Speed Racer

Starring Sarah Jessica Parke, Chris Noth, Kristen Davis, Cynthia Nixon and Kim Cattrell
Running Time: 145 mins
Rated: Directed by Michael Patrick King. Rated MA 15+ (sex scenes)

This is one of those highly anticipated blockbuster events that is review proof. Since the television series was so popular for five years and won so many awards, it had an enormous following worldwide. And the fans will be lining up for this film and, with its two and a half hour length, they can indulge in nostalgia and enjoyment. For those who have not seen the series and find themselves watching the film, the screenplay does its best to introduce the characters and fill in the background of how they got to this stage of their lives - but some audiences may find it difficult to sustain interest in these characters for such a long time.

The target audience is women and women who are middle-aged and older.

The emphasis is certainly on the city, New York. It is a star in its own right. This is where three of the famous four girls (now forty-something women) live while the fourth lives in (and criticises) Los Angeles.

The emphasis is also on the Sex of the title, but, compared with so many films, this is quite restrained with a few breakout moments to emphasise Samantha's roving eye and appetites. In fact, by the end of the film, traditional values have been affirmed, especially as regards marriage and commitment - which may also help to explain its wide appeal.

Sarah Jessica Parker as writer, Carrie Bradshaw, produced the film and carries the plotline with her voiceover and her own story being at the centre, the other women being supportive of her. She has been with the millionaire Big (Chris Noth looking like - and acting like - a latterday Victor Mature) - for ten years. The question of marriage arises but is waylaid for a time. Charlotte (who is prone to outbursts of laughter, excited squealing and eating only American made products during a trip to Mexico with dire stomach results) is happily married, has adopted a child and is pregnant. She (Kristen Davis) is able to say that she is happy every day. Lawyer Miranda (Cynthia Nixon) is married with a son but experiences betrayal and separation. Her story is the most interesting.

Samantha (Kim Cattrall) is living with what is generally called a hunk - who looks it but actually speaks and acts with more presence and sense than a hunk.

The story is slight as stories go. It is the girl-power in the friendship through thick and thin for so many years that is the core of the film. The other aspect is fashion, and even more fashion - glamorous clothes galore. Somebody remarked that one of the underlying principles of this kind of story is that 'expensive is good' - which will certainly irritate the more social-justice-minded amongst us. Which means that Sex and the City, despite its yearning for love and commitment, is a glossy would-be fantasy-fulfilment of the American dream.

Village Roadshow Out Now

Fr Peter Malone MSC directs the film desk of SIGNIS: the World Association of Catholic Communicators, and is an associate of the Australian Catholic Office for Film & Broadcasting

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