Last night as I was sitting in the back row of the River East Theater in Chicago, surrounded by stiletto-clad women clutching hot-pink gift bags, breathlessly spouting terms like "Jimmy Choo" and "tartini," I couldn't help but wonder: Is it possible to die of suffocation by estrogen?
Never mind the fact that I've worn the same pair of Converse sneakers day in and day out for the past four years, and wouldn't know a Galliano from a LaCroix if it were wrapped around my neck and strangling me–as a twentysomething, single woman living in the city (a kinda-journalist, no less), I was presumably the A.V. Clubber with the highest tolerance for the new Sex And The City movie, which is why I was asked to attend the Chicago screening and review it. This was actually totally fine by me; sure, I have some beefs with the show–mainly its wonky brand of feminism and the reduction of its main players to one-dimensional archetypes–but that doesn't mean I'm immune to its candy-coated, double-entendre-laden luster. I knew the characters and their stories as well as any of the squealing women who surrounded me at last night's Chicago premiere… but that didn't preclude me from silently judging them and the spectacle in which I had somehow found myself.
I arrived at the theater 10 minutes before the posted start time of 7:30, bracing myself for the movie's nearly two-and-a-half-hour runtime. Bypassing a long line of the aforementioned gift-bag-toting women, I got my press stamp and followed the incessant sound of that tinkly, horn-laced theme music–which was playing on an endless, not-at-all-annoying loop–to find a half-full theater staring at a pink (of course) countdown clock projected on the screen. A couple of short, behind-the-scenes-ish featurettes later–an "Isn't New York City amazing?" montage and a "Fans In The City" feature, in which a woman, I swear to God, uttered the phrase, "I became a journalism major in college because Carrie was a journalism major"–I wondered why the majority of the audience members (mostly contest winners) were still being held outside. As that infernal clock–did I mention it was pink?–ticked down to zero, I got my answer. You see, this was not a countdown to the movie, oh no; we were merely counting down to the pre¬-movie festivities, i.e. a live-via-satellite red-carpet (actually pink-carpet) debacle hosted by this man:
Considering I had seen photos of Sarah Jessica Parker arriving at the premiere in my newsfeed prior to leaving for the theater, I found the "live via satellite" claim a little dubious, but not nearly as dubious as Steve Cojocaru's proclamation to an obvious embarrassed Parker that the movie was better than The Godfather and Citizen Kane combined. Nor his proclamation that Fergie (who sings the movie's theme song) looked like an angel.
As I cowered under the puffy visage of Coju, the rest of the audience streamed into the theater, corralled by a loud, sassy promoter-type wearing a man-bag. Gradually, my horror over the fact that I would have to sit through a half-hour of hearing the word "fabulous" parroted back and forth subsided, and I allowed myself to be lulled into a sparkly pink stupor. The seats around me soon filled in with excited women who audibly oohed and ahhed over the stars' designer shoes and squealed when Chris Noth–a.k.a. Mr. Big–climbed out of a limo. It was about this point when my ovaries exploded and my brain turned to glitter. Which is precisely the state in which one should go into the Sex And The City movie: coursing with estrogen and enamored of pretty, shiny things.
It really doesn't matter if the movie is good or not (though I'll attempt to address that in my review later this week); before it even began, the Sex And The City movie was exactly what mourning fans of the departed show wanted, namely, more Sex And The City. And as ridiculous and garish and goddamned pink as the festivities surrounding this satellite premiere party were, they provided a happy wallow in the shallow end of femininity, something that even the most cynical, non-girly types can enjoy if they allow themselves to. Is it enough to make up for the fact that everything around me has a faint pink cast to it today due to overexposure to fuchsia last night, or that I awoke this morning STILL humming that damn theme music? Maybe not, but hey, a little frivolity never hurt anyone–as long as you're still capable of writing a properly jaded blog post about it the next day.