Monday, May 31, 2010

What I Liked and Didn't Like About Sex and the City 2

1. No Children Allowed (for Carrie and Big at least) Even in 2010, there seems to be this stigma that every married couple should want to have children, and, if they don't, they are selfish, horrible people. Not every couple is meant to raise kids nor should they want to, contrary to what the random couple at the wedding tells Carrie and Big. Kudos to the film for not apologizing for this stance and for not making Carrie and Big have a sudden change of heart at the end of the film (which I constantly feared they would).
2. Samantha's Meltdown "CONDOMS!...I HAVE SEX!...FUCK YOU, I'M AMERICAN!" This was quite literally the funniest meltdown I've seen since Cate Blanchett's immortal "HERE. I. AMMMMM!" in Notes on a Scandal.
3. Liza Minnelli The bitch has still got it. And it's crazy how much she sounds like her mother.
4. Inadvertent Humor I don't know which of these is funner: the idea of sex goddess Penélope Cruz as the president of the Bank of Barcelona, Kim Cattrall telling a group of young gay men, "I'm all natural! I've never had work done!" or the fact that both of these moments happen in the film irony-free.
5. Gay This whole film was shitting unicorns and rainbows. Brokeback Mountain seemed less gay than this film. There were so many "gay inhale" moments throughout the film I'm surprised some queen didn't pass out from a lack of oxygen.
6. Women Can Have It All There is one moment which sheds some light on what I presume the grand "point" of Sex and the City has come to be over the years. Miranda and Charlotte decide to have a drink at the bar in their hotel room when Miranda decides to try to get Charlotte to unload her motherhood guilt. To get her to open up, Charlotte says something to the effect of, "Men want women to either choose to be happy in their careers or with their family. They can't have it both because something's got to give." The Sex and the City women have always drawn a lot of unwarranted criticism for being superficial clotheswhores who live in another dimension that doesn't resemble the real world. But this isn't entirely true. Sure, they live in an escapist fantasy version of the real world, much like the world of Top Hat or any number of 1930's films, but they at least acknowledge some of the problems women have to deal with. It's still a man's world, unfortunately, and judging by the male critics' reaction to this film, they refuse to see things differently. Women can have it all, but it's the men who make them feel guilty for wanting to have it all. And, heaven forbid, if they want a few days for themselves away from their responsibilities, they are the worst women and mothers in the world...

Didn't Like
1. But How? ...The main problem with Sex and the City 2 is the fact that it really doesn't discuss this issue as in-depth as it should. I understand that this film is escapist fun, but in a movie with a 2.5 hour runtime, more than 3 minutes could have been devoted to defending themselves from all of the rabid haters.
2. Loss of Characterization I've never seen an episode of the TV series and my only exposure to these women is through the first movie (which I only saw for J. Hud!) so maybe this isn't my place to say, but I felt like even between the first and second films, the characters seemed to have undergone some whitewashing. Sure, Samantha was still a whore, but the other three felt less interesting as women this go-around. Miranda especially, who is my SATC doppelganger, wasn't a character so much as she was an encyclopedia of Middle Eastern knowledge.
3. Puns The phrase "interfuntion" is uttered at one point. Enough said.
4. "Haha, Aren't These Jokes Clever?" The one-liners felt so forced at some points. Not only where they completely artificial, earmarked as clever by the writer, but then the characters all had to laugh after every damn joke like it was the funniest thing ever said. For whatever reason, this irritates me in comedies more than anything else. It's not funny watching characters crack up at their own jokes.
5. The Fashion Listen, I'm all for women of a certain age embracing their sexuality and expressing themselves through designer fashions. But there comes a point when wearing some of the outfits Carrie and Samantha have to endure becomes embarrassing. There is a way to be sexy over 45 without having to dress like Miley Cyrus.

Overall Rating: C


Vance said...

You've never seen the show? And you call yourself gay? WTF. Oh poor baby. Get thee to netflix and watch S2 at least. That's where it's at.

Vance said...

(I meant the poor baby in a motherly irony free tone. Not a sarcastic tone)

Monsieur Cinema said...

I love it that Vance felt the need to make an additional comment explaining his joke so you wouldn't get mad.

Adam M. said...

Scalpel? Check.

What you liked:

1. Wasn't that part of the tension in Carrie and Big's marriage? One of them definitely wanted kids... I thought it was Carrie. But they talk about making room in their house or something, and then the couple at the wedding was supposed to be a light-bulb for Carrie. I suppose they figured they'll leave that plot twist for part 3.

2. The meltdown... coming from a 50+ year old? In public? Forgoing any respect for the conservative, religious locals? And over what? The poor thing is frustrated that she can't have sex on the beach! She's so oppressed!

3. Minnelli - went from funny/shocking to funny/sad to just plain sad. As her age and physical state became more obvious, the whole spectacle became more absurd. But I guess everyone in this movie likes to pretend they're 30-40 years younger than they actually are?

4. I'll give you the inadvertent humor bit. Not sure if that's a good thing though...

5. Gay? Yes, in the most regrettable sense. In the way that is made of superficial kitsch and lacks any signs of intelligence. It's deeply disturbing that anyone might mistake this film for the "gay" ideal.

6. Women can have it all? That sure wasn't the message I got. I got that women really just want diamonds and extravagance and mindless diversion. The conversation at the bar between Miranda and Charlotte left me flabbergasted. It's hard to feel sympathy for someone getting drunk at a private bar in a $20,000-per-night hotel suite on a spontaneous all-expenses-paid trip to the Oasis of Glamor. And what was Charlotte crying about? Poor thing has such a hard time raising TWO kids-- even with live-in hired help who appears to be an angel-- while she indulges in superfluous expenses and (seemingly) daily luncheons and rendez-vous with her gal pals and whatnot. What they didn't show in the background were the millions of people whose jobs and livelihoods went in the crapper during the economic collapse--people who have been forced out of their homes and could only dream of such a concept as a nanny (bra-less or otherwise).

The entire film had absolutely no perspective. Or as the sagacious A.O. Scott said in the NY Times, it reeks of "unexamined privilege." Bingo. Everything else is pretty much invalidated.

Glenn Dunks said...

I would think it'd be more offensive that the movie cost $100mil to make than the characters in it being well off. I truly, honestly have no desire what so ever to see a movie called Sex and the City 2 that's actually about people losing their jobs and having money hardships.

People's priorities are fucked if fictional characters make you angrier than the actual issues.

Dame James said...

Complaining that Sex and the City isn't realistic is like complaining that the magic that happens in Harry Potter couldn't happen in real life. The film is escapism set in a fantasy world, no more realistic than the world of Lord of the Rings. And, as Glenn said, who wants to watch a "realistic" version of Sex and the City. I'm sure it would look just as forced as the fired employees montage in Up in the Air.

My God, liven up. It's a comedy. The fact that Samantha's a 50 year old woman and having a tantrum in the middle of the market is precisely why it's funny.

Adam M. said...

I'm not sure where everyone is getting this notion that 'Sex and the City' is a fantasy. Isn't the whole point that the four central females are supposed to be interesting, recognizable, relatable--even as they inhabit some fast-paced, high-society world that we often aspire to?

And let's forget about the history of the franchise and just focus on the second film. And let's say that for this film, they do indeed exist in an indulgent fantasy world (even though they don't, and in fact, they make a point to remind us repeatedly that this is the real world, and a film about real women with real issues, but just for argument's sake). So what's the point? Is it supposed to be entertaining then? Is it supposed to be smart or clever? Or even if it's supposed to be pure empty-headed spectacle, what is the value in that? What makes it any better than the second 'Transformers' movie? At least the spectacle in 'Transformers' actually qualified as spectacle: clashing heaps of metal on top of Egyptian pyramids, instead of four shrill women gallivanting through the desert.

And the movie didn't have to be about people losing their jobs. It needed to at least acknowledge its own environment though--especially since Big was a broker on Wall St. and surely felt some sort of impact from the ongoing economic instability. (Penny Cruz gave a throwaway line about the tumultuous stock-market, which the film turned into a penis joke. Pretty much sums up the problem right there... including that of all people, it was Penelope Cruz who had any sort of immediate perspective.)

My disdain for this film grows as: (1) everyone is making accusations of sexism in regard to the overall critical response (which the film almost ingeniously prepared itself for, with the bit about Carrie's book getting panned by the New Yorker), when really, truly, it deserves every harsh word that it earned (short of the handful of personal attacks); and (2) the notion that the film is essentially the embodiment of "gay"... only because people like Michael Patrick King propagate the harmful association between "gay" and "shallow" or "gay" and "idiocy" by slathering the whole thing in sequins and stereotypes

You say I'm being harsh. I say you're making excuses. You say I need to lighten up. I say you need to open your eyes.

But we're all entitled to our opinion. So it goes. :P