Monday, June 7, 2010
Sex and the City 2
“Did I fuck up?” Mr. Big (Chris Noth) asks towards the beginning of the Sex and the City sequel. In so many words, Noth, yes. But not to worry; the same goes for the rest of the cast and crew.
At best – at a Botox-prohibited stretch – Sex and the City 2 is like being stuck on an interminable (if luxurious) tour with the worst kind of American tourists: loud, obnoxious, ignorant and racist. At worst the film is a garishly costumed nightmare of a car crash, one, to your own mortal peril, that’s impossible to look away from. Though not remiss of its own thematic repugnance, the first film looks positively delightful by comparison; for now the prospect of females working, mothering or marrying are held up to be beastly endeavors, and the only thing that makes life worthwhile is being filthy rich and flying first class.
Filthy is indeed the way to describe the politics of Sex and the City 2. On the flimsiest of plotlines, writer/director Michael Patrick King sends our erstwhile bastions (for better or worse) of modern femininity to Abu Dhabi, ‘the new middle-east.’ Cue seven star luxury mixed in with some truly heinous cultural and gender observations. Where do you start? (SPOILER ALERT) From Charlotte (Kristin Davis) traveling under her maiden name, York, instead of Goldenblatt “because this is the middle east,” to quips about birkinis, to the foursome ending up wearing burkas (of course) and Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker) then hitching up her black robes to flash some leg in order to secure a taxi. Yes, as this reviewer’s unfortunate date for the evening suggested, Sex and the City 2 would make Edward Said spin in his grave.
Then there’s what the film says about working and motherhood. Miranda (Cynthia Nixon) quits her job (again, for the flimsiest of reasons) and essentially becomes the screechy waste of space Charlotte from the first film, alongside a few scenes of type-A tour guide. Charlotte’s emotional arc involves being a stay at home mum with a fulltime, braless nanny, and losing the plot at her eldest daughter when she gets red paint on the ludicrously expensive skirt she is wearing while baking cupcakes. Samantha (Kim Cattrall) is a caricature of a menopausal woman, complete with an entire scene devoted to vaginal lubrication, while Carrie’s ‘punishment’ for a romantic transgression is as ridiculous as it is galling.
It’s one thing to envy Carrie and her friends for their wardrobes and wealth, but this film actually succeeds in making audiences hate them. Any emotional intelligence or investment made in the television series is crushed into dust under a signature Louboutin sole, and then cast into the ‘Arabian’ desert along with any shred of the actresses’ dignity.