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By Pete Vonder Haar | June 1, 2008

The TV series “Sex and the City” ran for six seasons on HBO. Created by entertainment visionary Darren “Melrose Place” Star, the program followed four materialistic yentas as they pursued overpriced couture and c**k through a New York City wonderfully free of crime and poor people. It was quite popular with otherwise sane women, who could apparently relate to buying $400 shoes and letting every man with a pulse and a Gold Card into their pants.

“Sex and the City” – the movie – picks up four years after the end of the show’s run, though not much has changed. Author Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker) is still with on-again/off-again beau “Mr. Big” (Chris Noth), lawyer Miranda (Cynthia Nixon) is still married to Steve, housewife Charlotte (Kristin Davis) is still married to Harry and still the adopted mother of Lily, and PR exec Samantha (Kim Cattrall) is still managing the career of actor/lover Smith and living in Los Angeles.

Writer/director Michael Patrick King delivers what fans have surely been slavering for these long years. All four principals enjoy a fair amount of screen time to deal with the… crises each of them face, though impending nuptials between Carrie and Big obviously take center stage. The women I was forced to take to the preview screening under pain of evisceration accompanied to the film were of the opinion that the movie was a bit tame compared to the TV show, however. Other than that, they genuinely seemed to enjoy it.

In case I didn’t make it clear, I was never what you could call a fan. But my complaints with it had less to do with the characters’ promiscuity than with their unrelenting and unapologetic shallowness. Conversations in the series could be broken down into two parts: generalized discussion of weighty topics like fashion and food, and why every man in their lives (and, by inference, in existence) is either a lying, cheating scumbag or emotionally unavailable. You wouldn’t spend valuable real-life time hanging out with self-absorbed idiots like this, so why on Earth would you watch a TV show (or a movie) about them?

The real problem is that “Sex and the City” is, except for a few laughs, mostly just irritating. Carrie’s biggest problem early on is how to reconcile her independent womanhood with “Big” buying a million dollar penthouse for the two of them to live in. Charlotte’s greatest lament is that her life is “too perfect,” and while she and Miranda are both parents, their respective kids serve little purpose aside from providing a youthful juxtaposition to the aging women that surround them. I suppose one should give King credit for finally introducing a semi-significant non-Caucasian character (Jennifer Hudson as Carrie’s assistant Louise), though her inclusion serves no purpose other than to highlight the whiteness of the circles Carrie and company travel in.

And it’s long: almost 2-1/2 hours, which is more wardrobe changing montages, wedding day histrionics, and making mountains out of molehills than anyone, fan or not, should have to put up with.

The only thing I can say about “Sex and the City” is that it’ll deliver precisely what you expect. Those of you gleefully anticipating plenty of designer outfits, occasionally saucy dialogue, and happy resolutions won’t be disappointed. And neither will anyone sharpening their knives to cut into another installment of these privileged hags frantically trying to give meaning to their petty, grasping existence. Because beauty, like “SatC,” is in the eye of the beholder.

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