Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Sex & the City 2

I am a late comer to the whole Sex & the City franchise. Never having had HBO I catch all their series on DVD, so I wasn’t too into Sex & the City until it hit syndication. I then became a fan and before the first film my friend Kelsey let me borrow the entire series on DVD so that I could see everything uncut and in sequence. I’ve reviewed the first Sex & the City film before, and I have to say I was a fan. I thought the entire team did a great job of taking the series and simply making it transfer to the big screen in a glitzy way, while keeping the girls grounded in the world we love.

That being said, Sex & the City 2 is a waste of time and money. This film was made simply for the sake of having a sequel made, and no amount of time or thought was put into it’s crafting.

Let’s first start with the length – two and a half hours. I enjoy long movies, when they are worth my time. However, several scenes into this film my director’s radar started to go off. It felt like someone in post was afraid to make cuts in the film, almost as if they were so in love with the girls, or scared of the fans that rather than make directing or editing decisions, they just left ninety-seven percent of what was shot ended up in the final film. I can tell you right now, not only could at least half a dozen scenes have been cut out of the movie, but each and every scene could have been shortened by at least thirty seconds or more.

Since I think the details of this movie are what make it so bad, I am jumping into spoilers right now. My biggest problem with this film had to be the writing. Each episode of the television series had a point, maybe not a moral, but from the beginning to the end of the episode each of our fab four ladies had learned something new about each other, their relationships or the world at large. Sex & the City 2 does not do this. The film thinks it’s making a grand point about marriage but it fails epically and Carrie’s ending voice over is so non-committal and unfocused it’s dang near perfect proof that they had no idea what the point of the film was; after a gay wedding, Charlotte freaking out about motherhood and a tempting nanny, Miranda grappling with being a working Mom, and Carrie & Big dealing with not knowing how to deal with marriage the final message is basically “something different works for everyone and you just have to figure that out.” Duh is the resounding word that comes to mind.

So now lets start with the very specific things that didn’t work in this film, and let’s start at the beginning – the wedding of Anthony & Stanford. First of all, such a huge point is made by the characters and their spouses that this wedding is a WEDDING and not a GAY WEDDING is made that it becomes downright uncute and all you can think as a viewer the entire time is how very GAY this wedding is. In fact, this wedding is so incredibly over the top that for the entire fifteen minute scene it does nothing but SCREAM “you’re watching a movie!”. How over the top is it? Picture Miranda’s wedding to Steve in the little park, quaint, pretty and subdued…now picture the polar opposite of that. There is a gay mans chorus with sparkly top hats, swans & Liza is the officiates the ceremony. The only joke that works in that entire scene is one from Miranda about who when that much gay energy is in one room Liza just manifests.

We then move on to the crux of the issue with Big & Carrie. Somehow, because Big f’s up on her anniversary gift he turns it into a bigger issue. Carrie needs two days to herself to write an article for Vogue, and Big decides that should be their marriage model – two days apart a week and five days together. Sounds healthy and adjusted, and like he made an informed decision right? Totally not out of left field for a guy that in the last season of the show and the last film finally realized how badly he needed Carrie in his life and how much he loved her. Oh, and Carrie’s zest for being out on the town, totally not something Big would ever expect from Carrie right? Maybe we should send him the DVD of the show so he can get to know Carrie too.

Then of course Samantha manages to get the four of the ladies an all expenses paid trip to Abu Dhabi at a luxury resort. This takes up the majority of the movie, and let me tell you, after about twenty minutes you are wondering when the actual plot in the movie is…because it’s missing entirely from Abu Dhabi…it wasn’t in New York either, but you just kind of assumed based on the trailer and the huge build up of the girls going to the Middle East that once they got off the plane, actual plot-like things would be happening…but don’t count on it.

Once they are at the resort lots of plot-like things seem to happen. Charlotte stresses over Harry not contacting her, Carrie runs into Aiden, Miranda is a control freak, and Samantha is Samantha but with menopause and a country not in support of females or sexuality. So now I’ll focus on the characters…where the plot should be happening and moving forward.

Let’s start with Carrie. As I already said, Carrie & Big are in a strange place in their relationship. So when Carrie runs into Aiden on her girls trip she does the stupid single girl thing and goes to dinner with him, they kiss and she completely freaks out, telling Big and thus making Big freak out half a country away. I have issues with this. Number one, the way it’s staged in the movie – the kiss is totally and completely Aiden and not Carrie at all. He initiates, he’s doing the flirting, and she’s the one that stops everything and runs away; however, in the film they keep saying over and over again how it was mutual. I call foul. Then you have the final resolution when Carrie sees Big again in New York. He gives her a diamond ring – so apparently no fight or issue should actually be talked about or resolved – if you give a woman a big enough diamond it just goes away.

Then you have Samantha. Her entire plot from the opening scene revolves around how she is in menopause but with drugs has convinced her body it’s not. So when all her hormones get taken away from her at the air port she can’t do anything for the next hour of the film but complain about either being in menopause and getting old, why her libido is lacking, or why Abu Dhabi has such a problem with women and sex. She does nothing but offend the country she is visiting and it’s people OVER and OVER and OVER again – she’s a prime example of why a lot of other countries think we’re insensitive Americans and while she’s arguing about the liberated woman she sets feminism back about twenty years. It’s crass and not funny.

Then there’s Charlotte, now a mother of two with a nanny and nanny problems. Of course because no other joke seemed obvious with a nanny the writers decided to make the Irish nanny a free woman who doesn’t wear bras, so as if the fact that she were a blonde, foreign nanny weren’t enough to make her tempting to the males, Charlotte gets worried that all the males like to stare at her chest including Harry. Enter obvious plot line with the obvious resolution – in the end the nanny turns out to be a lesbian…because apparently…if you’re making a movie or a television show that’s the only think you can do with a hot nanny – make her gay. Charlotte however, does have one of the better character stories in the movie, because she at least is the stressed out mother of two young girls who is finding it hard to balance motherhood and life and the fact that she loves her family with the fact that they are stressing her out. It’s real at least.

Miranda is perhaps the best character in the film, and she is utilized the least. Miranda finally gets fed up with the new senior partner at her firm constantly shutting her down because she’s the strong woman & giving away her cases and quits. She then gets to be happy to be around Brady & Steve for a little while and in the end finds a job that actually appreciates her. I wish I could mention things that happened to her in Abu Dhabi, except that nothing seems to actually happen to her while on vacation. She just kind of plans their trip and acts as the queen of recreational activities.

The one scene in the entire film that actually worked was a scene between Miranda & Charlotte. The two have a little night in when Miranda realizes the internal mom-battle going on with Charlotte and actually makes her vent to her via a little mom bonding and drinking. Other than that, I can’t tell you another scene that I actually liked.

What’s really strange about Sex & the City 2 is that I can’t say it was completely unwatchable…it just wasn’t worth my time. I didn’t like it, I probably won’t watch it again, but I at least saw the spectacle once. I just really, really wish so much time and money had been used on a better movie – one that at least made sense. This was a sequel made for the sake of making one, and the desire to capitalize on box office dollars. All I can say, is at least it was only number 3 at the box office this weekend…maybe they won’t make Sex & the City 3.

My friend Erin also wrote a pretty entertaining review of Sex & the City 2 from across the pond, so take a read and you’ll know it wasn’t just American women that were upset with this sequel for sequel sake.

Director & Writer: Michael Patrick King
Carrie: Sarah Jessica Parker
Samantha: Kim Catrall
Miranda: Cynthia Nixon
Charlotte: Kristen Davis

No comments: