Sex And The City
"Just what the world needs. Two-and-a-half hours of hideously unlikable women talking about the only three topics that interest them - clothes, men and themselves. It's a mean-spirited, navel-gazing, boring, witless, miserable, repetitive, profoundly depressing indictment of contemporary culture. It is - and has always been - a viciously misogynistic portrayal of narcissistic women who don't exist in the real world" - Nyder O'Leary, via email
"A consumerist piece of TV bilge that is badly-constructed and badly put-together... it's baggy, it's way too long, it's ill-disciplined, it's woodenly-directed, it's morally bankrupt and vacuous. It is a film which spends its entire running time shoving handbags down your throat" - Mark Kermode, BBC Radio 5live
"It is a funny film, and there are funny things in it" - Andrew Collins, BBC Radio 5live
Mark Kermode was actually absent on the week Sex And The City was released, and so the job of reviewing it fell to Andrew Collins, alongside Simon Mayo's stand-in for the week, Phil Williams. Andrew liked it, awarding it 3/5 stars and describing it as like watching four episodes of the TV series back to back. He was particularly taken with the discussion about waxing. He also pointed out that the reason the movie had taken so long to come to fruition was because the four lead actors had been so demanding over their fees - the film cost $65m and all of it seemed to have gone on its stars - and in a world in which male actors were able to command far higher sums than their female counterparts, this was a good thing.
A week later, Mark was back and Sex And The City was number one in the Box Office Top 10. This did not please the Good Doctor, who had already ranted about it on The Culture Show. Nor did an email from listener John Thacker, whose girlfriend Vicky had seen the film and liked it - not only that, but had argued that those who had slated it were sexist for not appreciating that here was a movie in which women over 40 were shown talking to each other about their lives. This prompted a further Kermodian rant that took in consumerism, 1940s melodrama and the portrayal of God in the works of Cecil B DeMille.
Mark also quoted Goldie Hawn's line in The First Wives Club about the three ages of women in movies - "secretary, mistress and Driving Miss Daisy."
A week later, one email was summarised by Simon as asking, "are there any men who like Sex And The City?" Mark replied that "yes there are, because there are stupid people in the world." Which didn't say much for Andrew Collins. Mark added, "it's not a gender issue, it's not a sexual orientation issue - it's a dumb or clever issue. If you're intelligent, you think Sex And The City is rubbish." This then led to a renewal of listeners submitting their qualifications, a meme that had begun with March Of The Penguins back in 2005 and continues to this day.
Mark begged listeners not to make Sex And The City a hit, because otherwise there would be another one. But they did. So there is.