Sex and the City & r & & r & by MARYANN JOHANSON & r & & r & & lt;span class= "dropcap " & I & lt;/span & felt like some sort of alien anthropologist watching this movie. I drink with female friends and talk about sex... and yet I don't see myself onscreen here -- or any of the women I know, for that matter. It's not just the ridiculously expensive clothes, either. It's just difficult to imagine Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker) being interested in anything beyond what we see her doing here -- which consists of hanging out with her friends, bitching about men and shopping. Apparently she does little else.

Fans of Sex and the City (the TV show) rave about how it depicts "real" women and "real" concerns. But I don't see a real woman in Carrie Bradshaw: I see a very narrow, very stereotypical idea of what women are. I see a woman who is a caricature of "women," not someone who is a human being first and a woman second, like we all actually are.

It's perfectly plain that Sex and the City (the movie) isn't aimed at someone like me. Fans of the show will likely find it lovely; certainly, there are moments of intense drama that will make far more sense to those who have a previous emotional investment in these characters. I would have preferred it, though, had this Sex movie included something that spoke to those who were not already fans. Nothing like that is here, though that's not necessarily a bad thing: Not every movie has to appeal to everyone. But what remains feels like a season's worth of a TV show crammed into two and a half hours. Yes, two and a half hours. For non-fans, it's torture.

Oh, there were moments that didn't bore me. I like Kim Cattrall's Samantha, because even if she isn't any more "real" than her gal pals, she's at least dramatically interesting, with her more stereotypically male sexual agenda. And I don't hate that Cynthia Nixon's Miranda at least has a life, even if she is horribly unfair to her husband (which the film does acknowledge). Kristin Davis's Charlotte, though, doesn't seem to have anything on the ball that doesn't involve her husband and child. Both of them seem perfectly nice, but how can that possibly be enough for anyone with a brain? And I don't hate that, in the meta-reality, Sarah Jessica Parker has worked her way into quite a powerful position in the entertainment industry -- not just as the star of this enterprise but as a producer of it as well.

But Sex and the City (the movie) is all about Carrie, and whether she'll marry Big (Chris Noth), and all the attendant wedding porn. Not marriage porn: It's not about fantasizing being married to some particular man that you're crazy about. Instead, it's about the wedding itself, the fairy-tale event that every woman is supposed to want, never mind whom a gal is marrying. And, to be fair, the Sex movie doesn't ignore that irony, either. It's just slow to grasp that a woman who is 40 years old might have realized this irony at some point sooner.

Maybe it's a blow for gender equality that women are now allowed to extend adolescence into the years once considered "middle-aged." After all, Carrie's cell phone is covered in pink glitter. (Rated R)

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