The Sex And The City series (1998 – 2004) was undoubtedly one of best-written and produced television comedies of its time – and still stands head and shoulders above most others today.

It broke new ground by presenting women as smart, dynamic and sexually driven, but fully rounded, individuals in way that had never been seen on television. Most 30 minute episodes were immaculately crafted, witty and often deeply moving comments on some aspect of life, love and humanity.

Oddly, as a gay man I was able to relate to the female characters and their search for love in the big city. Perhaps it had something to do with the writers on the show being gay men – or perhaps the constant theme that family is not just something shared between blood relatives, but something that can be nurtured between friends.

Whenever I had boy troubles or simply felt miserable an episode of Sex And The City helped me realise that things weren’t so bad after all – there were other people out there feeling the same things as me – and that there was some nobility, and even a little humour, in my idealistic romantic failures.

The show ended in 2004 still on a high, but, in my opinion with not much more left to say. So I never really understood the need to see a feature film version and was secretly relieved that Kim Cattrall initially scuppered that undertaking thanks to her salary demands.

Now, four years later (despite my disapproval) the Sex And The City movie has been launched around the world. It’s here, whether I like it or not. Thankfully, I do indeed like it – but perhaps not enough to believe that it was really necessary.

The film begins largely where we left off, albeit four years down the line: Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker) is still with Mr. Big (Chris Noth) but is now a best-selling book author, Miranda (Cynthia Nixon) is raising her son with Steve (David Eigenberg) in Brooklyn, Charlotte (Kristin Davis) has adopted a child with her hubby and even the sexually voracious Samantha (Kim Cattrall) has settled down in LA with her movie star boyfriend.

Things seem to be well; but we know that won’t last. Soon Carrie will start planning her wedding, Samantha will have doubts about her relationship, Steve will hurt Miranda deeply, and the “reproductively challenged” Charlotte will discover that she is pregnant.

My biggest gripe with the Sex And The City movie is that it struggles to lift itself from its television roots into the big screen movie world. The story is too small without being sufficiently deep and the plot simply seems to condense a season’s worth of episodes into two and a half hours.

In the process, the show’s quirky little half hour vignettes about life are lost without being replaced by more profound and insightful perspectives or story events that truly alter the characters.

The addition of a new character in the form of Carrie’s personal assistant (Jennifer Hudson) is entertaining but really doesn’t serve much purpose and ultimately fails to broaden the magnitude of the film.

The writing, which impressed so much on television, seems a tad lacklustre on this scale – and the film could have been well served with a heighted level of drama and more rapacious wit. The one-liners and the dialogue still crackle, but we’ve seen and heard them all before.

In essence, the film stays much too close to its origins to really make a significant impact on the screen. Without its six year heritage on television few would take much notice of the Sex And The City movie as a stand-alone film.

That said; for fans of the show, that may not be an entirely terrible thing when it comes to simply enjoying the experience. The four leads are as sharp in their performances as ever and are a delight to watch. They’re all a little older than but still thrillingly vivacious and likeable.

Their characters have been carefully and lovingly returned to life and I was charmed throughout the film. The reality is that I care deeply about what happens to Carrie, Samantha, Miranda and Charlotte and, in that regard, the movie delivers. I felt very much like I was meeting up with long lost friends – and the two and half hours spent in their company were memorable.

If Sex And The City the television series meant something to you, go see this film – you’ll be delighted and left smiling. If you didn’t much follow the show or downright despised it (as many – especially heterosexual men – seem to have done) then you’ll find little to excite you. As for me, I got to hang out with favourite my New York gals again. God I’ve missed them!

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