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Friday, 26 September 2008

Lipstick Jungle, LivingTV

Did we like it?
It was a long hour to be honest. The constant clicking as creator Candace 'Sex and the City' Bushnell ticked all her usual boxes with the monotony of a metronome made the time drag, but first episodes (this was also more than likely a pilot) are notoriously difficult and clunky so we don't want to be too harsh.

What was good about it?
• We quite liked the Nico Reilly character, played by Kim Raver (aka long-faced Audrey from 24, Jack's least likeable belle). Unlike the other two main protagonists, she was believable as a woman with power and also hammed it up quite sexily when being seduced by a younger man writing his number on her thigh or ripping her tights off.
• There is plenty there that the SATC faithful should enjoy - high-powered women, lots of fashion, plenty of sex, girls being girly and some domestic drama.
• The show did manage to set up its initial issues quite well, even if the characters are, perhaps necessarily, quite broad. Publisher Nico has a great job but isn't appreciated fully, has a husband not interested in sex and finds herself sleeping with a hot young 20-something. Fashion designer Victory Ford is receiving bad press for her new designs and is emotional about it, but is being wooed by a 'gazillionaire'. Wendy Healy is a film executive with kids but, while her husband is an animal in the sack, he has issues with his relative lack of success.

What was bad about it?
• We suppose for some this could be termed as a good thing, but the fact that the hour was crammed with Bushnell's traditional touchstones was disappointing and irritating. Characters went around saying things like, "I hug. I'm a hugger," and "I cried. I'm a crier," just as they did to irritating levels in SATC. Big was reborn (well, copied) as billionaire Joe Bennett - the seemingly arrogant rich guy who actually has a heart of gold (this is Bushnell's male version of the tart with a heart). And the hour was crammed with outrageously successful women who fall apart alarmingly regularly, eat a lot of cupcakes and continually tell each other how great they are. Thank Christ Carrie's interminible wordplay and terrible puns are nowehere to be seen and no one has yet said: "I began to wonder..."
• Brooke Shields' character Wendy Healy was dreadful: an awful, weepie, insecure woman who nevertheless is a massive high flier at a film company. She was saddled with a terminally dull thread about securing Leo di Caprio for a film and eventually unconvincingly played hardball and won him round. It was supposed to show us how great she is under all the fluster, but it just came across as unbelievable.
• We like Brooke Shields. Beautiful woman. Blue Lagoon was lovely. Unfortunately, on this evidence, she cannot act to save her life, or, at least, could not come to grips with the ropey dialogue. In a show where neither the standard of the writing or acting is really of paramount importance next to the glamour and the sex, it's not good if you're constantly being acted off the screen by Kim Raver.
• We were confused by Nico's protestations to her young lover, asking him if he knew how old she was. She was around 37/38 when this was filmed and her man was late 20s at least. It just didn't ring true, leaving us wondering if she was supposed to be playing someone in her late 40s.
• The woeful ending - a monochrome freeze frame of the three friends together on a balcony - actually made us laugh out loud for its shamelessness and/or its amateurishness.

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