09.16.11

Lights, Camera, Cocktails

Who’s tired of Sarah Jessica Parker playing the same character in every movie? As she hits theaters again in 'I Don’t Know How She Does It,' Boston bartender Misty Kalkofen mixes up a strong and stirred beverage that may inspire you to change.

There was a period in the '90s when Sarah Jessica Parker was almost in two movies per year (six in 1996 alone!), and the breadth of her work covered everything from comedy to action and drama to fantasy.

In the decade after Footloose, Girls Just Want to Have Fun, and Flight of the Navigator, a young SJP played Bruce Willis’s police-officer partner in the 1993 action movie Striking Distance. Three years later, she joined Gene Hackman and Hugh Grant in 1996’s thriller Extreme Measures. Yes, she starred in the requisite rom-com every other year or so—1995’s Miami Rhapsody, 1996’s If Lucy Fell, 1999’s Dudley Do-Right—but she’d diversify her roles playing in a movie like the 1994 bio Ed Wood or a quirky fantasy-comedy like 1996’s Mars Attacks.

Yet the longer she played Carrie Bradshaw on Sex and the City, the more it appeared her hunger to switch things up waned. By the time SATC wrapped, SJP didn’t seem like she knew what to do in a movie unless she was playing one half of a relationship, whether dating, engaged or married.

And each time we’ve seen her on screen it’s as if she even has the same long blondish hair and run-of-the-mill makeup. How odd it feels to long for that entirely non-glamorous brown wavy hair she sported in Extreme Measures—or that awful, chunky wig she wore in Mars Attacks!

Now we’ve arrived at this weekend’s release of I Don’t Know How She Does It and are once again experiencing a not-so-surprising feeling of déjà vu. Parker has definitely been a member of an ensemble cast before, playing a fiancée in The Family Stone who was just as easily frustrated and flustered as SJP’s newest character appears to be. We’ve also already watched her try to save her own romantic relationships from fissuring on a number of occasions, whether she was paired with Matthew McConaughey in Failure to Launch or Hugh Grant in Did You Hear About the Morgans?

We’ve even seen her orbited by the redhead (Christina Hendricks), brunette (Olivia Munn) and blonde (Busy Phillips) co-stars, as if the IDKHSDI filmmakers were concerned we might not recognize her without a supporting cast with the same hair colors as her SATC mates. (And someone out there still thinks we need to see her in another Sex and the City movie, particularly after the last one?)

Why not try putting Parker in a movie where she’s forced to play a totally new character?  There’s so much we don’t think we’ve ever seen Parker do on screen.

Has she ever shaved her head for a role a la Natalie Portman in V is for Vendetta or Demi Moore in G.I. Jane?

Has she even tried her hand at an accent the way Nicole Kidman took on a Southern accent for Cold Mountain, a Russian accent in Birthday Girl, a South African accent for The Interpreter, or an Irish accent in Far and Away?

Since these are just a few half-baked ideas, here are a few more flushed out potential projects to cast SJP in a new light:

Sarah Jessica Parker is…Transamerica 2! Move over Felicity Huffman! Kevin Zegers’s character is all grown up now and decides that he too wants to transition like his dad did. Though it’s only been six years since the original Transamerica was in theatres, this sequel would show Zegers’s character at 42, played by SJP, preparing for her own gender reassignment operation. Everyone loves to always mention that the lady’s got some strong, traditionally masculine facial features, so why not put those handsome good looks to use?

Since America apparently loves to see its favorite comics turned into feature films, what about Betty vs. Veronica: The End Game? Eager to settle their decades-long struggle once and for all, watch as the ladies duel it out in the ultimate battle for Archie Andrews’s heart. Set the showdown in 2082 on a futuristic landscape and it will simultaneously tap into moviegoers’ endless fascination with the future and space travel. SJP would play the older Betty Cooper, who, despite now being in her 40s, would still be just as sweet and mildly pathetic as she was in her teens. Catherine Zeta-Jones could play the cold-hearted heiress Veronica Lodge.

A Race to the Finnish—foreign films! What could be edgier? Well, besides a lesbian erotic thriller, and somehow we don’t see SJP partaking in that.  A Race... begins when we find Parker, a one-time celebrated Finnish track athlete, recovering after caving to the temptations that come with being the biggest celebrity in Finland’s Olympic history. Through a series of flashbacks we are shown that on a particularly dangerous heroin bender, she loses a fiancé, two roommates, the neighbor’s kid, her mother-in-law, the mother-in-law’s friend, some really gorgeous Louis Vuitton steamer trunks, and her left leg in a gruesome car accident. After years of intense physical therapy, she decides the final step in her recovery is a return to the game that nearly led to her death, only now, she’s “running” with just one leg. Will she regain her former glory and hop to the finish line faster than her competitors or will a sneakily planted doping scandal threaten to derail her revived career? A sports movie and a redemption story and a drug movie and a nail-biting tale of success! Pretty much a guaranteed audience-pleaser.

Combine our love of weight-loss shows with our undying love for zombie movies and you have Sarah Jessica Parker starring in Too Much of a Good Zombie. Unlike most zombies we’ve seen in movies, Parker plays a good Christian zombie, who cares less about eating the living and more about getting into heaven. She sees an add in the local Pennystealer for a new zombie reality weight loss show where the grand prize is leaving behind the zombie world and getting into heavy. And since she has been more of a carb queen and less interested in the leaner meat of human’s, Parker’s zombie has got a lot to lose. But with salvation at stake…so much to win.

But since none of these movies are even close to being made, you could always surrender and go see I Don’t Know How She Does It, hoping that Parker delivers a truly unique and unprecedented performance.

In need of a cocktail inspired by this film, we went to Boston, where Parker’s character is based in the movie, and sought out the counsel of Misty Kalkofen. Kalkofen not only bartends at the ever popular Drink lounge in the Waterfront neighborhood of South Boston, but also serves as the President of the Boston chapter of Ladies United for the Preservation of Endangered Cocktails (LUPEC).

“Sarah Jessica Parker is no longer the Cosmo sipping freelancer of Sex and the City,” explains Kalkofen. “In I Don't Know How She Does It, Parker, as Kate Reddy, is striving to balance the role of a savvy Boston/New York-based businesswoman with that of wife and mother of two. The Northeast is the home of “hurry up” so we like our cocktails strong and stirred. We don't have a lot of time, so we want a cocktail that will get the job done...fast. In my cocktail, “Here's How,” I also wanted to give Kate a taste of something from beautiful distant locations; a vacation in a glass. The cocktail starts with equal proportions of the smoky and slightly sweet Del Maguey Crema de Mezcal from Oaxaca (which proudly states on the label that it is for "women and a few strong men") and the beautifully dry Los Arcos Amontillado Sherry from Jerez. I rounded this out with the herbaceousness of Benedictine and the bitter espresso notes of Galliano Ristretto for a little mental pick-me-up.”

Here's How
Created by Misty Kalkofen of Drink

1 oz. Del Maguey Crema de Mezcal
1 oz. Lustau Los Arcos Amontillado Sherry
½ oz. Benedictine
½ oz. Galliano Ristretto

Stir all ingredients with ice and then strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Express the oil of an orange peel over the top of the cocktail. Discard the peel. Drink.