey's Anatomy with my wife but still struggle to enjoy this show.
Any ideas why there is such a gender gap?
My thesis - most men don't identify with Big and no other male on the story was safe. I always assumed that Steve would get the "Aidan treatment" -I think that is his character's name - the carpenter guy from Northern Exposure.
Really, thank God for Steve. I watched the show because my wife loved it but without Steve, it would have been much, much tougher.
Jennifer Frey: I think a lot of the show was about women being happily single, as long as they had each other. The writers took a calculated risk at the end of the series by pairing off all four women with a man--especially in having Carrie wind up with Big, a controversial choice. But what I found back then, when talking to readers/viewers, is that while a fierce part of us wanted them to remain fiercely single, most simply wanted to see them all happy. And if Big made Carrie happy, then they wanted Carrie with big.
As for men identifying with the male characters, I can see your point. Certainly, there are more prototypes to choose from on Grey's Anatomy. How many men out there can identify with Jason Lewis?
Suitland, Md.: Can't wait! Bought tickets last week! I think we all just want more of a good thing, but I must say, I felt this was a high-dollar white take on Queen Latifah's show "Living Single" at first. I think if she had the financial backing that "Sex In the City" enjoyed, that 4 black women and their male interactions was just as exciting to watch if not more. Big Producers. Bigger bucks. However, after I watched "Sex in The City," I realized it really was a woman thing and not a race thing. Curious to know what you think. Ultimately, it was a great show with characters I want to see more of, so that is why I am paying for a movie ticket.
Jennifer Frey: I confess I didn't watch "Living Single" with the devotion I watched Sex, but I did see some episodes. And I, too, think it's a woman thing. There was a similar dynamic in "Waiting to Exhale" and I think we saw that droves of white women went to that film as a chick-bonding experience as well.
N.Y. (no, not that N.Y.): Vicarious much? It would seem that it should bother people that instead of aspiring to and becoming their own ideal selves, they find it easier to live through fictitious characters (and yes, lovable fictitious characters - I like Miranda and Samantha - both are more ambitious and courageous than the others, and, less whiny? Less "permanent girlhood"?).
It just seems to be an empty, pointless exercise. "Average" women going to this movie and then coming home only to lament how their lives aren't like in this movie.
The things that these characters have are achievable - get a good job, keep your finances in good shop, and be selective in your tastes. All of these you can get training and education for. If you disagree, then you haven't been paying attention. Look at the successful women in your community - women who've risen to powerful positions, whose face-to-the-world is admired by others, who have healthy, happy personal lives, who look good regardless of their age - they do exist, if rare. And they don't need a makeup crew, stylists or writers to create their lives. Speaking as a Manolo girl myself.
Jennifer Frey: Hmmm. Pretty harsh. I'm not so sure women watched this show or will go to this movie because they want to *be* these women. It's living vicariously, sure, but living vicariously for that one half-hour a week or that one Saturday night out. And drooling over great shoes and great clothes--all that eye candy--is escapist entertainment, and what's wrong with that? I'm not sure I know any women who would argue they "admire" Samantha or Miranda more than the strong women they see in public. It's apples and oranges.
McLean, Va.: Was there a special showing of the movie anywhere last night?
washingtonpost.com: Here's a report from today's paper about a sneak-peek screening in Friendship Heights yesterday: Dressing the Part: Fans Champion Their Right to Choos (Washington Post, May 29)
Jennifer Frey: Yes. And tonight there are a bunch of theaters, I believe, showing the film at 12:01 a.m.
Jennifer Hudson...Why?: I didn't understand the point of her character, it seemed like it was a last minute thing for the sole purposes of making St. Louis jokes, which is where I am by the way.
Jennifer Frey: Without giving the plot away, I didn't really understand the point of Jennifer Hudson's character either, other than that she's lovely. And to underscore a basic premise of the SATC concept--that there are women everywhere who romanticize NYC and its single, fashion-centric lifestyle.
D.C.: You mentioned that you wished there was more storyline about the other three girls. Which of the minor characters do you wish the movie gave more screen or script time to?
I'm disappointed to hear that Harry is so minor - I really liked his character and watching him interact with Charlotte.
Jennifer Frey: Ann H. gives Samantha credit for scene-stealing, and I wish she just had more screen time. Ditto for Miranda. In the series finale, sure, it was all about whether Carrie would end up with Big or not, but the precursor was an episode that really went pretty deep with Samantha, Miranda, Charlotte and their loves. I loved that episode too. The movie is, as I said, back in Carrie-centric land.
Also, I wanted more of Stanford!
N.Y., N.Y.: Not to be a killjoy but isn't all this flashy fashion we see in the SATC movie just way out of touch? I mean isn't the look a lot more subtle today? Does anyone dress like this anymore?
In these economic times it's outrageous to be proud of wearing shoes that cost $1500. when most people wonder how they can keep food on the table.
washingtonpost.com: Robin Givhan recently interviewed SATC stylist Patricia Field: Sex, the City and Patricia Field (Washington Post, May 25)
Jennifer Frey: I defer to Robin and all her fashion wisdom, but at least for me, a part of it is seeing people who actually WEAR those clothes we see coming down the runway during Fashion Week and in the pages of Vogue. I don't know anyone who wears birds on her head like Carrie does, but, hey, it's fun to see.
And, again, it's about escapism. Maybe Carrie should give up a pair of shoes and work in a soup kitchen. (Or maybe that's Charlotte's role?). But I believe there is always a place for entertainment in our society. It does have its values.
D.C.: There's always so much criticism of how unrealistic the show is about the clothing, shoes, apartments and how - Carrie especially - these women could afford the lifestyle. I'd love to see these social critics pick on the fact that all four women ended up in nice, normal, successful relationships by the end of the show. Now that is impossible in NYC! The dating and mating scene up there is just crazy.
Jennifer Frey: Ha! As someone who was single and living in NYC in my mid-20s, I definitely hear you on that.
Sticking up for females: Why does liking SATC turn off so many people? Why is it an indictment of women? How many men turn into superheroes with special powers and save the world? And yet we get these movies every summer and almost no angst-ridden articles about what this means about the male psyche, the progression of male enlightenment and whether or not it means that males are unhappy with lives or are just shallow or are dim-witted to begin with...you get the idea. Why do women always always always have to defend themselves for every little thing?
Jennifer Frey: Because we're about shoes, and they are about saving the world? No, seriously, I hear your point. A whole lotta movies about blowing things up and driving really fast and smashing down buildings get a free pass when it comes to the analysis of its internal psychological meaning, etc., etc. But SATC became a cultural touchstone, like it or not. Now, if only the armchair analysts would focus on the impact of women's friendships on their interior lives, rather than the secret meaning of their shoes.
D.C.: As a newly single girl, will I be emotionally devastated after seeing this movie, or would it be an appropriate post-breakup chick flick?
I don't want to be SOBBING at the end, and have everyone staring at me like I'm some sort of freak...
Jennifer Frey: I think you'll be okay. SATC has always had a strong component of believing that you can be okay on your own, as long as you have your girls. And that hasn't gone out the window, even if all of them did pair up at the end of the series. And who says that everyone has to wind up paired off at the end of the film? Not telling, just sayin'
D.C.: Have you seen the movie yet? What is your take on it? Do you have any thoughts about how long it took to make the movie -- too much time has passed and the excitement has waned, or not enough time to make the movie more than just a second series finale?
It doesn't seem as if SATC has been off the air for 4 years. Between the constant re-runs and the fact that the shows don't seem all that outdated (yet), I never felt like the show left.
Jennifer Frey: I agree that it actually does NOT feel like four years have passed. I still get the same enthusiastic feedback when I mention the subject that I did when I wrote about the end of the series--and I was shocked to realize how long ago that was. I think the one thing that is a wee bit hurt by the long gap is the Big-Carrie relationship.
Pennsylvania: I just moved across the country and so I can't go see this movie with my friends because I don't really have any in my new town. Sigh...
My husband is very bemused with my attraction to this show. He finds the characters unappealing (both visually and morally) and says they're the most immature group of women he's ever seen. (He's got high standards...) Yet he's always on the couch with me watching the show.
I am unable to explain my own fascination with this show--I've never had any desire to live in New York and dress fashionably or be single and searching for love.
I've come to the conclusion that I admire these women they never apologize for being their true selves. They never say their sorry for wanting what they want--they are almost masculine in that way. My favorite character is Samantha, because she seems to embody this the most, and yet she has a tender, vulnerable side that makes her very poignant.
Sorry for the essay -- I bet a lot of ink has been spilled over this series!
Jennifer Frey: There is something to the fact that these women are unapologetic for being exactly who they are, which is refreshing, IMHO. And Samantha is terrific in that way--which you see again, in spades, in the movie.
Greenbelt, Md.: SATC also starts tomorrow at the Old Greenbelt Theatre in, duh, Greenbelt. And its bargain matinees are very affordable and so are the popcorn and drinks -- best deal in the area.
Jennifer Frey: And some more info for those seeking to avoid the multiplex.
D.C.: I'd say that N.Y., N.Y. has not watched any of the "Real Housewives" shows... Yes, there are people who dress this way and really have the expensive clothes. Yes, there are people who have not been affected by the economic downturn. In fact, some people are seeing their incomes rise! Granted, it's not many, but I don't think that Jimmy Choo, Manolo Blahnik, or Neiman's will be going out of business anytime soon.
Jennifer Frey: True, true. There is quite a gap between the haves and the have-nots, but the last time I stopped in at Mazza Gallerie for a film, Neiman's seemed to be doing plenty of business.
Anonymous: Jennifer :
I remember when Pat Field was known for dressing drag queens! She was the place to go for size 12 heels.
Jennifer Frey: Never underestimate the value of a size 12 heel!
Washington, D.C.: I loved the TV show because it dealt with relationships from the female POV and, really, if those 4 well-bred, well-dressed, sexy, wealthy babes had trouble finding a mate, well, no wonder it was hard for me, too! BUT -- the fact none of them ever has to worry about money is hard to relate to, dontcha think? - And the utter disinterest in any moral component to what their boyfriends or each other do for a living was stunning -- What sort of law was Miranda practicing? Did Big offer mixed-income housing, or throw old folks into the street in order to build luxury buildings where their rent-controlled apartments were?
Or am I just bitter that when I was single in NYC, I didn't know enough to hang out in bars frequented by wealthy doctors and stockbrokers? Or 'cause my bartender b.f. didn't become a bar owner and the actors I dated never became super-stars?
(When Carrie needs $30 thou to buy her apartment, she borrows it from Charlotte via Charlotte's engagement ring, then flies off to Paris for a year without a word about repaying Charlotte, while the Russian offers to pay her mortgage for the whole year.)
Jennifer Frey: The episode where Carrie finds out she's spent her life savings on shoes and can't afford her own apartment is Painful. To. Watch. Which is why, I think, it was a rarity: viewers don't want to see these women worry about money. There's enough time already spent relating to our own bank accounts.
I, however, totally agree that I always wanted to know more about Miranda's job.
SATC souvenir: Am I wrong to covet a nameplate necklace?
washingtonpost.com: My sister just bought one for our soon-to-be-born baby niece!
Jennifer Frey: It depends on the name.
Seriously, what's wrong with that? And it's my understanding they are trendy these days. At least, that's what my 9-year-old tells me.
Capitol Hill, D.C.: do the 2 1/2 hours go by fast? (I'm a fan.)
Jennifer Frey: Fast enough. I would have trimmed down by about 10-15 minutes. Then again, I was watching with a bunch of film reviewers and not with my friends (or even anyone I could whisper to), so that diluted the experience a bit.
Aidan Fan: Does Aidan - John Whatshisname - make an appearance in the movie by any chance? It would be horrible to leave out such an important character if Carrie is to settle down.
Jennifer Frey: Alas, I have no memory of seeing Aidan in the movie. A real cameo appearance would have been fabulous.
Columbia, Md.: Isn't "Living Single" simply an update of "The Facts of Life" with some "In Living Color" flavor?
And isn't "The Facts of Life" an update of "Little Women" for the 80's?
Everything old is new again. It's all been done before.
Jennifer Frey: Ah, but if it's good, why not do it again?
Jennifer Frey: Looks like my time is up. Thanks for all the great questions. Now, go put on your favorite shoes this weekend and have a good time.
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