Looking fabulous, ready for drama
Sex and the City 2Written and directed by Michael Patrick KingStarring Sarah Jessica Parker, Kristen Davis, Cynthia Nixon and Kim CattrallRated R*3*Goes well with: Sex and the City, Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason, Baby Mama
As a straight, married guy, I'm not the target demographic for Sex and the City 2. However, that doesn't mean I'm a Sex and the City hater. Why should I be? I know plenty of people—mostly women, of course—who loved the show when it was on HBO, who were thrilled with the version that hit the big screen two years ago and who feel like the characters have a strong, empowering place in their lives. I think that's great. Men have all sorts of things like that—football, Entourage, James Bond. So, while I'm the first to confess that I don't know much about Carrie Bradshaw and her posse, the point is, I'm open to the whole thing.
Or at least I was until I saw the film.
I know what you're thinking: This guy—of course it's a guy—just doesn't get it. Going to this movie is like seeing old friends, and it's something I'm going to do with the real-life friends who also love those ladies. And you're absolutely right. I don't get it. I have little more than a passing relationship with the show and its characters. And that raises some questions: Am I qualified to review this movie? Can I review it with objectivity? Could a negative review from me actually convince a hardcore, Manolo-wearing SATC fan to save her hard-earned 10 bucks? Do I think that SATC2 is little more than a scheme to grab cash from the show's core audience, who showed up for the first one in legions?
In order: Yes. Yes. Probably not. Hell yes.
Look, the film's problems have nothing to do with the fact that it's about women talking about men and sex—truth be told, ladies, that's something we men desperately wish happened all the time. The problems are all about the fact that it's shoddily written, poorly directed, lackadaisically edited and incapable of solving conflict in a realistic way.
SATC2 takes place two years after Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker) and Mr. Big (Chris Noth) tied the knot. They're living together, and she's worried that they're becoming an old married couple, because instead of going out for dinners and drinks, he'd rather order in and watch TV. Charlotte (Kristen Davis) has two kids, whom she loves but who drive her insane, and a hot nanny she thinks her husband might go for. Miranda (Cynthia Nixon) has quit her job, and Samantha (Kim Cattrall) is hitting menopause. So, what are four stressed-out girls—or, more realistically, middle-aged women—to do? Oh, how about book an opulent, all-expenses-paid trip to Abu Dhabi, courtesy of a sheik desperate for Samantha's PR wizardry. It's serious lap-of-luxury stuff, and it's where Carrie runs into her old beau (John Corbett, looking puffy) and where Samantha continues to try to get busy with, well, everyone, at the expense of a culture she hasn't bothered to learn anything about.
Of course, extraordinary wealth, decadence and privilege isn't enough for these women—or anyone, for that matter—to overcome the issues in their lives. But it's more than enough for me to dismiss their issues, because instead of appreciating all the wonderful things they're getting to experience on someone else's dime, they spend most of their time in the Middle East creating the sorts of drama that smart women who enjoy Sex and the City wouldn't create.
Now, I think it's cool that the show—and, yes, even this movie—tried to explore some real issues that women face, like deciding to not have children, or sometimes not liking your children, or how sucky hot flashes can be. But here, those feel like tacked-on insincere tidbits designed to give the Middle Eastern bling and the outrageous outfits some gravity. Look, it's great that the fans will get to spend a little more time with Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte and Miranda, but be forewarned—it might be like seeing an old friend for the first time in a decade, only to find that they've had work done and all they do is talk about themselves.
For a movie that's all about elegance, this is a very inelegant film.
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