Sex and the City 2 is bad

Let’s get one thing straight – I didn’t want to see this movie.  My aversion was not because I thought it would be bad – I try to have an open mind – but because I was simply not interested in a story about middle-aged women coming to grips with the fact that they are middle-aged.  Unfortunately, I saw it anyway.

And it was bad.

First, there is no plot. This movie uses a Seinfeld-esque methodology in that a lot goes on, but nothing really happens.  This would be fine if we were still living in 1998, and I were talking about a 30 minute sitcom.  But this is a movie – a very long movie – and I generally expected that something would happen.

Next, the messages that this movie sends are deplorable:

  • We have woman #1 who is clearly getting bored with her two-year marriage. In her words, it has lost its sparkle, because she wants to go out partying on a Monday night while her husband would prefer to stay home and relax.  She ends up taking a few days to live away from her husband (in her old apartment which she has apparently kept fully furnished despite being married for two years), and when she comes back she gets upset that her husband wants to be able to do the same thing once in a while.  Somehow, checking out of the relationship for two days was just fine when she wanted to do it, but not when he wants to.  Then woman #1 goes to the United Arab Emirates where she purposely entices and kisses an old boyfriend – a man who has been married for years and has three kids.  Make no mistake, she does purposely entice the old flame, and while this certainly doesn’t let him off the hook, it at least puts her on it with him.  After all of this, woman #1 tells her husband what happened, and how does he respond?  He buys her an enormous diamond ring, which she must wear as punishment! What? How is that punishment?
  • We also have woman #2 who is having so much trouble taking care of her two children that she hires a full-time nanny.  She hires the nanny, but when everyone points out that this nanny is hot and doesn’t wear a bra, woman #2 gets worried that her husband is going to cheat on her.  But in the end she finds she had nothing to worry about because the nanny is a lesbian. Huh? So she doesn’t actually trust her husband, or the nanny – she just figures they won’t have sex because of clashing sexual preferences?
  • Then we have woman #3, who is so completely liberated as a woman that she goes well beyond the realm of equality and into basic indecency.  We are supposed to laugh because she does all sorts of indecent things in the UAE that supposedly embarrass and enrage the highly conservative culture.  The problem is, most of what she does would embarrass and enrage people in Manhattan too.  I won’t go into the gory details, but I can assure you that if she was acting that way at a restaurant table next to mine, I would be just as angry and far less restrained in my response than the caricatured Muslim people in this movie.
  • Finally, we have woman #4 who has a terrible job that pays buckets of money but keeps her from spending time with her family.  So what is the solution?  She quits and finds another job that is equally fulfilling, but less demanding.  This is of course the obvious and sensible thing to do, but for some reason she is made to seem like a hero.  I’m sorry, she’s not a hero – she’s a normal, sensible person.  The writers were clearly trying to use the “inequality for women in the workplace” card here, but it fails.  Why?  Because she isn’t your basic underpaid, overworked, single parent stuck in a dead-end job.  She is a highly paid lawyer who happens to have a crappy boss.  She doesn’t need to courageously quit her job – she knows that she can find another job, and has more than enough money to keep her going in the mean time.

Even ignoring all this, the movie is one long homage to luxurious American excess.  The four women go on vacation for a week and each one gets their own butler and car – while they stay in a suite that is supposedly $22,000 a night. Plus it seems that they each have a new outfit for each hour of the day – none of which are respectful of the culture they are in.

There are definitely some funny moments in this movie, and there is a long scene in a karaoke bar that is clearly meant to be a woman power moment.  Unfortunately, they are all completely overshadowed because of the incredibly unlikable women involved.

This movie is about offensiveness for its own sake – a goal that makes even less sense coming from a middle-aged woman comedy than it does from a teen comedy.

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