Sex and the City 2 – Fighting Back at the Backlash

by Katie on May 29, 2010

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That’s it! Take umbrage sisters! Enough already with the negativity, snobbery and the slating of ‘les girls’ and the Sex and the City 2 movie. What did you expect? Proust? I’m looking particularly at YOU, Andrew O’Hagan of The Evening Standard and your hyperbole of bile review which was less review and definitely sounding more misogyny and dare I say it, ageist misogyny at that. (http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/film/review-23839220-sex-and-the-city-2-is-ugly-on-the-inside.do).

It’s not a well kept secret that the franchise lost it’s controversial and incisive edge a while back. It was already showing signs of that by the time we got to season 6 in the TV series and the last movie certainly didn’t leave us thinking, “Hell, that was so cutting edge and right on, it was like Andrea Dworkin meets Shere Hite with Vogue’s Anna Wintour thrown in.” But the vitriol and the hatred that the SATC2 movie has drummed up by way of film critics and experts says a lot more about the state of feminism and just how women are viewed in 2010 than the movie ever could.

The reviews often descend into ‘stupid women’ name-calling and ‘how could they?’ to the anger of ‘they’ve let us down by changing’ but basically, at heart, the wrath is down to the fact that this is utter dross for stupid, fluffy women. As well as covert anti feminist mysogyny, the reviews highlight just how far removed the critics are from the audience and their understanding of them.

On Thursday night, as part of the favoured group of the first to see, I took my seat in the plebby 2nd showing at the theatre in Leicester Square, alongside thousands of limp corsaged excited competition winners, bottom of the heap reviewers and industry office workers. Glamorous it was not but the place was oestrogen fuelled and with a electric air of excitement that I haven’t seen since I was a kid and ‘Stars Wars’. As the opening credits rolled and the music started, the place erupted into whoops, screams and applause. The girls were back and oh how they are worshipped! While the cynical rolled their eyes and hid their embarrassement at the audience’s reaction, I for one was delighted. This was a movie for ordinary women with a sense of humour and fun, who like to be transported to a super glamorous world and see that these very women have the same insecurities and foibles as they do. SATC devotees aren’t stupid vacant androids with no sense of context. They know that it’s pretty much like OD’ing on too many cupcakes but they love it just the same. Possibly with the same devotion of men who support minor division football clubs like Accrington Stanley, Grimsby Town or Stenhousemuir FC. So it’s with genuine outrage that I’m fighting back on behalf of the ordinary women.

Yes, we know that along with the glamorous setting of SATC2 and the still prevalent brilliant one-liners of Michael Patrick King that this is sheer fantasy, that the women have changed to become the very women they themselves slated in TV series 1 & 2 but don’t we all change with age? While still being ourselves, don’t we want other things with advancing years (and I’m not talking the shift from Chanel to Celine handbags)? Is ageing such a terrible crime? It is according to Mr O’Hagen as you obviously shouldn’t want sex, fantasy or escapism without thinking through the proper morality of the narrative – yeah, just like men do with the James Bond franchise and you don’t see people pointing the finger of continuing sexism, immorality and irresponsibility in this day and age at HIM. But back to the storyline:-

Yes, Samantha is still sex obsessed but it’s more a statement of her still having ‘it’ while going through the hated menopause. Charlotte is still Miss Preppy Prim and is battling feelings of inadequacy with her role as Perfect Housewife. Miranda doesn’t (as oft reported) give up her job to be with her family…it’s because some arse of a new boss is making her life hell and is intent on subjective bullying. (I hear you sister having been there myself). Miranda realises that she can’t put up with this any longer and wants to re find herself and her fun and elects to be with her family for a while. Hey ho. The relief is palpable. By the movie’s end, you see Miranda in a more comfortable lawyer’s role where she’s getting back to her roots. And Carrie, the girl who has everything, doesn’t know how to ‘be’ in her marriage of two years. She’s torn between wanting the excitement and sparkle of her single life and the comfort and security of Big. YES, we know these girls are a niche percentage of women, all have domestic help, lives of great advantage and financial security but their feelings are no different from Tracey from Essex or Helen from Edinburgh. Take away the ridiculous setting of impossible wealth in Abu Dhabi and the cultural ignorance, the private jet, the Upper East side apartments and the positions of power and women still relate to them.

Plus it’s one uberfest of designer fashion, brilliant styling, cutting camp one liners, brand names and Liza with a Zee who steals the movie. In essence, pure toffee coated escapism with sprinkles.

Women can be intelligent and fickle at the same time. It often takes great effort.
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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Ondo Lady May 29, 2010 at 10:54 am

At last someone who knows what they are talking about. Sex and the City did indeed lose its soul in the last series; Big finally realising that he loved Carrie and Samantha settling down. Also the show became more of a fashion show but we all lapped it up because it was coming to an end and we all wanted a happy ending. Sex and the City: The Movie is an extension of the 6th series and the saturation that had settled in. When I saw it the first time I could not get my head round it but a few views later and I finally got what it was about and I like it as a Sex and the City film. Sex and the City 2 did nothing for me but I have been taken aback by the vicious reviews that I have been reading and Andrew O’Hagan’s totally over the top review really put the nail in the coffin. Talk about insulting to women and since when was O’Hagan a fan for women’s rights or the portrayal of Muslim culture? What I have been reading is nothing more than women bashing. You are right, no one blinks an eye lid when another James Bond movie is released and if that is not full of misogynistic and sexist images then what is?

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Cherie City May 29, 2010 at 11:01 am

You’re right, it is pure fantasy. The problem with the films is that the first one was too drab and sulking and this one is just over the top but without really wowing.
The fury over the film is a but ridiculous, even my boyfriend said it was hilarious in places, but it just seemed a bit soulless.
I could bang on about the film all day, so I’ll stop there. Maybe soulless is my verdict.

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VexintheCity May 29, 2010 at 5:42 pm

I loved the first film. The second was a bit silly. Funny in parts, but towards the end, the high jinx antics fell flat for me. Loads will love it, loads will hate it. Whatever. No need for a third film as the writers have obviously run out of ideas now. I still have fond memories whenever I watch a series episode.

SJP’s still counting her $$$$ in the bank either way! Kerching!

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Rollergirl June 1, 2010 at 10:30 pm

I enjoyed it for what it was – a chick flick. Yes it descended into Carry On farce towards the end but guess what? I LOVE Carry On. So stick it, critics!

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RedlegsinSoho June 4, 2010 at 10:04 am

You are quite right on the misogyny front, think of all those dumb American comedies about dumber men grappling with their inadequacies. Those films are endearing and make stars of chaps like Ben Stiller.
Pfaff!
Minn x

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WendyB June 5, 2010 at 3:08 am

I had exactly your experience for SATC2 with a theater full of happy people clapping and laughing and having a good time! I thought it was much funnier than the first movie (though the TV show is better than both, IMO). I was inspired to write about the misogyny of the critics after the first one came out, despite my being not-too-thrilled with the movie myself: http://wendybrandes.com/blog/2008/06/sexism-and-city/

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