A word, please.
Let’s get one thing straight. I love Sex and the City more than you and most other women. But now, an admission: I agree with every negative review that’s been written about Sex and the City 2.
There’s really no way of getting around it. It was a really bad movie. And I know it was bad. I’m not going to get into the specifics of every single one of its failures (but feel free to go here to read our own Thomas Leupp’s review of it). I agree with it.
But I’m stuck between a rock-hard rock and a harder-than-hard place.
I (and loads of other women, I imagine) spent six seasons loving every shopping spree, every horrible blind date, and every lustful rendezvous in silk sheets. Each detail of the series resonated with us, and that’s because they were stories from our lives just as much as they were from Carrie’s, Charlotte’s, Miranda’s and Samantha’s lives. The similarities we felt towards the characters bonded us to the show in a surprisingly strong and intimate way, so when it was time for the series to end, it was hurtful. We were afraid of what its absence would bring. We knew there’d never be another show like it (we knew that), and the finality of that made the series finale and the series as a whole much heavier in significance.
When the first Sex and the City film came out, it was a joyous occasion. We’d spent the last four years cooking the DVD box sets in spoons and shooting them into our veins, and we were thrilled when the time came for us to get something different and new, but soothingly the same. The characters were instantly recognizable, as were their jokes, witty exchanges and misfortunes. The writing was good and exactly what we wanted. Overall, it worked because it was the perfect balance between what we saw in the series and new events that had happened in the four years since the finale aired.
Right when the credits started rolling, we felt ebullient. It was a well-constructed movie, filled with the same shenanigans that hooked us to the series in the first place. I don’t remember what the critics thought, mainly because it didn’t matter to me. I wasn’t concerned with how it would hold up in the ring against a Martin Scorsese classic because that wasn’t what it set out to do. Its purpose was to give fans more of what they loved.
After Sex and the City had the biggest opening ever for an R-rated comedy, executives obviously started talking about making another. Then they actually started shooting it, and we saw the girls walking outside of Bergdorf's in horrible '80s style threads and Samantha in a wedding dress! There was no doubt in our minds it was going to be better than the first movie. They went to Abu Dhabi (also known as Morocco). How could it not be good?
Easily, because it's terrible. IT’S ALL OVER THE PLACE! Carrie’s turned into an incessant whiner and Samantha’s menopause is hyperbolic. There’s not really much wrong with Miranda and Charlotte. In fact, I think the two of them talking about the difficulties of motherhood is the best scene in the movie, next to Liza Minnelli’s rendition of “Single Ladies.” But in general, it’s painfully unrealistic and most of the scenes have no point. The best parts are ones that reference the series – like Carrie’s print dress, watching Big in his limo, and Samantha rehashing her line, “We’re soul mates.” This indicates the characters went as far as they could go in the series. But in an effort to keep trucking along on the quest to satiate the fans, the second movie was made. Unfortunately, as a result, the characters are pushed so far they’re completely unlikeable in it.
This complete disaster is especially interesting because when HBO announced the series would end after its sixth season, Sarah Jessica Parker clarified they wanted to go out on a high note, and not “be the last ones to leave the party” because “it’s a sad ending if you stay too long.” It seems that’s precisely what has happened here.
HOWEVER! There’s still an inflated part of this raft. If you’re a fan of Sex and the City, (the series and the first movie) you’ll enjoy watching the movie, even though it’s worse than staring at a frostbitten toe for two-and-a-half hours. The fact of the matter is in the minds of the devotees, any Sex and the City is good Sex and the City. It just is. There’s no reason for this, but it’s possible the series was just so brilliant, we’re obligated to sit through the worst of the worst just on the hope and possibility we’ll get more material to love. If it doesn’t pan out, it doesn’t pan out. It’s definitely important to note the ways in which the movie resembles a dehydrated slug, which everyone and their uncle is writing about now. But they’re missing one important thing: that it’s the flame to us moths, and we just can’t help ourselves.