SEX AND THE CITY 2
Review by Gwen Reyes
I’m going to say something that 90% of women my age always say: “I grew up watching SEX AND THE CITY.” It’s not a shocking or even informative statement, it’s as expected as saying “I drink coffee” or “yes, one day I would like to get married.” The show is a part of our consciousness as women, and therefore it’s a part of all of us. We have all sat together on the couch or at brunch, confessing which SATC girl we each identify as (I’m a Miranda and a Samantha (Cynthia Nixon and Kim Cattrall), FYI), and assuring our one friend that it’s okay to be a Charlotte (Kristin Davis). We all bought the books, the DVD sets, and even those stupid Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker) inspired name necklaces—and let me tell you, it’s incredibly hard to find anything with the name Gwen on it. We hated the bad boyfriends and loved the good. Don’t even get me started on my extreme discomfort with Post-It notes (“I’m sorry, I can’t”). Ultimately, SATC shaped who we are, acted as a role model and sexual guide, and constantly lived up to its own hype.
Now having said that, the movies are an entirely different monster. Yes, just as much as we loved the show we anticipated the theatrical release of the first SEX AND THE CITY movie. It was 4 years in the making, and it felt like not a moment had gone by. The movie was a hit, even if the women we loved were changed. They were older, established, and more dream-like than the show ever portrayed them as. They were no longer the women we were, they were women we wanted to be. And that separated them from us, made us voyeurs and coveters of a lifestyle we could never have, and it worked in the first movie.
Not so much in the sequel. SEX AND THE CITY 2 had everything I loved about the first movie: beautiful clothes, beautiful men, and those 4 ladies who are each a part of me. However it took all the horrible elements of the first film (overt materialism, ridiculous relationship issues, and disgusting stereotyping) and pumped the volume up to eleven. I was often insulted and uncomfortable throughout the film.
It opens strong, reintroducing all the characters to us and even offering a glimpse at how each woman made their ways into Carrie Bradshaw’s life. We head off to a whimsical gay wedding between Carrie and Charlotte’s “best gays” Stanford and Anthony (Willie Garson and Mario Cantone). The wedding was hands down one of the best parts of the movie. It’s just unfortunate that it happens 15 minutes in. While there, Carrie and Mr. Big (Chris Noth) are asked by another couple if they plan to have children. This question is an easy answer for them both – no, it’s just not their thing. However, what is Carrie’s thing is attacking Big by declaring their new marriage boring and lacking “sparkle” once they return home from the wedding weekend. She is overwhelmed by insecurities in her marriage and worries that they have to spend the years as just the two without any glamour or excitement. Quelle horror!! A marriage that is comfortable and loving, I don’t really see a problem.
So, as a distracter from their lives, Samantha presents each of our ladies with an all-expenses paid trip to the uber-conservative Abu Dhabi. Once again, an excellent chance for the movie to reflect on real issues (Western and Eastern cultures colliding), however this falls even flatter than Carrie’s made-up drama over her marriage. This time it’s the highly sexual Samantha baring her shoulders and legs in front of traditional Muslims and then dismissing their culture. For a woman who is supposed to be the non-judgey one, Samantha’s lack of respect was a complete shift in character— a shift that comes off uneducated and bigoted. Badly done, Michael Patrick King, badly done.
I won’t even get into the ridiculously priced clothing, because that would just be a low blow. But if King’s intention was to give recession-minded women a taste of glamour, it comes off more ill-minded than CONFESSIONS OF A SHOPAHOLIC.
It’s a little heartbreaking for me to admit, but if this is what we are supposed to expect for this franchise, then I think the movies have run their course. I know that ladies, just like me, will go see this movie multiple times in the theater and even buy the DVD in six months, but I truly think I’d rather snuggle up with the series box-set. Yes, SEX AND THE CITY 2, that was your Post-It note.
Read more from Gwen Reyes at http://nerdyperv.com