Sex and the City 2: Girls just wanna have fun

Back in 2008 I saw the first Sex in the City film I thought it actually had its moments. I objected on a Busted Halo Sirius Radio interview with Fr. Dave Dwyer, CSP, that it was not a “chick flick” but had a heart-felt theme of authentic forgiveness. I don’t like the term “chick flick” because it lets men dismiss films with female leads and interests so I dared him to see it, which he did. He even invited me back on the show to chat about his thoughts on the film.

I hope that Fr. Dave doesn’t call to schedule an interview for this latest, and hopefully final, movie version of novelist’s Candace Bushnell’s fashion universe populated with four mature girl friends in Manhattan looking for love.  A popular cable show that was edited for network television, a box office smash in its first cinema incarnation, Sex in the City 2 on the big screen is a wash.

Writer director Michael Patrick King evidently found Manhattan and the story so confining that he headed for Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates. He should have left it there, drifting off in a sand storm or placed the digital hard drive on the back of a camel heading deep into the dunes. The film takes forever to update us on the ladies who are all at a turning point in their lives. But wait! They are actually still growing up!

Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker) and her husband “Mr. Big” (Chris Noth) have lost the sparkle two years after their marriage. They talk about kids but no, it’s just them. Big just wants to come home, have dinner, and watch TV; she still wants to party.  Samantha (Kim Cattrall) is deep into fighting off middle age at 52 with the help of hormones derived from Hummus and sweet potatoes;  Charlotte (Kristen Davis) is afraid her husband is falling for the gorgeous Irish nanny who cares for her two little girls; Miranda (Cynthia Nixon) the lawyer is frustrated with her job and quits to spend time with her husband and son and find something more meaningful to do.  When Samantha snags an invitation to a mega luxury resort in Abu Dhabi for the four of them, off they go.

What follows is a “spoiler” of a blemished film, despite some good lines and funny moments.

The most important thing to realize is that the film is poorly written and constructed and is just too long (at almost 2 1/2 hours). It becomes boring and the conclusion is flimsy because Carrie and Big are still focused on their own comfort.  He gets her to finally wear a wedding ring, a really big and expensive black diamond, so she will remember their marriage vows, which they never really exchanged because of what, happened in Sex in the City 1.

What made me most uncomfortable in Sex in the City 2 is the way it mocks Islamic life. Sure, according to the Western mind, there is a double standard in the Muslim culture as regards male and female relationships, but this film is so insensitive as to deeply offend those who don’t appreciate raunchy American humor. Although Charlotte continually wants the girls to cover their bare limbs out of respect, you can imagine how well this works. The film is soft porn; the couple of explicit scenes between Samantha and available males, are vulgar.  Samantha’s overtures to a male companion within sight of Muslim males made the audience laugh, true, but this does not validate the filmmaker’s bad taste. But what does he care? He’s laughing all the way to the bank.

The filmmaker’s gay gag runs throughout the film, beginning with a “marriage” between two of Carrie’s guy friends, the servants at the resort, and the revelation that Charlotte doesn’t need to worry about the nanny poaching her husband; Erin prefers other nannies.

To be fair, housewives, professional women, indeed everyone, can get burnout or become insecure in relationships; we all question our life choices at one moment or another. It is sometimes good to get away, to take a break. The recurring conversation about fidelity is always a good one to have (the two gay men joke that they only have to be faithful in the states that recognize their marriage.) I would like to say that fidelity is the main theme of the film, but it is in competition with getting to the plane on time so the girls don’t have to give up their individual luxury berths in First Class and fly coach like the rest of us mortals.

Sex in the City 2 is a farce and viewers know it.  It is hard to sympathize with Charlotte who cries in the pantry when her daughters are out of control (one won’t stop crying and the other plants frosted handprints on the rear of her vintage slacks) because she is so rich and can afford a gorgeous Irish nanny. True, she and Samantha offer a toast to moms who do not have nannies; so sweet of them.

Carrie runs into Aiden (John Corbett), a former boy friend, at the souk (market). They have dinner and share a kiss.  She feels terribly guilty. She calls Big and confesses, which is how the filmmaker was able to actually bring the film to a conclusion.

Sex in the City 2 is overdone, overwrought, and much ado about very little; even fashion takes a hit. The filmmaker’s creed is what Cyndi Lauper (and now Myley Cyrus who makes a cameo in the film along with Penelope Cruz) sings about: “Girls just wanna have fun.”

Sex in the City 2 is what a completely secular life looks like as produced by the Hollywood fantasy machine.  It’s selfish and superficial, but this is an eternal source of material for humorists. Charlotte and Miranda are moving ahead, Carrie is stuck in a vacuum, and Samantha, well, she and Peter Pan have a lot in common. The joke is getting really old.

Come to think of it, this would make a good radio interview.  Busted Halo: call me.

  • Libby

    Haven’t seen SATC 2 yet, but regarding your comment about SATC 1; the message of the main story line between Big and Carrie was quite relevant in these shameful ‘Bridezilla’ days. Marriage these days is all about the big white wedding, the woman’s ‘special day’ and the marriage is an afterthought. SATC 1 firmly sent the message that the wedding isn’t the main event, it’s the union between the two, the marriage, that should be the focus of that ‘special day’.

  • Gkygrl

    Hi Sr. Rose. We, too saw SATC 1 and 2. While I have to agree with you on some points and think that mockery of the Islamic way of life was shameful writing I also think that there were real issues in the movie — such as Charlotte’s frustration with her children. Despite Nanny and all (she’s living a Manhattan lifestyle with a lawyer, they can afford it and some families can) she’s experiencing emotional crisis from different levels and doesn’t know how to deal. Whether hormones or whatever, I think the culmination of her frustration was very realistic given her lifestyle.

    The movie is complete escapism and the usage of puns were way overused. Samantha’s own journey to try to escape the aging process through bio-identicals and functional medicine. Her focus on sexuality is who she is and it is completely shallow. I didn’t think the movie was soft-porn but is was raunchy in the last scene with Samantha (very much like the unedited show on HBO). I found the first one more soft porn like with Samantha’s California Latin neighbor. I definitely liked the first one better and for me this was a complete escape and a look at acceptance of alternate lifestyles (The gay wedding) although I did not appreciate the remarks on infidelity.

    Pure escapism is all this movie was and is. Watched and soon forgotten.

  • http://www.childrentrainers.co.uk/ Josue Brackeen

    Always been a big supporter of Sex And The City. Fab film, thought that after such a gap it would be strange seeing our old friends again, but no as soon as the open credits kick in and you hear the familar voice over it’s like your four best friends have never been away.

  • http://thebizthoughts.com The Biz Thoughts

    My friend says that Sex and the City 2 is worth the watch – he loves fashion and so do I! Can’t wait to get my hands on a DVD since I missed its cinema release. It has long been my favorite series ever since it aired on HBO.

  • hideo hamaguri

    I do not like clichés any more than anyone else. You say that secular life is shallow. That is a cliche. I have to say the worst marriages, and hands down the worst behaviour I have ever endured has come from Christians. It is not that there are no decent holy living Christians out there. They exist. It is that by far, right now, it is hard to find wholesome examples that are not some recycled cliche of what the real church is. Secular people find meaning in many things including family, work, sport and other pursuits. They may be blind but not without purpose. Jesus made it clear he can deal with the cold (hard unvelievers), the hot (real believers). The middle is where the problem is. Both in the world and Christendom. The middle is where all the problems are. The lukewarm. I preferr the cold humanist anyday to the believer that is a pseudo christian. At least when I am insulted by the humanist I know he means it, he is not wishy washy. Even Paul had to thank the heathens and unbelievers. Secular/Christian all have to come to terms with relationships, success failure etc. To judge a secular movie about secular people, living secular lives and call them shallow is simply ridiculous. We are all shallow at time, but deep inside we have the same fundamental needs. We need love acceptance and purpose. The church is pointing the finger but there are ten fingers pointing back. The answer is simple. If we want to change anything we have to be better than the world at it. At the moment we are not. We once were. 12 Men toppled the Roman empire with our words. We can barely hold our marriages together in spite of infinite counselling, lots of singing etc.. If we want real change we need real commitment. All else is an exercise in academia, just like all these reviews.

    • http://SisterRoseHomepage.com sisterrose

      I don’t believe any of the secular “virtues” and “attributes” you mention are evident in “Sex and the City 2″ thus it’s not even a good story (# 1 had these elements). This is its most severe failing.


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