Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Sex and the City 2 (2010)

I was devastated, hopeless, heartbroken and unsure where to turn to for help. When my boyfriend of three years broke up with me, the first call I made was to my best friend. When I finally got to see her face-to-face, we turned to another old friend to help me deal--vodka. When that didn't work for me, my bff pulled out a velvet, pink box set. It was every episode of Sex and the City ever made. She advised me to treat it as the bible and to return it once I feel better. I went through it, and disc-by-disc I watched every episode. She was right. When it comes to heartbreak and relationships, Sex and the City gets IT.

On one occasion, I watched an episode with another friend, who was rightfully tired of my moping around over a guy she rightfully thought was not worth the tears. Together we watched the episode when Miranda doesn't understand why Carrie is such a sap when it comes to Mr. Big. By the end of the episode, Miranda had a lot more sympathy for Carrie. As did my good friend, who reached out to me and told me to "take all the time I need to heal".

The effect that SatC has on women is not only unprecedented, but more importantly, it is positive and uplifting. For these, and so many other reasons, SatC has my heart and can do no wrong in my eyes. But at the same time, as the show has taught me, no one is perfect and everyone makes mistakes.

In Sex and the City 2 there are a lot of mistakes that are made. Yes, the puns, the fashion, the laughs, the friendships are all there, but one crucial thing is missing--a good plot. In the series, as well as the first movie, there is a lot of mention of the honorary fifth lady--N.Y.C. The city is what compliments all the sex. It represents a sort of playground for the four ladies to play in. It has hope, romance, men, love, opportunities, and friendships. It is also overcrowded, overpriced, harsh and fast-paced, and at times crushes the same dreams it inspired you to have. So, it's almost no wonder that when the ladies are taken out of NYC they are left with just sex. And for most women, just sex doesn't cut it.

While still in NY all four ladies encounter a new set of age-appropriate problems: Carrie (who always wanted to end up with Big) feels bored in her marriage; Miranda (who always put career first) is dealing with a sexist boss that overworks her; Samantha (who never let her age stop her, especially when it comes to sex) is dealing with fear of menopause; Charlotte (who always wanted to be a mother) is not sure if she can handle taking care of two kids. The set up is there for a story that covers all the bases of being a woman, but once the girls board their first-class plane to Abu Dhabi the movie takes a horrible nose dive. Once the plane lands, the four friends are no longer face-to-face with the problems in their lives, they are left to just talk about them. Without the action and conformation with their problems, the talking shortly turns to whining.

As they whine, the two major plot points for the movie unravel (SPOILERS). Carrie runs into Aidan. They discuss their marriages and then decide to kiss. Meanwhile, Samantha finally finds a man who she believes can make her feel sexy and young again. What's interesting is that all this takes place in a country where it is apparent that kissing (or even hand holding in public) is against the law. What's uninteresting is the way the movie handles it. Yes, it is comical when Samantha gets caught with a bag full of condoms and starts yelling at the Muslim men that, yes, she has sex. But, whether you agree with their ways or not, it is disrespectful to their culture (you wouldn't go to the Vatican and yell about the issues with Catholicism). Meanwhile, the kiss between Carrie and Aidan doesn't lead to anything else, except for Carrie moping around (as she whines some more) for the rest of their stay in the country.

The problem, in my opinion, is that it is hard to feel any sympathy for the ladies--or even empathy. Hence, you can never truly relate to their problems. While the average woman is bombarded with talk of a recession, the fab four are out on an all-expenses paid trip where they each have their own personal butlers. While the average mom is dealing with balancing time for themselves and time with their kids, Charlotte is complaining about her live-in nanny. While the average working girl stresses whether she can afford to quit her job, Miranda celebrates by spending some time with family and then taking off on a girls' trip. While the average woman in her 50s is dealing with how to be sexy in her age, Samantha is busy denying her age. And while the average newlywed woman works on keeping her marriage happy, Carrie complains that her husband wants to stay in and watch old movies with her. Although, after she cheats, she does get “punished”--with an engagement ring from Big. It all makes you wonder about how a TV show that started out with a premise to represent the average woman, did a 180 and became the representation of the larger-than-life woman.

With all that said, seeing the movie was still a lot of fun. And it did have many charming moments on-screen that reminded me why I love these ladies in the first place. It was sexy, it was at times honest, and of course it was about the importance of friendships. As most girls, my friends and I got dressed up, drank cosmos and laughed all the way. I can't think of another movie that would have this kind of effect. And after all, there are still those pink velvet sets of the series to turn to and hopefully a third movie to come.


Amy said...

Zina, I too shared in your disappointment while watching this movie. You were even a little kinder than I feel. You are exactly right, it was missing any sort of story/plot, it was also missing sex! Samantha bookends the movie with her romp at the wedding and then her romp on the beach and that's it! I care less about that more more about the fact that they turned superficial characters that we all loved and fought for and felt for into simply 4 superficial women. Such a sad day...

Zina said...

Thank you, Amy! I was worried some women might hate me for bashing it!

Superficial is a great way to describe it... right on!

I am still hoping for a third one!

JMoCrow said...

Actually, Carrie's storyline with Big was the only one that worked for me because I think this is a very common issue for the average married woman. The real problem is what you point out next--that rather than really facing what Carrie had done, her so-called "punishment" is coming home to receive the gorgeous “engagement” ring that she’s always secretly longed for.

I had a lot of fun watching it, but ultimately, it's just sort of a let-down from the characters & story-lines we came to know and love in the series.

Joy said...

Not only was this movie disrespectful to the Muslim community, it was disrespectful to the gay community as well. Remember, Charlotte's nanny is no longer a threat...she likes girls! So imaginative. Likewise, OF COURSE the two gay guy friends would get married. They have always detested eachother...but they're both gay!

Zina said...

Good point, Joy! Plus, I am totally okay with the idea of having your own rules in a marriage, but if one of them is that you're allowed to cheat, what is even the point of getting married? It felt silly and seemed to be forced into the movie for convenience.

Zina said...

Jess- I agree with you that it was a good idea for Carrie's storyline. I did think that the way it was excuted was not up to par with the rest of the series. She whined about it in a way that felt really shallow, and she didn't challenge herself to solve the issue or get to the core of it.


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