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  • Sex and the City 2 | Review

    By | May 27, 2010

    Director: Michael Patrick King

    Writer: Michael Patrick King

    Starring: Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, Kristin Davis, Cynthia Nixon, Chris Noth, John Corbett, David Eigenberg, Evan Handler, Jason Lewis, Lynn Cohen, Raza Jaffrey, Penelope Cruz, Liza Minnelli, Miley Cyrus

    *Disclaimer: now with updates!

    It’s appropriate that the writer/producer of Sex and the City 2 “The Temple of Doom” went with a title that draws parallels between his film and those of the Indiana Jones saga.  At this point in both franchises, the differences between the two are quickly thinning out.  For starters, both films contain what appear to be 75+yr old lead characters navigating adventure/intrigue in exotic locales.  Both films put a strong emphasis on the importance of handbags, or man-purses.   And more importantly than any other similarity, both enormously successful film franchises culminate in the biggest cash grabs taking advantage of their loyal fans that I’ve seen in a looong time.  The worst thing about this reality lies with a central fear: that unlike the jaded fans of Indy that walked out of Crystal Skull cursing the name Lucas, the fans of Sex and the City will eat this film up with enormous grins, all the while going back for more.

    Sex and the City 2: The Temple of Doom starts back up where Sex and the City: Raiders of the HBO TV Series left off.  Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker) and Mr. Big (Chris Noth) have settled into domestic bliss in a new apartment as Carrie’s new book about marriage is about to be released.  Despite enjoying what appears to be an affluent dream life, Carrie is restless.  Her best friends Charlotte (Kristin Davis) and Miranda (Cynthia Nixon) are busy with children and home life, while 80 year old Samantha (Kim Cattrall) is busy fighting off menopause with a $100,000+/day addiction to lotions, moisturizers and supplements.  Things get ugly from a film-making standpoint almost from the get-go.  A painful montage that has all 4 friends flashing back to their 80’s looks just struck me as uncomfortable.  While these women have aged extremely well, they have really aged.  And maybe women love this, but I find it very weird to see older women (and we’re talking wayyy past ‘cougar-old’) parading around in flashy outfits made for 19 yr olds.  The movie does poke some fun at this notion as well, but it’s essentially the essence of Sex and City in many respects.   So…they had to do something with it.  Awkwardness continues as the wedding of Stanford (Willie Garson) and Anthony (Mario Cantone) yields some of the worst/most predictable dialogue I’ve seen since When In Rome.   Possibly even worse than this bad dialogue though is a looming fear that begins to hit around this point: that writer Michael Patrick King has chosen not to deliver an interesting, well-written script.  Rather, it would seem that he has taken the strategy of giving the fans exactly what they want, regardless of the consequences.  Unfortunately, more often than not, fans don’t know what they want; and a sad, tired mess will be the onscreen result (and I’m referring to the movie, not Kim Cattrall).

    Plot-wise, after the wedding, Samantha gets invited to Abu Dhabi via her PR firm to potentially help promote an Arab sheik’s new luxurious hotel.  Carrie’s restlessness has morphed into “vacation” days of sorts away from marriage, and traveling sounds like the perfect idea to her.  The same goes for Miranda and Charlotte who are struggling with maintaining sanity while still taking care of their kids.  From this point on out, luxury is flaunted in full force.  Ridiculous cars, first class airfare on a plane with private suites, and an insane hotel are all part of the story.  However; the values and sensibilities of the New York girls don’t exactly clash with those of the conservative middle east and comedy ensues (wokka wokka!!).  Seriously?  This plot line?  Really?  This verged on racism for me….Anyways, Carrie tries to reassess what she really wants out of love/life after years of chasing after Mr. Big and finally getting what she thought she wanted.

    Let’s get this straight.  If you haven’t already figured it out, I’m not Sex and the City’s target market.  However, I’m not too masculine to admit that the TV series was yet another well-written, enjoyable show in a long line of great shows that HBO has put out. Sex and the City 1 was even a valiant effort to transition this to the big screen.  While many of the “cash grab” tendencies alluded to in part deux were present, they weren’t overwhelming.  More importantly, the film actually advanced and added to who the characters were.  The biggest disappointment in Sex and the City 2, is that it doesn’t even try this time around.  This is a group of actresses and a writer that know their fan base to a fault.  They can put as little effort as possible into story, acting, dialogue, etc. as long as they throw enough of the budget at crazy designer clothes and cameos of various celebrities and characters from the TV series.  And the formula works.  Fans of the series will watch this, and they will probably love it.  And that my friends, is depressing…

    Is this movie good?  No.  Will it make loads of money?  Yes.  Will they make another film? Probably. Sex and the City 2 is all Hollywood, and sadly for its fans has gone the route of just being another multi-million dollar paycheck to cash for its stars.

    Rating: 3/10

    *Update (post reflection)

    This review contains two seldom used concepts in America: “comedy” and “hyperbole”.  The writer is well aware that Kim Cattrall is not 80 yrs old.   He also knows that the ladies of Sex and the City look far better than he ever has/will (except for Kim Cattrall–he is way hotter than her).  Finally, he is also aware that they are not “way past ‘cougar old”.  Again…..comedy and hyperbole.

    The fact of the matter is that this film was teased (as were it’s stars) because it should be an embarrassment to the cast/crew involved.  The film is an insult to women in general, and is a step back for the cause of feminism.  These are not empowered, happy women.  These are miserable, spoiled, horrible people.  I don’t understand how anyone could view this movie and not be disgusted by women complaining about how hard life is with a nanny, no job, and a multi-million dollar home/lifestyle while sipping cosmos in the first class lounge of a luxury jet.  The rating of 3/10 is hereby lowered to 1/10.  There is virtually nothing redeemable about this movie, and it only serves to harm women.

    In regards to the racism mentioned, this movie is not borderline racist.  It is blatantly racist and disrespectful of the middle eastern cultures represented.  The mere scene of Samantha throwing her condoms in the face of conservative, religious men was terrible; not to mention the many other references demeaning the people groups represented.

    In short, the jokes about ‘cougar-ness’, etc. are just that—jokes.  This film is a slap in the face to its fan-base and womankind in general.

    Rating: 1/10

    Topics: Film Reviews, News | 7 Comments »

    • Christy

      As a 30 year old woman I AM among the ‘target audience’. Agreed the movie is terrible, poorly written, and borderline racist. What I take issue with is you calling these women “wayyy past ‘cougar old'”. I don’t know what constitutes a cougar these days, but the ages of Sarah Jessica Parker, Cynthia Nixon, Kristen Davis, and Kim Cattrall are respectfully; 45, 44, 45, and 53. Those all sound perfectly cougar-ish to me. Yes, they’ve aged. Yes, the clothing is occasionally a bit more revealing than I personally would choose at Ms. Cattrall’s age, and they do recognize and lampoon this in the movie. However, who are you to suggest that these women are no longer sexually desirable? I think all of these still-attractive ladies have a while yet before they’re forced into matching sweater sets and orthopedic loafers. If you are married or ever do marry, I’d love for your wife to know that at 45 she’ll be ‘wayyy past cougar old’.

    • Alibarri

      Funny how you called the film semi-racist. I call this review blatantly ageist and sexist. First off, I am sure these “wayyyy past old women” probably look a hell of a lot better than you do, pal. Firstly, three members of the cast are in their early 40s, hardly “past cougardom,” as you attest. Secondly, Kim Catrall is not 80. She’s 53, and looks AMAZING! I’m guessing you flunked math in school, and weren’t exactly a hit with the ladies.

    • Hart

      I will never see this movie and have to say you are a far braver man than I.

    • Joe

      I’m a man who admits I did watch the HBO series and enjoyed it for its insights into NYC life among those of my age (having lived in other major cities but only visiting NYC on business and for fun). The series did have good writing and wit, something that was present to a far lesser degree in S&TC 1.

      Thanks for confirming what the previews and commercials made me believe that S&TC 2 would be and saving me the price of admission and time. One thing that struck me about the commercials is they reminded me of the Hollywood musicals of the depression era, sans the music. That would be those movies that reveled in their conspicuous consumption and “la dee da, life is still grand” escapist attitudes at a time of depression and deprivation for many. Kinda like the current economic climate when so many are un or under-employed and/or with poor future prospects, mortgage foreclosures and the political scene is one of fractious discord. Here comes a lavish, glamor lifestyle piece about women living a life only the now “hated investment bankers” who many believe brought us this mess could afford.

      I know they are just milking a franchise (and fans’ wallets) but it is interesting in its similarity to those days.

    • James Eaton

      These comments and the movie just go to show you that women should not be writing comments on review sites and should stick to doing men’s laundry, preparing meals for them, and making babies. Frankly, any woman over the age of 40 is old. Men don’t desire you anymore if you are older than 40, that’s just a fact.

    • http://happyrain.org/ Emily

      I’m a man who admits I did watch the HBO series and enjoyed it for its insights into NYC life among those of my age (having lived in other major cities but only visiting NYC on business and for fun). The series did have good writing and wit, something that was present to a far lesser degree in S&TC 1.

      Thanks for confirming what the previews and commercials made me believe that S&TC 2 would be and saving me the price of admission and time. One thing that struck me about the commercials is they reminded me of the Hollywood musicals of the depression era, sans the music. That would be those movies that reveled in their conspicuous consumption and “la dee da, life is still grand” escapist attitudes at a time of depression and deprivation for many. Kinda like the current economic climate when so many are un or under-employed and/or with poor future prospects, mortgage foreclosures and the political scene is one of fractious discord. Here comes a lavish, glamor lifestyle piece about women living a life only the now “hated investment bankers” who many believe brought us this mess could afford.

      I know they are just milking a franchise (and fans’ wallets) but it is interesting in its similarity to those days.

    • Giovanni

      I agree completely. I had been a devoted fan of the series & even was pleasantly surprised that the first movie seemed a nice tie up of loose ends. The 2nd movie was devoid of anything remotely near what even the first movie had to offer. They need the “city” first of all. It was the cast member that was left behind. The crumbs thrown to their gay fans, the bug gay wedding, only to never see or hear about the token grooms again. Now that could have played an interesting story line. Compare the relationships between heterosexual & homo….. Might have even offered something of value to society as an education.
      Then finally there was the fashion…..they even missed in the one thing they were best known for. There are plenty of high style clothing they could have used instead of making them look like sad ok’d women trying to hold on to their youth with vice grips. Grow up ladies because some of your fans have.