Weeks ago, I saw this film with mediocre anticipation. Due to my over-thinking of films and adoration for the series, I had a whole lot to say about it. However, due to my odd and arbitrary once a week rule, other events have taken its place. Now, finally, I’m going to expand on my feelings so cleverly expressed in the title of this post.
Here’s the truth, shameful though it may be: I love the Sex and the City TV show. No, not in an ironic way or in a guilty way, I really just love it. Despite all its stupidity and veiled anti-feminist sentiment, I found the show to be surprisingly relatable, amusing and well-written. It had the ridiculous things like funky spunk and porn addiction, but characters you rooted for. And all the while you enjoy the antics of four beautiful,well-off Manhattanites hitting the town and getting to bed, there were many insightful and real moments that brought you into their lives. I’d watch this at my suburban home actually thinking, “wow, I’ve thought that,” or “that happened to me!” Man, I am so a Miranda.
Not to say the show was astonishingly brilliant or without fault. It had its stupid moments and ridiculous premises (how does Carrie afford that much, even with admitted money troubles?), but I still love it.
Then came the movie. Boy was I excited. After five years, I was going to see the girls again and what they were up to. Fun!
Folks, this I would admit with a little shame, but I loved that movie. It definitely lost some of the sheen of the series, especially in writing and character development, but I didn’t care. It was a movie just for the fans. There was the fashion, the inside jokes, the fun banter and, most of all, the wonderful friendship you feel like you’re a part of. Again, for the non-SATC fan, it’s a pretty dumb movie. For us, it was a fun trip down memory lane.
This brings me to the sequel. I didn’t really think it was necessary; after all, the stories had wrapped up pretty nicely. By the looks of it, I was pretty sure it wasn’t going to be great, awful even. But like the first movie, I would suspend my hyper-critical approach to movies and enjoy another fun trip with my New York City girls.
As it turns out, I couldn’t suspend it completely. It had taken every shallow part of the series while leaving behind anything that made it critically redeemable. I’ve decided that maybe plot was never the selling point to begin with, so instead I’ll break down the characters for you and the ensuing disappointment they all gave me.
Actually, her character was slightly better than in the first movie while making sure to remind us that there was no way to relate. Her perfect housewife image is beginning to breakdown as her obnoxious kids finally get to her. Of course, she’s a stay-at-home mom with a full-time nanny on Park Avenue, so the sympathy factor isn’t off the charts.
When the girls all need to get away and they’re off to Abu Dhabi (more on that later), she and Miranda have possibly the best scene in the movie. Miranda decides to get her drunk, and they talk about the pitfalls of motherhood. Earlier in the movie, Charlotte worries Harry’s interest in the bra-less Irishwoman they hired to watch the kids. As she admits to Miranda, it was because her first thought was that if he cheated with her, “I might lose the nanny!”
We all laugh, and we finally see past Charlotte’s perfection. However, as they’re drinking at their own personal bar in this lavish suite and both have full-time nannies, it’s made very obvious to the audience that these are very privileged people who actually have it pretty easy.
She was always the one I related to the most, but I felt her character was seriously sold short in the last movie. She was just a bitch most of the time, and no one seemed to care that her husband cheated on her, only that for some reason she wouldn’t take him back.
I thought it could only get better. I was wrong. She was worse than a bitch with thin motives. She was – dare I say it – boring.
Here’s her story: she isn’t happy at work. Quits job. Loves kid, but not that much, wants to work again. After lavish trip, gets a new job. She returns to her obvious character points by being too prepared for the trip and planning every minute, but it doesn’t really go anywhere interesting. No conflict, no character growth, no fun.
Samantha has always been the outrageous one. It creates a balance in the group; she and Charlotte are the extremes of outwardly sexual and staunchly conservative. Miranda and Carrie become the middle, more real characters with Carrie being the sentimentalist and Miranda the realist. Not a bad formula.
After the sex swing and nipple-clamps, I never thought they could go too far with Samantha. Wrong again. They strip every bit of substance from her (her struggle with cancer, her owning her sexuality as empowerment, etc.), and she becomes a walking punchline that isn’t very funny.
She meets a sheik who, after noting her former success with promoting Smith, decides to hire her to promote his new hotel in Abu Dhabi. At this point, they are just insulting the intelligence of the viewer. Why would a hotel owner from an ultra-conservative country hire a PR professional woman who used to work for a famous movie star and is clearly not so conservative? I stay tuned.
Samantha’s obstacle to overcome is menopause. When her drugs are confiscated (banned in the UAE), she loses the urge. Except then she gets it back for a hot guy. Then she and said guy are caught on the beach engaging in lewd behavior. She loses the job, and they have to leave the over-the-top resort. While there may have been an opportunity for commentary on sexual repression in conservative countries, it turns into a clownish, ugly American scene where Samantha shouts dirty things in a marketplace, and they are chased by police. I wasn’t expected a round table discussion on feminist philosophy, but one slightly insightful or clever line of dialog would have been nice.
A fun karaoke scene where the girls sing “I Am Woman” doesn’t make up for the embarrassing and cheap culture-clash they attempted to portray.
What I really hated about this movie can be summed up in one word – Bradshaw. Although I suppose it’s Mrs. Preston now. Where do I begin?
We are two years into Big and Carrie’s marriage, and of course, they are at a crossroads. They have decided not to have children, and while this may have opened up a point of interest in pursuing a road-less-traveled, it apparently means that she and Big need to make up for it by having an extravagant lifestyle filled with expensive things and regular parties.
Throughout the series, I was on Carrie’s side most of the time. Big really put Carrie through a lot, even if she had some of it coming. But in this movie, I was totally on his side. He gets her a nice TV for the bedroom, and she’s upset because they’re boring. He goes out to a party with her after a long day at work and talks to an attractive woman, and she’s upset. Usually when men say, “what do you want from me?” it’s condescending and annoying. When Big said it, I was curious for the answer. What the hell does she want from him?
She escapes from her treacherous life with the girls. In a completely believable coincidence, she runs into Aidan in a marketplace. After she gets a bad review of her new book, she’s just torn up inside and decides to have dinner with Aidan (side note- isn’t she a writer? What kind of unbelievable drama queen does she have to be to not know how to take criticism?) It’s not totally clear what’s going on in his life or what motivates him to cheat on his wife, but he and Carrie kiss. In order to heighten the drama, she absolutely has to call Big immediately afterward and tell him.
As a punishment for her petty and selfish ways, Big decides to get her a diamond ring to replace the first anniversary gift and promises that they won’t have a boring life. As my friend Michelle said, “Let me get this straight. She cheated and got a diamond.” She sure did.
Now you know my thoughts, the movie was not so good. However, it did have some redeemable scenes. Anthony and Stanford have a big gay wedding with Liza Minnelli officiating and performing “Single Ladies.” And then there was the very enjoyable pool scene with European soccer players.
But other than a few comical asides and pretty to look at montages, it was pretty dire. After all this time, Sex and the City has become as bad as every boyfriend and husband thinks it is.