Consumer orgy

18
Jun
2008

I loved Sex and the City, the HBO series. I have seen every episode a number of times. And while the last few of them managed to piss me off with their annihilation of most of the characters (turning each into their polar opposite), I nevertheless was very much looking forward to seeing the movie.  When the show was at its best it had extremely sharp and funny dialog and explored sex and relationship themes with a candor and nuance unmatched anywhere else. I was looking forward to a recreation of that in the film. Sadly, there was very little to be had of it.

The movie almost completely eschews breaking any new ground, preferring to wallow in the mundane and the trivial. It is suffused with the most over the top consumerism as stand in for just about any real emotion or action. In the most telling and emblematic scene in the movie, Carrie gives her (financially) struggling assistant a Luis Vuitton bag, and as she opens the present and takes it in, a symphonic melody plays in the background. I know that music. We all do. That’s the music they put on when star crossed lovers finally declare their devotion to each other. It is the music they play when they want the audience to well up with sentiment for great sacrifice or puppies. But in this context, that music is obscene. A fucking bag?!! That is what we are supposed to get emotional over? That she just got an expensive piece of consumer crap? Give me a break. And unfortunately, this is the tone of most of the movie. It was as if a group of ad executives from a number of companies got together, circle jerk style, to figure out how they could make a commercial lasting two and one half hours, and actually get people to pay to see it.

There were very few moments in the film that recalled the flair that the original series used to have, and they almost excusively belonged to Samantha. And her story arc was by far the most interesting (at least at the end) as a proud 49 year old woman decides to go it alone. The rest of the movie was at best a cheap romance novel for over privileged housewives, and at worst a disturbing “eat me” from a long list of companies.

Comments

  1. closetalk says:

    o come now, wat’s so wrong abt falling in luv with an LV? I mean, dats de best kind of bag u can let ureself swoon over, right? :) and hey, SATC the series was also FULL of la-la-land consumerism, so wat’s the big deal in dreaming a li’l big, eh? hehehe.. it’s the sign o’ the manhattan times – live vicariously, dream a li’l dream of money and spending, and eat yer popcorn. :) o, and shag the guy sittin next to u. :) all of it, while being totally unapologetic! that’s always been the beauty of SATC.

  2. gabe says:

    I 100% agree. I’m so glad you took this movie to task.

    We went to see it on opening night in NYC. And while I didn’t expect to be moved or intellectually stimulated, the film was – literally – the tackiest thing I’ve ever seen. Most of the 2.5 hours was spent in shock, holding my face, wondering how we’ve come to the point where this kind of schlocky, commercial crap can pass for a film.

    Of course, I did enjoy the running commentary with my friend Jeremy. We were yucking it up as the story shifted to new lows. My favorite part was when Jeremy leaned over to me, midway through the film and said:

    “Oh, it’s not just tacky. It’s racist, too”, in reference – of course – to the Uncle Remus-ish Jennifer Hudson part.

    The one thought-provoking part of the film for me, however, was the way it reflected back the naivete and shallowness of the 90s. It was pretty garish and freaky at the same time. Was I like that? Were my friends? Ouchies.

    -G

  3. peeky says:

    I also thought SATC was basically a movie-length commercial. And the JHud part was racist, but I thought it was more of a concession to critics who always complained about the lack of blacks in SATC, like a going away affirmative action booby prize. It reminds me of the BHO presidential campaign.

  4. troy says:

    What, exactly, did you expect? Social responsibility? Political correctness? Anti-consumerism? I suppose you didn’t like “Showgirls”, either. ;-)

  5. marites says:

    Now you know I love to shop – it can give me comfort, peace, happiness… but labels= love?
    http://blog.stylehive.com/index.php/weblog/entry/satc-style-label-love-for-louis-vuitton/

    $5400 for that Louis Vuitton bag. I think I’ll go puke now…