‘Sex’ in the Living Room

Sex" and the — suburbs?

Since "Sex and the City" carried Carrie and company to new fiscal heights this past summer at the box office, raking in some $150 mil domestically — which could pay for about a footlocker of Manolo Blahniks — they've been tossing magnolias out of the windows of the Magnolia Cafe to celebrate.

But, the film's big success — with a surprise Big ending — has generated a new generation of fans as well as talk — and not just "girl talk," but that of Hollywood insiders, male and female — that a sequel is as sure as Samantha manhandling another lover as she claws her way to the top as "Cougar of the Year."

The movie version of the award-winning HBO hit, which ended a successful, long run in 2004 only to pick up its hiking boots and race over to the big screen, has also meant a theme of empowerment for women who suddenly find that middle age need not be depicted as medieval.

And it goes way beyond the "City." Gossiping with some "SATC" fans reveals that the film may be TNT explosive on its DVD release this coming Tuesday, just in time for the holidays — early enough, obviously, so it won't interfere with Harry and Charlotte attending services.

Now that "Sex" is coming to the living room, what has "SATC" meant to its minions since its summer in the sun? Has it released a sexy cinematic serotonin among women? Is the New York of the four women of the apotheosis all new again?

Make hers Manhattan, avows Linda Rigberg, 58, a series fan forever, from her elegant abode in Elkins Park. The preschool teacher at Adath Jeshurun Congregation nurses memories of the movie and its characters as longtime friends.

Tasty as a tempting dessert? Make hers a charlotte ruse. "That's the character I most identify with," she allows of sharing traits with Charlotte, coincidentally the only Jewish member of the quiet riot that is the movie quartet of women.

"And definitely not Samantha," adds Rigberg with a laugh of the hedonistic hellion who goes mano-a-mano with more men than are even seemingly available in Manhattan. (To that, husband Jay, the big man in her life, probably lets out a satisfied sigh.)

"Charlotte is wholesome, she's pretty," ensuring that niceness need not be a negative.

Was she wild about Harry? "Harry was a little nondescript in the movie," says Rigberg of the hirsute Harry — everywhere but on top — whose wooing of Charlotte in the series meant a plotline performance of Jew-jitsu — Judaism tossed into the mix for extra kicks and some flying fetes.

The Ark Is Closed

But on the big screen, his religious beliefs weren't observed; that facet was on low-bimah: "There was more substance in the TV show," reasons Rigberg of the HBO character's Ark of triumph.

But, substantively, Rigberg is revved up about the movie, and she "has recommended it" to friends and family.

And that includes husband Jay, a corporate CFO, who doesn't flinch at a "chick flick." "A lot of the women who went were alone or with other women" at the screening she saw, says Rigberg.

But her hubby was happy to accompany her. "He will see chick flicks with me anytime," says Rigberg proudly.

And if the movie at times seemed like "The Dating Game" on steroids, well, it did pump up some members of the audience: Lori Coren, 37, is still opening door No. 3 at the dating game — and the media coordinator for Rosen-Coren Public Relations in Langhorne says the film's plot coordinates spoke directly to her.

"I liked the camaraderie among the women," she says of the fab four and how their friendship hit home. "I have a best girlfriend like that, Tricia. As a matter of fact, we're going out for dinner together tonight."

As for impressions? Carrie on. "I admired her the most," partly, concedes the media maven, "because she was dating Mr. Big, whom I liked a lot. He's someone — his type — I'd like to go out with."

Coren also cares that Carrie writes a column. "Because I feel that I could write a book myself about dating," both prose and con.

Both women — Rigberg and Coren, sartorially splendid themselves — agree that the movie was more than just fun — it was tres fashionable. Chic "chicks"? "I loved the clothes — so way out," reveals Rigberg.

"The fashions were great. Outrageous, yes. But it is New York," adds Coren.

Lessons learned for preschool teacher Rigberg revolve around the characters' evolving sense of self. For Coren, the film — and the upcoming DVD — are keepers.

If J-Dating leaves you dazed … "It shows how you should keep looking" for the right person, says the Jewish single who, like Rigberg, is a triple threat of looks, success and caring. "It shows, like at the end of the movie, that good things can happen."

Perfect time for a concluding voice-over — over to you, Lorie Coren. "You know," she says of what's out there, "you just never know in life."



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