Anyone who has an opinion about Sex And The City, positive or negative, is unlikely to be swayed in a different direction by the TV series' big-screen adaptation. Those who approach it as a mere curiosity may be charmed by what's essentially a you-go-girl romantic comedy with a high-octane wardrobe and a few explicit sex scenes, but they're unlikely to convert to the cult of Carrie Bradshaw. Michael Patrick King, the driving creative force behind the series and film, has fashioned a movie tailored specifically for fans; while it serves as a capable and enjoyable continuation of the departed HBO favorite, beyond a supercharged production budget (the wardrobe alone could probably finance a handful of indies), it makes little effort to move beyond its small-screen milieu.
The movie picks up three years after the series ended, catching up any latecomers via clips from the series and that familiar voiceover. Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker), Miranda (Cynthia Nixon), Charlotte (Kristin Davis), and Samantha (Kim Cattrall) are all blissfully attached and fashionably attired. Things soon go rotten for Carrie and the commitment-challenged Mr. Big (Chris Noth), and her downward spiral and eventual resuscitation provide the movie's central thread. Though the conflicts facing her three friends are slightly more interesting—infidelity, infertility, and sexual temptation—they're overshadowed by Carrie's incessant navel-gazing. Over the course of nearly two and a half hours, the three supporting players—plus endearing, though overly earnest, Jennifer Hudson in the new role of Carrie's assistant—meander in and out, often dropping from sight for long periods, then suddenly reappearing to provide a convenient plot point or punny quip. Longtime viewers of the television series are likely to be familiar and comfortable with this format, but it feels unwieldy and mismanaged at five times normal SATC episode length, particularly when Nixon's story tearily wraps up a solid half-hour before the movie ends.
In the end, the film functions more as a super-sized television episode than a fully fleshed-out movie, but it succeeds in ratcheting up all the series' best defining features. Excursions to Mexico, L.A., and New York Fashion Week inject some novelty into the old formula. The movie balances sentimentality with good-natured humor, has almost unbearably snappy dialogue, and is just plain fun to look at. It lacks craft and nuance, but ultimately, Sex And The City serves as a glitter-laced love letter to its fans, which is really all it needs to be.