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Sex and the City 2–Hit or Miss?

June 8, 2010

**Be reassured–you’ll find no plot give-aways below for S&C2.  However, I do mention the plot of S&C1, so be forewarned! **

Not gonna lie–Sex and the City 1 was rough.  The characters felt over-the-top and fake, the plot was upsetting (Steve would never cheat on Miranda!), Carrie was a whiny brat, and the whole time I felt like these actresses secretly despised one another in real life (can you say “fake smile” much?)  And, unfortunately, Sex and the City 2 isn’t much better.

Even the littlest things that never bothered me in the TV series began to irk me in the 1st film.  I mean, come on.  Carrie is a columnist.  For a newspaper.  And you’re telling me she can afford to eat out every single day at these fancy places, then go out for drinks at New York’s finest hot spots, and go out to clubs, and have the most amazing apartment in an obscenely expensive neighborhood, and still manage to afford endless shopping sprees on a weekly basis at places normal folk can only dream of?  How could she or the rest of these characters even find the time to do all this?  Samantha has a high-stress and high-profile PR job, and yet she has time to linger over brunch and lunch and dinner and drinks and all-night sex and more.  Unless the woman doesn’t need sleep, I think it’s safe to say this is just a tad unrealistic.

All of these issues existed in the TV series, but they never annoyed me until the movies.  I originally forgave the writers for the lapses in reality because I held the TV series near and dear to my heart.  I thought Carrie could be the most spoiled and self-centered creature, and yet I adored her and never wished the series was narrated by anyone else.

Take the scene from the above photograph, when Aidan proposes to Carrie for the second time in the TV series.  Carrie has an impressive history of abuse to this oh-so-lovable-guy.  She cheats on him again and again, and when he gives her a shot for a round 2 of dating post-cheating, she throws him away when he not only gives her another chance, but asks her to be his wife.  I thought she was a fool.  I mean it’s Aidan!  But, she was still Carrie, and just like everyone else, I still saw her charm and both she and the series kept its appeal, despite a BIG mishap in love (pun intended.)

But with these two films, so much is missing, and so much is wrong.  Charlotte is still a class-act and a vision, if she maintains that frustratingly naive and innocent world-view.  The writers stayed somewhat true to her if they didn’t succeed in anything else.  But the rest of the cast?  I don’t even recognize them.  How did they become so blindingly self-interested and such horrible models for how to live and love?

I won’t give away plot in case you do want to venture to the theater, but I will say that a big event (which the previews openly allude to) makes you wonder how many times we will see these women stomp on everyone around them and care so little for those in their lives.  It was like the film was putting out some warped message that not only is it more than okay to hurt those we love, but they’ll forgive us no matter what, and we may even be rewarded in the end for acting indecently to those around us.

My other huge complaint about the movie is the entire theme of Abu Dhabi (which was really Morocco) and the insensitive portrayal of Muslims.  The women trivialize real issues and wander around the heart of the United Arab Emirates with their heads in the clouds and offensive cliches on the mind.  The Muslim women portrayed are just as superficial and feeble-minded; the film insultingly implies that these women, just like the NY girls, care more about shoes than about real issues, both good and bad, that relate to rights, religion, tradition, and politics.

There are hours devoted to this “exotic” Abu Dhabi theme (those are Samantha’s words, not mine) and it is so offensive and misinformed that the four women, who I loved in the series, become narcissistic, shallow, dumb (why do they always sound so ditsy in the films, even Miranda??), and kind of embarrassing to watch.  In fact, the shockingly prejudiced and superficial look at real critical issues is so immense that I hate the idea that people will associate this movie with American sensibilities and vision.  I could say so much more about this, but I’ll leave you with Stephen Colbert‘s words in this clip from The Colbert Report (which is always hilarious, if you haven’t seen it!)

On a plus, Aidan was as mighty fine as ever (which is mighty fine, if you ask me), and the outfits were vibrant and beautiful (if over-the-top).  And the cinematography is exquisite.  Basically, the film is eye candy, if nothing else.  However, if you loved the TV show and treasure the real characters–inquisitive and quirky Carrie, sweet and classy Charlotte, sexy and sassy Samantha, and the hilariously sarcastic and witty Miranda–then you’ll hate the producers and the fools who wrote this script.

Maybe the writers and producers fell out of love with these actresses or the characters they portrayed.  Or maybe in this economy they felt understandably annoyed with the flippancy and materialism espoused by the movie.  Whatever the reason, the movie becomes a disappointing caricature of the very things viewers used to love.  Samantha is not just sex and sass–yes, she’s bold and brazen with her sexcapades, but she also has heart and has deeper issues.  She fears intimacy and commitment, and possibly the rejection that may come from truly revealing herself.  This is what makes her real, but the writers forgot the most basic Writing 101 tenet: your characters must be well-rounded and your characters must be real.

There are plans to make a Sex and the City 3, but after seeing S&C 1 and 2 rob the original series of all its charm and truth, I don’t think I care to see what happens next to Carrie and company.  I’ll just have to remember and love the series for what it used to be.

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