Friday, June 13, 2008

Scary Sadshaw

I was out of the country for the Sex and the City movie's grand summer-in-the-city opening, but I read Manohla Dargis's review ("All is right in this carefree world until Big casually asks Carrie if she would like to get married, a question that leads to the usual luncheon postmortem (oh my gawd, he proposed) and then the usual rom-com clothing montage and a staggering number of product placements (Louis Vuitton co-stars.)") from the other side of the globe with much amusement and a twang of homesickness. Now that I'm back, I still haven't seen the movie, and today I decided I probably won't, just because I don't think it will make me laugh harder than Anthony Lane's review -- which I finally got around to reading -- did. In the past I've suspected that Anthony Lane is a bit sexist (turns out I'm not alone in this opinion). The thing is, he's also hilarious. (Lane introducing Carrie and her pals: "there are four of them—banded together, like hormonal hobbits, and all obsessed with a ring"). The start of his review below:

Secrecy has clouded “Sex and the City” since it was first announced. When would the film appear? Who would find a husband? Would one of the main characters die? If so, would she commit suicide by self-pity (a constant threat), or would a crocodile escape from the Bronx Zoo and wreak a flesh-ripping revenge for all those handbags? As the release date neared, the paranoia thickened; at the screening I attended, we were asked not only to surrender our cell phones but to march through a beeping security gate, as if boarding a plane to Tel Aviv. There was even a full-body pat-down, by far the biggest turn-on of the night. Not a drop of the forthcoming plot had been leaked in advance, but I took a wild guess. “Apparently,” I said to the woman behind me in line, “some of the girls have problems with their men, break up for a while, and then get back together again.” “Oh, my God!” she cried. “How do you know?”

Additional thoughts: As I was pulling up the links for this post, I discovered that while I was away, the ostensible misogyny of this particular review generated quite a bit of discussion, neatly summarized here in New York magazine. But in this case, I'm inclined to agree with the commenter who writes, "Lane's review is so far from being sexist that it actually supports feminism." Rereading the review, I kind of got the feeling that Lane, in his weird way, actually had my back. After all, he concludes:

... there is a deep sadness in the sight of Carrie and friends defining themselves not as Bette Davis, Anne Baxter, Celeste Holm, and Thelma Ritter did—by their talents, their hats, and the swordplay of their wits—but purely by their ability to snare and keep a man. Believe me, ladies, we’re not worth it.

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