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FPQT goes to the Movies: Sex and the City 2

May 28, 2010

L-A: To be fair to our readers who have yet to see the movie, I’m going to hide any spoilery bits behind a cut.

Here’s the quickie spoiler free review: It kinda sucked.  Sometimes I was just embarrassed, other times I was a little bit offended. It was light on plot and I think my feminism got in the way. To make matters worse, they didn’t even bring the pretty.  Sure one of the outfits cost $50Gs, but it wasn’t even dress porn.

Quickie verdict: let’s put this franchise to sleep and get a new one.

Now for the no holds barred review (warning, more rant than snark inside):

The only words I have for that movie are these: Sweet Jesus in a breadbasket. That was a trainwreck in stilettos.

Actually, I have more. Lots more.

Here’s the “plot”: There’s a gay gay gay wedding, where everyone talks about how Stanford is gay and is getting gay married to his gay partner at a gay wedding. With Liza Minelli (okay, it was almost worth the $10 to see her do Single Ladies).  Gay!  Smith has a cameo where he introduces Samantha to a Sheikh who wants her to do PR – that’s how they explain the all expenses paid trip to Abu Dhabi (other than the director/writer/producer wanted an excuse to travel to Morocco).  Carrie feels like she’s turning into a nagging wife (she kind of has). Miranda quits her job because she has her first sexist boss ever and her husband suggests she stay at home and help out more (what? don’t they pay someone to help out around the house?). Charlotte’s kids are soooo terrible and she’s jealous of the full time nanny who doesn’t wear a bra. And Samantha has sex and takes hormones. That’s it.  So wheeeee! Vacation! Miranda over researches, Charlotte is either judging someone or trying to phone home, Samantha’s magical hormones are taken away (oh noes! menopause!), and Carrie sees Aiden in the market (and oh hey! leaves her passport at the stall), goes to dinner and kisses Aiden (was this really a shocker?) and has an existential crisis. Samantha offends a conservative dude who gets arrested for making out. The Sheikh decides not to pay for the hotel anymore, so they have to pack and leave in an hour. But oh no! Carrie’s passport! Of course the nice man who sold her the shoes still has it. They wear a burkha like outfit and escape angry, oppressive men and still make their flight in time. At home, everything works out: Carrie and Big are happy, Charlotte takes a break from taking care of her children with her full-time nanny (who is conveniently a lesbian), Miranda gets a new happier job, and Samantha has sex on a beach and doesn’t get arrested. And this paragraph is dragged out over at least two hours. Two hours you will never, ever get back. (Had it been shorter, it might not have been so tedious).

I went into this movie with low expectations. So low, that I said it would be an epic fail even before watching the movie. And it’s not like I only watch high falutin films. I fully admit to paying good money to go see and enjoy Katherine Heigl movies. But since my expectations were so low, I think I had hoped that maybe it wouldn’t be that badt.  That maybe the movie would say, “hey L-A! Don’t judge this book by it’s fluffy cover! I’ve got substance in here!”  And maybe it did say that to me, but if it did, I missed it. I was too busy muttering “what the eff?” and “seriously?’ to actually hear the movie’s pleas. And possibly my feminism got in the way.

Here’s the thing, and I apologize to the ladies who oohed and aahed at the movie: This isn’t the TV show you knew and loved. The characters have the same names, but they aren’t the same. I know. I used to love the show.  I thought it was smart and funny. At least I think it was smart and funny. It’s been awhile. Now it’s just a movie starring four women, written at women instead of for women.  This movie was a parody of the series. The characters have become caricatures of themselves so that every time one of them speaks, it’s like they start the sentence with “I’m a Miranda” or “I’m a Carrie”.

The movie worked really hard to make me feel empowered, but instead it made me feel like an idiot for having ever liked the show. Our four heroes sang “I am Woman” at a karaoke bar and every woman in that bar got up to sing and dance like they knew and loved that song (really? Do you know anyone who knows all the words to that song? And loves it?).

That scene, which included an outfit that cost $50,000 (not all the outfits. Just one),  was about as empowering as a tampon ad.  But for all of this empowerment, something was missing. In the moments when Miranda figures out that her lawyer boss is threatened by women who have a voice (she’s only just now experiencing workplace sexism?) or Charlotte breaking down and admitting how hard it is to be a mom with a full-time nanny (“how do women without help do it?”), I didn’t feel empowered. I didn’t want to rise up in solidarity and drink cosmos.  What I felt was rich white ladies privilege. And as a fairly privileged white lady (who is not rich), it didn’t feel all that great. I wanted to throw their effing cosmos in their face.

The faux-empowerment was mostly annoying. The mildly offensive bits? The Middle East is so weird and oppressive! A butler named Abdul must be gay because he almost has the same name as Paula Abdul.  Staring down a woman in traditional Muslim dress because how can she possibly eat a French Fry wearing that? But oh! Aren’t women all the same? Under those oppressive Muslim clothes is Vuitton spring collection!

Empowerment!!! It wears ostrich! I’m not saying that Muslim women don’t wear Vuitton, I’m just saying that Vuitton doesn’t mean you’re empowered, it means you’re really effing wealthy. Maybe they could have acknowledged that some women choose to dress that way. Or why they choose to dress how they do under their traditional clothing. I don’t know. Something. But I’m asking too much aren’t I?

You know what I want? I want a movie starring women, written for women, that is actually smart and funny. I’m not an idiot. My friends aren’t idiots. Most women I know aren’t idiots. So why are we okay that the biggest movie event for women, possibly the only movie event that really stars women, is written at us. And if we’re in the theatre for the clothes and the shoes, try harder. Don’t dress SJP in Halston and tell me it’s because it is soooo Carrie. Please bitch, you dressed her in Halston Heritage because SJP is the creative adviser for Halston Heritage. I can deal with a product placement, just don’t pretend it’s something that it’s not.

And you know what? Just because I’m a girl, doesn’t mean you can feed me cosmos, pat me on the head, and tell me to love your movie. I don’t even like cosmos (and trust me, I have tried my share of cosmos). I want a good bottle of red wine. In fact, after that movie, I needed a good bottle of red wine.

Ally: L-A feels that I should add a few words to the review. Problem is, I think she’s taken all the words in the English dictionary. Kidding!

I, like L-A, left the theatre feeling fairly disgusted on Wednesday night, and not just because I had missed my old lady bedtime by two hours. I felt mortified that this movie was being described as a call to arms for all independent women. Mortified. Many readers may say we’re overthinking it. Really? Have we met? Overthinking when it comes to pop culture is not really what I do. This is mylife  theme song for eff’s sake:

(Do you have a life theme song? If so you should share! Especially if it is this bad! And I’m sort of kidding that this is my life theme song…sort of).

It’s not as if we can enjoy trivial, we can, I just can’t enjoy it if you dress it up and try to tell me it is a way of celebrating the strength and diversity of women. L-A’s review really says it all (I’m not just being lazy, swears), we have had numerous conversations about it since leaving the movie. I too am angry as I loved the series, totally embraced the series. There was a time during the series when you could actually answer the question, “which woman are you?” without getting total embarrassment cringes. Like, Samantha? Really? If the bitch is really like that then she needs to be up in sex rehab with T. Woods. That shit is not healthy. I don’t care how many condoms the movie had flying out of her purse. “Eeee! A condom! Giggle!”.

To conclude this epic diatribe, I did enjoy the clothes, the hair, and the shoes. Maybe next week we can actually review what we went to see, which was the fashion. Before that I need some time away. I’m too pissed that my favourite show has been made into a movie comparable to a Lindsay Lohan flick circa 2015.

14 Comments leave one →
  1. Sarah M permalink
    May 28, 2010 8:40 am

    I objected to the fact that the moral of the story seemed to be “the arab world is bad because you fellate your dinner partner in public.”

    Still…can’t wait to go to Abu Dhabi. Or um, Morocco I guess….

  2. Eden permalink
    May 28, 2010 8:51 am

    This is such a great (bad) review. Maybe instead of seeing the movie I should just watch the show again.

    I have a LOT of life theme songs but right now I’m really feeling this one:

  3. May 28, 2010 9:21 am

    It was light on plot and I think my feminism got in the way.

    Can we revise that to say that the plot just gets in the way of feminism? By all accounts this movie doesn’t shine a light on All The Women Who Are Independent Women so much as it makes a caricature of them.

  4. Krista permalink
    May 28, 2010 10:44 am

    L-A and I have already had a lengthy Twitter debate about this movie. I haven’t seen it yet, but I already have an opinion. SATC (the show) was written by a team of writers, many of whom were women, who wrote about their experiences and did a fair job of reflecting some of our dilemmas and showing us fun clothes, unrealistic finances aside.

    Michael Patrick King wrote both movies all by himself, and it shows. I’d like nothing more to say he’s one of those gay men who clearly hate women, but I won’t. I will say, however, that his understanding of women is grossly overrated. The first movie aggravated me because the characters weren’t complete until they had their happy endings, which, for two of the characters, involved settling for men who humiliated them. Better than dying alone, right?

    Both movies are nothing more than very cynical, effective ways to take women’s money. I’m guessing this movie will be enjoyed by the women who still drink cosmos and shriek, “I’m a Carrie! I’m a Samantha!” and don’t know that roomfuls of (mostly) men at movie studios are laughing at them and counting their money.

    Also, I want to go to Morocco and now it will be overrun with Americans trying to have sexy adventures while wearing designer clothes under abayas.

  5. Allene! permalink
    May 28, 2010 3:35 pm

    L-A, this review is awesome. I haven’t seen the movie yet (I’ve got plans to see it with a bunch of girls in a week or so) but now at least I know to expect it to be a women’s studies nightmare. Not that I didn’t already kind of expect that… I’ve always found the series to be overrated with regard to how “empowering” it is, because at the end of the day, the theme has always been “get yourself a man and you’ll be complete”. At least the last movie had that great bit in the middle where Carrie is all depressed and the girls really show their true friend colours and force her to eat etc., which frankly is one of the more realistic things I’ve seen from the SATC franchise. Too bad they ruined it with the wanky ending. Anyway I digress! Great review, and I’m sorry your feminism is bruised.

  6. May 29, 2010 5:53 am

    What a great review. Cemented my decision to give the film a miss altogether. Hadley Freeman in British newspaper the Guardian wrote a great article along the same lines –

    • L-A permalink*
      June 8, 2010 11:12 pm

      I saw that article – it was great! I wouldn’t let myself read it until after I wrote my own review. You are making a wise choice to miss this movie.

  7. May 30, 2010 2:54 pm

    Like Lindsay Lohen will still be floating around in 2015… and I’m a little peeved that when asked “which character are you most like”, I now have to quickly add “from the series”, because it’s painfully true that the girls have been altered to the nth degree of unreal. I now have to go back and re-watch every season to document episode numbers, so I can accurately quote exactly when I’m “a Carrie”, since it can’t be used as a blanket statement anymore. Boo.

    • L-A permalink*
      June 8, 2010 11:14 pm

      You’re right. I think it’s now necessary to say, “I’m a Carrie from that episode with Aidan and the chair” (first one that came to mind – not sure if it’s a good example) or “I’m a Charlotte from that one episode where….” If they make a third movie, I quit.

  8. May 31, 2010 1:13 pm

    I totally agree! I typically only review TV at my blog, but I reviewed the movie because I liked SATC the show. I hated that the two friends I saw it with were both fans of the show and loved it – you can be a fan of the show and not automatically love the movies.

    There were times when I actually wanted to get up and scream at the audience for laughing at stuff that I found so offensive. It was a poor portrayal of women, of the Middle East, and of the original series.

    • L-A permalink*
      June 8, 2010 11:10 pm

      So true. The series and the movies are two very different things. I really enjoyed the show when it was on, which is what makes the movies all the more disappointing.

  9. Joyce permalink
    May 31, 2010 9:45 pm

    “I didn’t feel empowered. I didn’t want to rise up in solidarity and drink cosmos. What I felt was rich white ladies privilege. And as a fairly privileged white lady (who is not rich), it didn’t feel all that great. I wanted to throw their effing cosmos in their face.”

    This pretty much sums up how I already felt about the show. Great review.

  10. BenjaminM permalink
    June 8, 2010 9:59 pm

    “I would accept myself as a ‘Carrie’-type personality, but only if she would reject her role as the victim and acknowledge that she’s an aggressive bitch.”


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