The plan Saturday was to see an early showing of Sex and the City: The Movie, a) because of my love/hate relationship with the series, seeing it that early would mitigate my chance of running into someone I knew, and b) ticket prices on weekends before noon at AMC theaters are half price; so win/win in terms of both my psyche and my wallet. As it turned out, the 11AM screening was sold out and I had to opt for the 12:10PM, meaning I paid full price. Yet! The sound was so shitty during the last ten minutes of the film (for some reason it dropped/bounced between speakers in a way that it was distracting) I ended up complaining to management and getting a free pass to any AMC. Well, that worked out.
Though I was loathe to mention my participation in the opening weekend of the S&TC estrogen apocalypse, at least publicly, I then remembered that given my past indiscretions I’m relatively shame-proof, so here I am blogging about it. The “it” being, ultimately, like consuming empty calories. But not even the fun, oh-what-the-hell kind. More akin to a 3AM Twinkie binge. Which is not to say that there weren’t funny moments in the film. The audience, comprised of straight gals and gay men –let’s not kid ourselves, there was no other demographic– laughed at the genuinely funny bits but seemed as equally bored/stamina-challenged by the sum total.
(Oh, and! A thought: Samantha Jones did not once get to indulge in her hedonistic sexual appetite: The cougar was neutered. One has to wonder if Cattrall’s character was stymied in retaliation for her negotiation tactics. Seriously, in the latter half of the movie she was the brunt of weight-gain jokes and then at one point they wheeled out a 50th birthday cake. Cast bickering or no, think of the fans. The gays and gals want to see Cattrall spread-eagle and orgasmic at least once in a 2 1/2 hour film, right?)
Regardless, it is no secret that the movie is centered on the expectations and realities of marriage. So it was either sheer coincidence, or subconcious manifestation of masochism, that I bookended the day with a Netfix’d viewing of the recent revival of the musical Company. Which is, to the uninitiated, also about marriage. Whoops! Ugh!
Though thirty-eight years apart in the writing, the muddled lives of urban marrieds and singles seems to remain an evergreen subject, when compared. In fact, Company, which revolves around thirty-five year old New York bachelor Bobby, could almost be seen as Mr. Big: The Musical. (And really, shouldn’t S&TC been made into a Broadway musical before a feature film? Given it’s audience demographic, well, the theatuh is more the refuge of gays and ladies than is the cinema during summer blockbuster time!) “Biggie Baby, Biggie Bubbie!”
Tellingly, what unites these works is that the matter of (heterosexual) matrimony is the provenance of two gay authors (Michael Patrick King for S&TC:TM and Stephen Sondheim for Company–granted he didn’t do the book, just music and lyrics. Still! Sensibilities! )
Interestingly, the marital issues espoused by Company still remain relevant and the “Sex” movie is drawing crazy crowds — there was a queue for the next screening when I exited the auditorium. The difference: onstage in the 70’s it was the middle-aged single male that was the subject of concern, now in the cinema of the aughts it’s the 40-year-old single gal. And as both pieces show, marriage is not a panacea to the troubles of single life. Though tellingly, even though dated, the theater piece was content to live in the realm of ambiguity, while once again Hollywood requires a neatly-tied bow. The ladies who lunch versus Carrie and her girlfriends who brunch.
One would be curious to ask Mr. Sondheim his thoughts about the differences in the pieces –seeing as he wasn’t interested in fairy tales until he wrote Into the Woods.