I know what you’re thinking. This film is a glittering, irreverent Odyssey of fashion pornography. And you’re not far off. What you may not have anticipated is the insistence with which this sparkly saga states its case. Everything about this movie is bathed in its own conviction that gratuitous opulence is the new modesty. For a start, it’s two and a half hours long. Coincidentally, the psychological effects of repetition see the breakdown of alertness and resistance in an audience after the seventy-minute mark.
I saw this film with my best female friend and on our way out of the cinema we passed through a shopping mall to get to the car park, at which point I found myself clinging to two crisp store bags, shoes inside (In my defence, there is a brilliant late-career cameo from Lisa Minelli, gyrating and belting out Beyonce’s ‘All The Single Ladies’, and my shoes were inspired by hers). This persuasiveness when it comes to fashion and expense is, however, familiar to the TV series, and frankly, is the easiest part of the film for the production team to be insistent about. Buying things is not a specialized career path. Continuing the relatively youthful dialogue on the identity of the 21st Century western female, however, definitely requires a special touch.
This latest instalment of the S&TC franchise continues to wax lyrical on women’s issues ranging from banal to touchy to explicit. The difficulties of marriage and child-rearing are both raised early on, but the film seems to suggest that nannies and copious resort-grade ‘me time’ (i.e. money) are the answers. There has however been an attempt in this film to carry the message a little further. The vast second act of this film takes place in Abu Dhabi, in which the approach is blanket superficiality to the depiction of local culture.
To say that this film is attempting to make some kind of comment on the plight of women in Islamic countries isn’t quite correct. Rather, the point seems to be the universality and penetration of American culture and fashion. Perhaps this is the true dream of the thirty-something designer-disciple female New Yorker – that even when they leave the city, or the US, they never, ever really leave. The opulent daze blinds them from all that lies beyond their infinitely complex loves lives and generous shoe and martini budgets.
Perhaps the most prudent question to ask is ‘did anybody go to this film who didn’t already know the score?’ I think very few. What amazes me about the ongoing story of Carrie, Big and The Girls, is that no amount of luxury, 5 star sets, clothes, props and cameos, could never, ever, possibly, make an intelligent female tell you that they saw this film without the disclaimer that ‘it’s a guilty pleasure’ or ‘I just saw it for the clothes’. When it comes to money, it seems that which what is premium, is inherently mediocre. 4.5