Mr. Movie

'Sex and the City' will please its fans

Though I never watched Sex in the City, I know quite a bit about the series.

For those who don't know much, the show has four total babes in designer clothes with nonstop relationship predicaments. They spent a half-hour a week on a boob tube cable channel baring their souls and various other body parts.

The best scenes in the series -- and ironically this movie -- are when they sit around this table or that and get down to some tasty and often tart dialogue.

Sex and the City claims some of the most fanatical fans in the history of TV. When the show dried up in 2004, it was practically a national crisis. Addicts of the program did everything but fly flags at half-staff.

With little demand for their limited acting skills anywhere else and knowing that a movie returns them to all that adoration, Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, Kristin Davis and Cynthia Dixon agreed to give Sex and the City another shot.

To keep virgins like me from getting hopelessly lost, the film starts with Parker's nasal drone explaining all the characters in narration dubbed over opening credits that I assume are similar to those of the TV show.

Fans at this week's screening tell me little has changed in the four years since Sex and the City left TV and entered into endless censored mainstream network reruns and DVD play. Characters living life at a fingernail depth ramble about life's most important things: clothes, shoes, men and sex ... and not much else.

After Parker's introduction, Sex and the City loops a bunch of stories together anchored by Carrie and Mr. Big's decision to marry. Instead of giving devotees just a half-hour to drool over their favorite characters, the 2 1/2-hour movie gives them a whole season's worth of stories at one shot and on a much bigger screen.

All they can't do is pause and rewind.

Mr. Movie rating: 3 1/2 stars.

Rated R for mature themes, language, sex, nudity. Opens today at the Carmike 12 and the Fairchild 12.

The Visitor

It takes a real gift to create ordinary characters, put them in even more ordinary situations and then come up with extraordinary results. Writer/director Thomas McCarthy has that skill in spades. His 2003 treat The Station Agent is one of my all-time favorite movies.

Though McCarthy's sophomore effort isn't as good, The Visitor has flashes of brilliance. Most of them come from main character Richard Jenkins. The name doesn't ring many bells, but you've seen his face in a hundred movies. Jenkins is one of filmdom's all-time best character actors.

And if enough of the right people see The Visitor, Jenkins has a real shot at an Oscar nomination. To date, his is the year's best performance.

Jenkins is Walter Vale, a widower whose life has stagnated and ground to a virtual stop. He befriends a couple who "accidentally" rent his apartment. The man, Tarek, jump-starts Vale's life and starts teaching him complex drum patterns.

Their relationship is electric and gives The Visitor its only life. Tarek and his wife are illegals, and once Tarek is captured, the film skips a beat or two and then loses its rhythm completely.

Instead of letting the dilemmas and injustices faced by the characters speak for themselves, McCarthy succumbs to the world's oldest writers flaw. He starts to preach.

Mr. Movie rating: 3 1/2 stars.

Rated PG-13 for mature themes. Opens today at the Carmike 12.

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