Sunday, September 28, 2008

DVD: Sex and the City - The Movie

• Can 'Sex' last too long?

Genre: Comedy, TV/book adaptation
Run time: 2 hrs 25 mins (!)

Director: Michael Patrick King

Cast: Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, Kristin Davis, Cynthia Nixon


The Sex and the City movie explores a most probing question: Can sex last too long? Turns out that, as much as I enjoyed catching SATC for the first time in reruns on TBS, the movie felt about as fun as going to church. All the necessary elements are there, but with a run time befitting heavier fare, the first big screen foray for these NYC ladies seems never-ending and a bit self-indulgent; perhaps it needs that half-hour sitcom structure to keep its comedy and drama sharp and taut. The plot finds Mr. Big doing exactly the kind of dithering you'd expect as his wedding date with Carrie Bradshaw looms, while Miranda gets the real downer subplot as Steve screws up. Samantha, as always, is funniest in her lively sexcapades, such as when she covers her body with sushi, although her relationship will also reach a turning point (get out the tissues, ladies). Ultimately, I just wanted them to get on with it all. The movie feels a good hour too long; the universal appeal of SATC has been neutered into a treacly chick flick. // DVD NOTES // You'd expect some deleted scenes or outtakes, but a director's commentary and trailer are all you get.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Preview, review: The Ex List & Gary Unmarried

The Ex List (Fridays, 9e / 8c, debuts Oct. 3)
The premise of this new Ghost Whisperer neighbor feels more like a movie idea than a network program: Bella Bloom visits a psychic who informs her that she has already met the perfect mate, which sends her mind reeling to all the men who have come and gone before. Each, presumably, will fill an hour-long episode. In the premiere, it's a geeky warbler whom Bloom dumped rather unceremoniously years ago. Now on a mission to find her soul mate, Bloom first looks up that former paramour, only to find that he's transformed into a studly rocker. Will he get over Bloom's cold dis of yore and give love another shot? Their tango proves surprisingly entertaining. As a partner to the mom-friendly (that is, not very good) Ghost Whisperer, the show aspires to a sort of sexy dramedy feel, surrounding Bloom with an assortment of young hotties getting up to silliness like shaving their privates, and it nails both fairly effectively in the first outing. Premiere episode: &&&

Gary Unmarried (Wednesday, 8:30e / 7:30c, debuted tonight)
Former SNLer Jay Mohr anchors Old Christine's timeslot partner in CBS' bid to launch a Wednesday comedy block. He acquits himself well in the premiere of this new sitcom, which is competent if not particularly distinguishing in a first episode that finds the recently divorced Gary (Mohr) sparring with his ex, Allison (Paula Marshall), over issues such as whether teenage son Tom (Ryan Malgarini) is being appropriately supervised while he has a young female visitor in his room. Meanwhile, Ed Begley Jr. is trotted out as the couple's marriage counselor and Allison's inappropriate new love interest. It's pleasant enough in its debut, but it may need more than the lovely Christine's uncertain ratings coattails to hang around. Premiere episode: &&&

Pictured: Gary Unmarried's Mohr and Marshall / CBS

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Preview: CBS' Worst Week isn't the worst premiere of the new season

Worst Week (Monday, Sept. 22, 9:30e / 8:30c)

CBS rather undersold this new Monday night sitcom with those commercials showing Sam Briggs (Kyle Bornheimer) standing on a doorstep in what looks to be a big ol' diaper with a dorkified look on his face. Based on that, I had dismissed it as a likely asinine sitcom and an unworthy successor to the previous occupant of this time slot, the excellent New Adventures of Old Christine, which has been unceremoniously bounced to Wednesday night's new comedy hour. But the premiere episode is really a cleverly crafted exercise in misfortune and misunderstanding endlessly piled one upon another as Briggs tries in vain to impress the parents of his knocked-up girlfriend, Melanie (Erinn Hayes). Clever, even if urine does figure into the episode. Who knows if the show can sustain the momentum of the first episode, but the cast is a hoot, thanks largely to Kurtwood Smith, the stern and disapproving father from That '70s Show, hamming it up as Melanie's — you guessed it — stern and disapproving father. The gentler condescension of My Name Is Earl's Nancy Lenehan as Melanie's mother, Angela, is equally hilarious. Premiere episode: &&&1/2