What the Manolo is…

Manolo says, it is Tuesday, time to see what the Manolo is…

Reading…

Watching…

Listening to…

The Manolo finally managed to see the Sex and the City movie.

His reaction: In the word, meh.

Although supposedly set in the present day, the movie seemed dated, as if it were the daguerreotype from the previous millennium, quaintly hinting at the outdated customs and obsolete mores of the distant past.

On the one of the hands, Carrie and her pals were sweeter and more vulnerable, more desperately romantic, than we have ever before seen them (although less funny). They were also more likable than ever, except for Cynthia Nixon, who should be dropped down the long mine shaft and left there until she realizes how truly blessed her cinematic life (with its great job, wonderful child, and good-looking if drippy man) is.

The girls were also, despite the smutty talk and Kim Cantrell’s absurdly sexualized character, entirely monogamous in their relationships, which was something of the relief to the old man Manolo, who believes that intense monogamous love between two peoples is perhaps the greatest of the Almighty’s gifts.

Yet, while there were good things, on the other of the hands, the movie dragged on interminably, piling up senseless subplots and meaningless details. Yawn.

Worse, the movie’s attempts at bringing the romantic longings of the characters (and the audience) to fruition were misguided and inadequate. Shaped as the semi-conventional romantic comedy, Sex and the City contained little that could be considered romantic.

Take for the example, Mr. Big, held up by the movie as the choicest piece of man meat to ever tread the earth, with his dyed hair, droopy jowls, shaped eyebrows, and his indecisive, dreary, somnambulantly sulky ways. At least he was rich, moderately available, tall, and rich (did the Manolo mention that he was rich? It was very important in this movie, the richiosity of Mr. Big, because it means he was able to buy Park Avenue apartments and fill their commodious closets with swag.)

Query: What is less romantic than the vacillating, indecisive, weakly lover?

Answer: The movie that confuses wealth for romantic desirability.

Oh, how the Manolo wishes he could have swapped Chris Noth for Tom Selleck!

Tom Selleck: charming, virile, decisive, funny, cheerful, and at 63, still the hunkiest man in Hollywood!

Chris Noth in Sex and the City: drippy!

But, you must play the hand you were dealt, and Mr. Big is apparently the only man who would have Carrie Bradshaw, looking, as she does, ever more like Miss Havisham…

Ayyyyy!

I saw that the bride within the bridal dress had withered like the dress, and like the flowers, and had no brightness left but the brightness of her sunken eyes. I saw that the dress had been put upon the rounded figure of a young woman, and that the figure upon which it now hung loose, had shrunk to skin and bone. Once, I had been taken to see some ghastly waxwork at the Fair, representing I know not what impossible personage lying in state. Once, I had been taken to one of our old marsh churches to see a skeleton in the ashes of a rich dress, that had been dug out of a vault under the church pavement. Now waxwork and skeleton seemed to have dark eyes that moved and looked at me. I should have cried out, if I could.

~Charles Dickens, Great Expectations.

And frankly this is another of the problems of the movie. attempting to sell us lean mutton as plump lamb.

This is not to say that romantic comedies that feature middle aged persons cannot be good, and satisfying, and funny, only that Carrie wanted to play the part of the virginal ingenue, rather than the mature woman with the frightening romantic history. The potential for humor and romanticism was undermined by this insistence.

But, the Manolo is confident that the actor of Tom Selleck’s caliber could have convinced even the most skeptical, disbelieving audience that Sarah Jessica Parker is the hotty, could have convinced us that she is the suitable lead for the romantic comedy.

Ultimately, for the Manolo, the only romantic scene in the entire movie was the wedding at the courthouse, with Carrie in the demure suit, and Mr. Big finally wakened from his movie-long slumber. But, if Sex and the City were truly romantic, that would have happened in the first act of the fifteen minute long, single reel film, which would be followed by the feature length Tom and Jerry cartoon.

20 Responses to “What the Manolo is…”

  1. qc September 16, 2008 at 3:57 pm #

    I’ll take Tom and Jerry over Carrie any day of the week. That crazy cat and mouse.

  2. The Charlotte Allen September 16, 2008 at 3:59 pm #

    Yes–Miss Havisham! The Manolo has summed up the Sex and the City movie exactly! But don’t forget the length, the interminable two and a half hours.

    I did sort of like it, though, when Carrie slugged Mr. Big with her wedding bouquet. Served him right for even thinking about deserting her a the altar. Why, then, didn’t he just pull her into his limo saying, “Hey, girl–that’s the spirit! Now let’s ditch that overblown celebration you planned and go get hitched in a real wedding!” Instead of acting like a man, that is, decisively, with the woman he loved, he wimped around with soppy e-mails for another hour and a half of movie time. E-mails! Tom Selleck (great choice, Manolo!) would have shown up on Carrie’s doorstep with 100 roses and air tickets to a chapel in Vegas.

  3. Evie September 16, 2008 at 4:11 pm #

    Manolo, you have managed to completely articulate everything that was sloshing around in my brain when I decided that I didn’t quite like the movie, but wasn’t sure exactly why. I would add only one complaint: the pandering, mind-numbing montages of “fashion.” If I wanted Vogue (and Modern Bride) in cinematic form, I would have asked for it.

  4. Melissa B. September 16, 2008 at 4:44 pm #

    The movie seemed completely delusional about Carrie in that dress — Samantha crying, the designer donating it because it was “destined for her,” etc. How could no one have noticed that SJP had nothing up top to fill out those giant boob cups?

  5. frumpiefox September 16, 2008 at 5:05 pm #

    Lovely review! It brightened my day to think of Tom Selleck as Mr. Big.

  6. MD September 16, 2008 at 5:12 pm #

    I liked the first few seasons of Sex and the City, when it was still wry, Gen X-ish, with solid 90s colored tops worn with black pants and chunky shoes, and kind of understood that all the characters should be taken with a grain of salt. Then, it morphed into the first decade of the New Millineum bright colors and pointy-toed shoes shopping show and it got, well, weird. Don’t plan on seeing the movie unless it happens to be on television sometime, somewhere, somehow, someday…..

  7. La BellaDonna September 16, 2008 at 5:13 pm #

    Oh, the fabulous Tom Selleck! The Manolo has picked out one of the most charming and appealing of actors, and he could indeed rescue the romantic movie in need of romance. La BellaDonna, she always watches The Shadow Riders when it appears on the small screen, because the Tom Selleck and the Sam Elliott in the one movie? Really, there is very little else one could ask for. *sigh* And the Silver Foxes, they get the foxier, the more silver they are.

    La BellaDonna, she is saddened by the emphasis on the many dollars of the Mr. Big; not because the many dollars are inherently bad – indeed, they are the element of the fairy-tale, because with the many dollars comes freedom – freedom from the fear of want, of homelessness, of disaster lurking around the corner. And for the ladies, alas, it is the freedom from the fear of getting old. The “mutton disguised as lamb”, she draws contempt, but underlying that is the fear – the fear that it is indeed youth which draws men to women, and once that is gone … then what? Then the fear. It is the double-edged blade; women are expected to maintain their youth, and to dress “young” – but not too young, for therein lies the path to the mutton-dressed-as-lamb. And so the fear, it is warded off by the sneers and the quips of the ladies who are afraid that one day, they may find themselves in that position.

    And Miss Parker, who is supposed to be a clothes-horse in this movie, whose dress is she wearing? It is surely not one that was supposed to be made for her. La BellaDonna has not seen the movie yet; the dress, it is part of the plot, yes? A last-minute substitute? Because the shape of the bodice of the gown has virtually nothing to do with the shape of Miss Parker; there is room in the bodice for a medium-sized tomcat to sleep comfortably curled up in each cup while Miss Parker, she is wearing the gown.

    La BellaDonna, she would very happy to see the romantic comedy with the middle-aged actors and actresses; it would be very gratifying if Hollywood would permit love to come to those over thirty – especially women over thirty. There is nothing inherently wrong with being an ingenue – but there is nothing inherently wrong with being over forty, either. The two do not mix well, however. Compare the Sara Jessica Parker, who is over forty, struggling to play the ingenue, with the glorious Helen Mirren, who is allowed to play the role of the adult woman! How much more appealing is the woman who is not afraid of being no longer the fluttering ingenue.

    Perhaps it is time for a remake of the Love Among The Ruins with Tom Selleck and Helen Mirren. No one could replace the original cast (with Katherine Hepburn and Laurence Olivier playing the leads, how could they?), but a lively and charming reinterpretation could be vastly enjoyable in its own right.

  8. JK September 16, 2008 at 6:23 pm #

    Yes, the thing that bugged me the most about SATC was that Mr. Big was supposed to be so great. I wasn’t that impressed with Carrie’s personality so I guess for someone like her he would be The One, but selling him as worth all sorts of indignities (cheating, for one) to women is ridiculous. And sadly, I know quite a few people who have bought into it.

  9. Annalucia September 16, 2008 at 7:53 pm #

    `La BellaDonna, she would very happy to see the romantic comedy with the middle-aged actors and actresses; it would be very gratifying if Hollywood would permit love to come to those over thirty…´

    Hear, hear!

    What the Annalucia dreams of is the intelligent remake of those Lord Peter Wimsey mysteries which feature Miss Harriet Vane. Yes, the Harriet Walter and the Edward Petherbridge did a good enough job, but that was twenty years ago, and the Annalucia would love it if someone would extend the series to include `Busmans Honeymoon.´ Remembering always of course that Peter is 45 at the time of the marriage, and Harriet is 33.

    As for Sex and the City, the Annalucia has seen neither the television show nor the movie, but found the Manolos review to be most entertaining and informative. And the dress….ayyyy….obviously designed for the hardy young woman of Mediterranean ancestry with the figure of the Neolithic goddess…and utterly, disastrously wrong for Miss Parker.

  10. queenofalot1 September 16, 2008 at 9:07 pm #

    In a word: harsh. :( I enjoyed it.

  11. Alison September 16, 2008 at 9:16 pm #

    I enjoyed the movie, but I suspect it has to do with the second part of the title of the Dickens work so aptly quoted by the Manolo: expectations. I expected very little, because it had been hyped so much, and so it was that I found myself pleasantly surprised. On the whole, I find the Manolo to be accurate in many of his observations. However, I liked the movie for reasons that have nothing to do with witticism of the word or capability of intellect.

  12. Poochie September 16, 2008 at 10:39 pm #

    I got more picky than you, Manolo, but agree with what you said

    http://shoedaydreams.blogspot.com/2008/07/one-more-satc-movie-commentary-like-we.html

    I found it very choppy and, for one who likes the fashion, found the money/label focus overwhelming.

    Poochie

  13. Lenya September 16, 2008 at 10:41 pm #

    I think this reveiw is very one-sided and harsh. While I loved the movie, I can see how some people would be dissappointed in the characters. But Manolo as a supposed lover of shoes (I question this because of some of your posts, but nevermind) and fashion, the movie was a veritable treasure of clothes and shoes. Everything from the Dior Extreme to the fabulous Proenza coat and everything in between was FABULOUS. I do realise this is your blog and your entitled to your opinion, but I must point out that the post was very very harsh.

  14. Cambiata September 16, 2008 at 11:58 pm #

    How much do you want to bet the wedding dress was selected by Sarah Jessica Parker herself? I read an article suggesting that the black dress worn by one of the other ladies at the wedding (sorry, I don’t know these characters… whichever one of the four wore a black dress) was among one of the styles chosen for the wedding dress. And having seen that dress, I think it’s gorgeous and would have looked fantastic on SJP. However, the Vivienne Westwood was selected as being “the quintessential princess dress.” Ugh.

  15. La BellaDonna September 17, 2008 at 8:14 pm #

    Hola to the Cambiata! La BellaDonna, she does not mind the dress itself (what she has seen of it, at least); nor does she mind the work of the Vivienne Westwood, which has often had the spirit of fun and the unusual, unexpected spark of beauty. Nor, if the truth be told, does La BellaDonna object to the quintessential princess dress, having made one of her own (a nicer one!) for her own wedding. It is merely that it looks as if this one were grabbed off the rack, and nobody bothered to observe that the size, it was in the double-digits, and Miss Parker, she wears the single-digit size. It is a curious and puzzling problem; it would have been possible to temporarily alter it so that it fit, yet could be worn again by the woman with … who actually fit into it. It appears even to lack that popular expedient in the 50s, the Toilet Paper Stuffing, to keep the cups from crumpling. It is just a large dress, collapsing on and sliding down on a small lady.

  16. Lenya September 17, 2008 at 10:55 pm #

    Ladies the dress actually was chosen because it symbolizes how big and out of control the wedding became. Pat Fields and Michael Patrick King chose the dress to coincide with the story line. Ladies aren’t we getting off track. This is supposed to be a blog about shoes.

  17. Debutaunt September 23, 2008 at 10:26 am #

    I liked the series, and I love fashion, but it just was over the top in the movie. I also like Mr. Big when he was a bit more craggy looking.

    Now the wedding dress. Ill-fitted, yet pretty, but I just couldn’t get past the feathered veil. It just looked ridiculous. I just wanted someone to yank it off her head and then hand her a sammich.

  18. misscherrysez September 24, 2008 at 2:09 pm #

    Here’s the thing about the “dyed hair, droopy jowls, shaped eyebrows, and his indecisive, dreary, somnambulantly (hellooo dictionary.com) sulky” Mr. Big:
    If he were cast as Tom Selek, who is all that you say and more, then Carrie’s life would seem toooo perfect! Not to mention, as beautiful as Ms. Parker is, she is not without physical imperfections either – just ask Maxim magazine. This show already pushes it with exaggerated fantasticalness. Smatterings of flaw, in physical appearance and character, is how we all allow ourselves to accept Carrie’s world as feasable.

    Also, one has to ask, if the object of Carrie’s affections were as sexy as the obviously sexy Mr. Selek, would we be able, as an audience, to fullly embrace the emotional relationship the characters share, or would we always be distracted by how their relationship looks? Would we be tempted to let Mr. Big completely trample the heart of our heroine because, on the surface, he was simply too extraordinary a package to let go?

    Chris Noth was INTRIGUING! You couldn’t really assume anything about him by looking at him, other than he was a handsome, successful, business man. Those qualities, in and of themselves, do not an irresistable man make. And that’s what Big was for Carrie – irresistable. Noth’s Big was full of surprises, good and bad. We accepted him as vulnerable, because we didn’t have any preconceived notions of perfection.

    Despite the truth that SATC may have been too imperfect to satisfy our deepest fantasies of romantic perfection, in the end Carrie and Mr. Big were imperfectly-perfect for one another. And if despite my efforts to persuade you otherwise, you remain staid in your conviction that Chris Noth was not the best choice for Mr. Big, well then at least you still have the Manolos.

  19. misscherrysez September 24, 2008 at 5:15 pm #

    Oh the boob cups…who else would have filled out that dress other than maybe Jane Russell or Marilyn Monroe? Maybe Anna Nicole Smith? I dont think ms. westwood intended for them to be compleletly filled out, but instead to provide some balance to the proportions of the dress. Because the SJP is certainly not lacking in the boobage department. The rest of her frame is super slight, which probably doesnt help matters, but not the boobs.

  20. Suzainur KAR April 14, 2010 at 10:44 pm #

    OMG, Ms Havisham! LOL!

    Fantabulous comparison, dear Manolo. Your review voiced everything I felt about the movie without my having to work for it. Glad to know I am not the only one wanting to deep six Cynthia Nixon’s character.

    *grin*