Well, I finally saw it. This might get ranty. Sorry. Also, this will be pretty spoilerific. I can't rant without giving things away.
I have to admit that I didn't have high hopes for the film from the start. The last film started to turn the characters that I loved from the TV show into cartoonish caricatures and the sequel pushed this further than I thought was possible. Also, how airbrushed it the poster?!
The film opens with a gay wedding so filled with cliche it's ridiculous. Of course, Liza Minelli turns up in a cameo so embarrassing someone should have been fired for convincing her it was a good idea. Here she is in all her "not exactly sure what day it is and what she's doing" glory.
The basic premise of the film is that Samantha is wonderful and successful and earns and all expenses paid trip to Abu Dhabi. Because her 3 best friends have problems, they decide to join here. Here, with photographic evidence, are their problems.
Carrie is annoyed that her husband prefers take-away and black and white movies to going out on the town, The last straw comes when he buys her a TV for their anniversary. The "sparkle" has gone, apparently. The fact that her husband is in his 50's and, when asked, does actually go out and do the things she wants, doesn't seem to make any difference.
Miranda has a mean boss and never sees her son's achievements at school, so she quits her job. Sorry girls, it seems you can't have a job and be a good mother.
Charlotte has 2 children, one of whom puts jammy hand prints on her Valentino trousers while they're baking cupcakes. She is finding having 2 children difficult, even with the help of a full time nanny. She also thinks Harry might be interested in the nanny as she has big boobs and doesn't wear a bra. The fact that Harry seems as lovely as ever, in his 2 scenes, has no effect on her.
Money seems to be the 5th character in this film. In the world of the films, all 4 women are uber-rich. Carrie and Big have a second apartment, because the markets are bad. Miranda can quit her job without even considering the financial implications. Every opportunity to show some ostentation is taken, whether that is with the plane ride, the homes, the jewels, the hotel or the clothes.
Ah, the clothes. I thought that if all else failed, I'd at least get to see some pretty clothes. I was kind of disappointed. A feature of the show was that they all had their own styles. There was a character we could identify with. Carrie, the most adventurous, Samantha the sex kitten, Charlotte the Park Avenue princess and Miranda with her glamorous work wear. In the film, they are indistinguishable from one another, each wearing the most avant-garde creations in the strangest of settings.
Carrie wears this to go shopping in a souk for example. In the show they had off-duty clothes. They hung around the house in sweat pants and we loved the clothes because we thought we might find something in a charity shop that was similar. There are a few lovely outfits though, most from Halston Heritage, which SJP is involved in. Maybe it's a cunning advertising strategy. Make everything else ridiculous so your clothes look better. Here's one of the pretty dresses.
Back to the film. The girls go to Abu Dhabi where most of the really offensive stuff takes place.
Carrie, once again, gets advice from a non-white 'servant' and rewards them financially.
Samantha refuses to cover up her body, despite knowing that it causes offense in that country. She then gets arrested for 'kissing' a man on the beach after offending a whole restaurant full of people.
Charlotte and Miranda have a frank conversation about mother-hood, which actually feels like a scene that could have appeared in the TV show... until it's ruined by wondering how on earth people who can't afford nannies manage it.
The film attempts to say something about female empowerment, mainly through a screeching rendition of 'I am Woman' in karaoke bar and laughing at women in Burkini's.
The final act of the film involves a chase to the airport. Will they get there on time? Not for the flight though, just for the first class seats. This is actually meant to cause tension for the audience. The thought of flying with the regular folks is just too terrifying apparently.
What follows on the way to the airport are the two most ridiculous and offensive scenes. In the first, the call to prayer sounds so all the men begin to move through the market on their way to mosque. At this moment, Samantha's bag breaks and condoms fall onto the ground. She starts thrusting at the men in her skimpy outfit, throws condoms at them and shouts "I AM A WOMAN!" and "I HAVE SEX!" at them a lot. Her embarrassed friends have to drag her away. There are so many problems here. The first is just that the actual act is so offensive. The second though is that Samantha would never have done anything so ridiculous. Samantha, above all else, was smart. She would know how offensive that was and would not have done that. She has become a cartoon. She is the one, unmarried, that the others are ashamed of. The other girls have become the very thing they always hated, traditional and judgmental.
The second scene in this part of the film is the one where they meet some muslim women who take off their burka's to reveal they are wearing the same designer fashions as 'our' ladies. Firstly, they seem shocked the women own clothes at all, that they don't wear burka's 24 hours a day, in private as well as public. But these women are portrayed as just as consumerist and shallow as Carrie et al. Empowerment, it seems isn't doing and wearing what you want, it's owning Louis Vuitton shoes that cost more than a month's rent.
I'm not at all surprised that the film has been widely panned. I am a little surprised at where all the bile is directed though. Critics have been so harsh on the women in the film. Of course, that's to be expected but what about this guy?
This guy wrote AND directed both films. Surely he's more to blame than SJP?
I think it's time to jump off the cash cow girls.
What do you guys think?
Some interesting links
why the sex and the city reviews are sexist
Sex and the City 2: What happened to good old Sex?
Burkas and Birkins - this article by Lindy West is hilarious. She's a fab writer.