He Said/She Said Reviews of Sex and the City 2

Like Big vs. Carrie, our movie review face-off pits Man (our regular movie blogger Aaron Mettey) against Woman (guest writer Christine Speer)

Okay, n(y)erd spoiler alert: They are not in Purgatory. While the Smoke Monster—aka Kim Cattrall’s Samantha—is able to get the Manhattanites off the island, no evil is unleashed … unless you think clothes have the capacity for evil (which I do). Jacob—aka Kristin Davis’s Charlotte—does her annoying best to tell the other islanders what to do. And though Aidan does show up in Abu Dhabi, Sarah Jessica Parker’s Carrie—I don’t know: Jack? Sayid?—is not reconnecting with her past before moving on. Yes, I know this isn’t Lost. Yet as I sat through the 2.5 hours of Sex and the City 2 (also the running time of Lost’s series finale this past Sunday), I couldn’t help but wish for a Dharma polar bear to attack.

Plain and simple, SATC2 (rated R) is a mess. It is a bloated sitcom in search of a movie plot. With the inexcusable running time, we are forced to watch a 10-minute scene where the women are given a tour of their (underwhelming) hotel. We are accosted with a karaoke scene—a karaoke scene!—with the women singing “I Am Woman.” I wish I were joking. To make the scene even more ridiculous, the director ensured that women of every race and ethnicity were present and singing along. What? They couldn’t find an Inuit woman?

While the television show provided its strong characters with intelligent dialogue, the script of the latest offering is, at times, embarrassing. Here are some gems: “mid-wife crisis,” “inter-friend-tion,” and, my personal favorite line, “We’ve got a lot of Abu Dhabi to do. Abu Dhabi doo!” The show, while entertaining, was revolutionary in its blatant examination of sexual roles and sexuality. With SATC2, unfortunately, the time may have passed for these characters. While once brave and radical, the actions of these caricatures now seems forced and, sometimes, culturally insensitive. They are simply hangers, existing to wear clothes.

It has been 10 years since Carrie Bradshaw was first seen typing on her Mac. It is time for the characters to move on into the light. My Grade: D+

Biggest Surprise: That, apparently, a piece of jewelry can solve all of life’s ills.
Best or Worst Line: Worst — “We’ve got a lot of Abu Dhabi to do. Abu Dhabi doo!”
Sam’s Slutty Factor (1-10): 8.9.
Best Clothes: Probably Liza Minelli’s back-up dancers who were dressed exactly like her.
Most Ridiculous Clothes: Two words—camel outfits.
Should a Woman Bring Her Boyfriend? Yes, if he’s a huge Liza Minelli fan.

I’ll admit it: The previews for Michael-Patrick King’s SATC2 totally reeled me in. That familiar riff down the xylophone, the parade of couture, that slow-mo moment where the music stops and—eee!—there’s Aidan! I mean, yeah, I saw SATC the first, and yes, I remember the plot holes and that scripted banter that felt—bam-bam-bam!—about as subtle as a machine gun. (Weren’t we all a tad disappointed after six years of such great TV?) And yet. In the end, I basically got what I wanted from it: Big and Carrie, together. Charlotte, babied up. Samantha, herself, and Miranda, finally happy. Plus a whole smorgasbord of clothes.

So it goes with SATC2—it was never going to be Citizen Kane. So it’s set in Abu Dhabi? Okay. So people are wearing Dior while atop camels? Whatevs. So everyone acts as if Carrie’s various headpieces aren’t totally batshit crazy? Fine. I’ll suspend reality, King, if you deliver even a sliver of the characters (and relevance and wit) we fell for a decade ago.

He doesn’t make it easy. In place of dialogue are enough one-liners to choke a stand-up comedian; instead of situational humor, cloying puns. (“Abu Dhabi doo!” Miranda screeches, mortifyingly.) It’s distracting. As are—I’m sorry to admit—the constant costume changes. I love the clothes, I do. But it’s just unreasonable to ask us to believe that anyone on a safari in the middle of the desert (in harem pants, naturally) would change into couture for a picnic in the sand. It’s no real surprise that clothes end up playing a bigger role than most of the cast, but I was bummed that everyone—save Carrie—came off so one-dimensional, like dumbed-down caricatures of their characters. (Samantha, the sexy one; Miranda, the smart one; blah blah blah.) And I’m not even going to touch the portrayal of Middle Easterners in this movie.

I wanted to like it. I did like a handful of moments—in particular, one scene between Miranda and Charlotte was refreshingly believable, and sweet. And even the nuttiest of clothing ensembles (of which there are many) are still pretty awesome. But I can’t help but wonder (stealing your line, Carrie!) if maybe the best end to something we loved as much as SATC is its actual end. Not that I won’t totally still be going to see SATC3. My Grade: C-

Biggest Surprise: Liza Minnelli. Singing Beyonce. Weird … and kinda awesome.
Best or Worst Line: Best — There was a very charming line from Anthony, of all people, about how he’s glad someone “loves me for the man I actually am.” Sniff.
Sam’s Slutty Factor (1-10): 11. It gets awkward.
Best Clothes: Ooooh, lots! Carrie’s sparkly gold Louboutins in the opening scenes; Miranda’s silk patterned dresses; Carrie’s red Halston on the beach; bib necklaces!
Most Ridiculous Clothes: Ooooh, lots. Carrie’s head’s tribute to the wicked queen in Snow White (part crown, part hat = crat?); Samantha’s spiky-shouldered red dress by Phillipe and David Blonde. Like, deadly.
Should a Woman Bring Her Boyfriend? Not her straight one.