When historians deliver their postmortem on the American film industry, they will undoubtedly puzzle over Hollywood’s recent woman problem. Just last year, the lousy box-office returns of The Brave One and The Invasion prompted the president of production at Warner Brothers to swear off female leads for good. Though such a statement is preposterous on its face, it’s in this context that the theatrical performance of Sex and the City, driven overwhelmingly by women, becomes a talking point for industry analysts eager to suggest that Sex has galvanized a previously untapped audience—this, despite the fact that The Devil Wears Prada, a similarly fashion-driven urban-fantasy confection, took advantage of its appeal to the same under-leveraged demographic two years ago. And it’s not just that women are dropping their twelve bucks to see Sex and the City in droves; if the sold-out crowd I saw it with on its opening night is any indication, at least some of them are getting their money’s worth. This is not to say that Sex and the City is any good (it isn’t), still less that it’s duped unsuspecting women into an unabashed celebration of trash. But Sex and the City delivers some pleasure, nostalgic and otherwise, and I am most struck by the tendency of “smart” critics to simply dismiss it out of hand, rather than considering the appeal of this failed movie. Or to put it another way, the relative quality—or lack thereof—of the Sex and the City movie may be the least interesting thing about it.
Click here to read the rest of Chris Wisniewski’s review of Sex and the City.