Wednesday, 2 June 2010

What A Carrie On

Just like most twenty, thirty, forty and fifty something women, I was unbelievably excited about the second Sex And The City film. Having been a fan ever since my teens and knowing each episode word for word (much to the annoyance of my other half), the prospect of enjoying another two and a half hours in the company of my surrogate friends, Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte and Miranda, was one I have looked forward to for months.

From the trailer, it looked set to be a girlie romp in the Abu Dhabi dessert, a glamorous combination of camels and cocktails. With the tease of a wedding and the reappearance of fan-dividing past-love Aidan, it seemed that this film would have a lot to offer.

As the familiar theme music began, I couldn’t help but wonder… was this film going to be fabulous, fashion-overload or a farce?

Sadly, I was not the only person in either of the two cinema outings I went to over the launch weekend to audibly sigh with disappointment into my popcorn when the lights went up. I had refused to listen to the critics beforehand who poured scorn on this second cinematic outing; after all, any time in the SATC world would be a fun time surely?

However, to my mind, there were two clear problems with the film; a lack of real story for each of the characters and a rather disconcerting feeling of it all turning into a modern day Carry On film.

The ever questioning Carrie worries about becoming ‘too married’, with itchy feet two years on from marrying her true love Mr Big. So, when she meets Aidan in the Abu Dhabi market, everyone was on the edge of their seat anticipating a steamy affair. Alas, this twist was reduced to just a kiss, and after confessing all to Big, she is rewarded with a black diamond to remind her she is married. What a tough penance to pay.

Meanwhile, Miranda struggles with a new boss, Charlotte struggles with a crying two-year old and a braless nanny and Samantha struggles with the menopause by taking ever pill and potion know to man. It may sound like this is quite a lot to cram in but none of this is explored at real length and don’t even get me started on the men, who share a few meagre lines between themselves with the exception of Big.

However, this lack of depth all pales in comparison with the uncomfortably un-PC representation of Abu Dhabi and the country’s attitudes to women and relationships. Now, I know that being ‘politically correct’ can often be a bone of contention, but the way in which this culture is depicted is often stereotypical and the reaction of our four favourite women to the rules of the country verges on insulting (particularly when Samantha waves condoms in the faces of Muslim men in the market and simulates having sex. A touch too far perhaps?) Yes, the other women look suitably concerned with the predicament they are in, but when they bump into a group of women who hide their designer label clothes under their burkas, the film then transforms into a complete farce (I was willing to turn a blind eye to Liza Minelli singing Beyonce’s ‘Single Ladies’ at Stanford’s wedding at the beginning of the film) . To flee the maddening crowd, the SATC girls disguise themselves in burkas, at which point I honestly expected Sid James to pop up.

Instead of exploring the facets of each character, all four ladies are turned into caricatures of their former selves, with costume changes averaging every 3 minutes, turning the film into a fashion show. I was more anticipating the next outfit than the next witty remark and this is a letdown because it means that every person who rolls their eyes when you say you are going to see Sex And The City is right about the stereotype.

For me, SATC was a sharp, witty and refreshing TV series and a fun, fabulous and emotionally wrought film and will always be dear to my heart. So much so, I am having Carrie’s ‘He was the end of her endings’ poem read at my wedding and will be going on the tour in New York on our honeymoon, with a picture of me sitting outside her apartment waiting for Mr Big to pick me up due to have pride of place in my hallway.

I have no doubt that the film will be a commercial success, which will no doubt lead to Michael Patrick King rubbing his hands together at the prospect of a third cinematic outing for our favourite four leading ladies (after all, how many films stick at just two? Most are tempted to become a trilogy). If this were to be the case I no doubt would succumb to my SATC addiction and rush out to buy my tickets.

However, as much as it pains me to say this, I think I would rather leave Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte and Miranda in New York now, ever wondering what real love means over a cosmo or two.


  1. I'm in absolute agreement! The film was so very painful and childish. I've often lampooned Friends for never moving their characters beyond a 16-year-old level of maturity, but even worse, SATC2 regressed theirs! The plot was so thin as to be embarassing.

    Though my experience with the UAE is that the depictions of the attitudes were accurate, isn't it a bit tacky to say so? I wouldn't do a film set in Mexico and rant on and on about the abject poverty in a critical way (oh god, POOR people!). I did laugh my head off at Samantha's nut case sex rant, however.

    The men in the film were mere foils - not to a female's interesting growth or challenges, but to their egos and vapid nothingness.

    Yes, SATC2 was a major disappointment, and I hope, unlike the Police Academy films, they stop before it's too late.

  2. It certainly did seem to be a regression rather than a progression.

    I completely agree that even if a culture is a certain way, using this as the source of much of the jokes / attention is a rather sensitive matter.

    With all of this said, I'll still probably get the DVD to complete my collection. If you take a step back and see the film for what it was - a ridiculous romp - I'm sure I'll enjoy it in the future but I think it was a victim of it's own success. It simply had too much to live up to in the eyes of its fans.