I saw, I left, I’m still reeling.
This weekend, I parted with more than two hours of my existence and $5 to see the SATC2 movie here in New York. It offended from every angle and I fear writing about the experience is adding oxygen to the bonfire of crass consumerism, woeful colonial arrogance and destructive relationship messages that is this creation.
But there are some important things to be said on the matter.
* It’s off-kilter: I think right now Americans do not want to see themselves represented as crude spenders (every scene all four of them are wearing new outfits, one more decadent and showy than the next) and arrogant tourists. In the past year or so, since the GFC and now the BP spillage, they’re self-conscious about how they’re perceived. I think we all are. Right now, we’re alive to the destruction caused by unapologetic egoic behaviour. This film is dead to it. More than dead, it’s a rotting reminder of what we’re leaving behind. Which lends the film an iota of purpose, I suppose…
* Carrie’s nagginess and neediness is really destructive to witness and to have orbiting the Zeitgeist. Women shouldn’t see such a bad representation of relationship…it’s a sour influence. There’s a scene where Carrie forces Big to go out to a ritzy red-carpet do when he’s buggered and just wants to sit on the couch and eat takeaway. My thoughts: you don’t lead horses to water and try to make them drink. You just don’t. It ends in resentment and a loss of identity. A healthy relationship involves two people living full lives travelling along next to each other, not on each other’s laps.
Carrie behaves like a little girl throughout, sooky and dependent on Big’s Oedipal presence to feel worthy. Which just GRATES with the girls’ karaoke rendition of “I Am Woman” halfway through the film. What went wrong here? What happened to the modern tale of women finding a balanced footing post-second wave feminism?
* It’s worth knowing that the Abu Dhabi government blocked filming after reading the script. Which is why it was filmed in Morocco. Can hardly blame them.
The rest is better expressed in the best review I’ve read for a long time, by Linda West at The Stranger. Read the lot. It’s fabulous writing:
We’ve been thinking it for two long years. All of us. Gnawing our cheeks at night, clutching at sweaty sheets, our faces hollow and gray, our once-bright eyes dimmed by the pain of too many questions. Sometimes we cry out, en masse, to a faceless god and a cold, indifferent universe that holds its secrets close. What… rasps the death rattle of our collective sanity. What is the lubrication level of Samantha Jones’s 52-year-old vagina? Has the change of life dulled its sparkle? Do its aged and withered depths finally chafe from the endless pounding, pounding, pounding—cruel phallic penance demanded by the emotionally barren sexual compulsive from which it hangs? If I do not receive an update on the deep, gray caverns of Jones, I shall surely die!
Please don’t die. The answer is… fine. Samantha’s vagina is doing fine. She rubs yams on it, okay? She takes 48 vagina vitamins a day. It accepts unlimited male penises with the greatest of ease. Now let us never speak of it again.
Sex and the City 2 makes Phyllis Schlafly look like Andrea Dworkin. Or that super-masculine version of Cynthia Nixon that Cynthia Nixon dates. Or, like, Ralph Nader (wait, bad example—Schlafly totally does look like Ralph Nader in a granny wig). SATC2 takes everything that I hold dear as a woman and as a human—working hard, contributing to society, not being an entitled cunt like it’s my job—and rapes it to death with a stiletto that costs more than my car. It is 146 minutes long, which means that I entered the theater in the bloom of youth and emerged with a family of field mice living in my long, white mustache. This is an entirely inappropriate length for what is essentially a home video of gay men playing with giant Barbie dolls. But I digress. Let us start with the “plot.”
Carrie Bradshaw: At the end of the first SATC movie (2008)—after eleventy decades of chasing his emotionally abusive jowls through the streets of Manhattan—Carrie finally marries Mr. Big, the man of her shallow, self-obsessed dreams. It has now been two years since their nuptials. Carrie already hates it. She hates that he sits on the couch. She hates that he eats noodles out of a take-out box. She hates that he wants to spend quality time with her in their incredibly expensive and gaudy apartment. She hates that he bought her an enormous television. When Big suggests that they spend a couple of days a week in separate apartments (they own TWO apartments, because life is hard!), Carrie screeches, “Is this because I’m a bitch wife who nags you?” Congratulations. You have answered your own question.
Miranda Redhairlawyerface: Miranda is a lawyer who has red hair. She also has a child. As a working woman, Miranda is forced to miss every single one of her child’s incessant science fairs (as though children know anything of science!). Also, her lawyer boss is a cartoon dick. Miranda quits her job, and everyone is much happier. This is because women should not work. It is terrible for the children.
Charlotte Goldsteinjewyjewsomethingsomethingblatt: Life for Charlotte is unbelievably difficult. As a wealthy stay-at-home mom with two children and a live-in, full-time nanny, she sometimes has to bake cupcakes! Also, one time her little child got finger paint on a piece of vintage cloth. Therefore, Charlotte cannot stop crying. “How do the women without help do it?” Charlotte (crying) asks Miranda. “I have no fucking idea,” Miranda replies. Then they toast their disgusting glasses of pink syrup. To “them.” To the “women without help.” “If I wasn’t rich, I’d definitely just kill myself right away with a knife!” says everyone in this movie without having to actually say it. Clink!
Samantha Jones: I told you we are never to speak of this.
In order to escape their various imaginary problems, our intrepid foursome traipses off to dark, exotic Abu Dhabi (“I’ve always been fascinated by the Middle East—desert moons, Scheherazade, magic carpets!”). When they arrive, Carrie, because she is a professional writer, announces, “Oh, Toto—I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore!” Each woman is immediately assigned an extra from Disney’s Aladdin to spoon-feed her warm cinnamon milk in their $22,000-per-night hotel suite. Things seem to be going great. But very quickly, the SATC brain trust notices that it’s not all swarthy man-slaves and flying carpets in Abu Dhabi! In fact, Abu Dhabi is crawling with Muslim women—and not one of them is dressed like a super-liberated diamond-encrusted fucking clown!!! Oppression! OPPRESSION!!!
This will not stand. Samantha, being the
prostitutesexual revolutionary that she is, rages against the machine by publicly grabbing the engorged penis of a man she dubs “Lawrence of My-Labia.” When the locals complain (having repeatedly asked Samantha to cover her nipples and mons pubis in the way of local custom), Samantha removes most of her clothes in the middle of the spice bazaar, throws condoms in the faces of the angry and bewildered crowd, and screams, “I AM A WOMAN! I HAVE SEX!” Thus, traditional Middle Eastern sexual mores are upended and sexism is stoned to death in the town square.
At sexism’s funeral (which takes place in a mysterious, incense-shrouded chamber of international sisterhood), the women of Abu Dhabi remove their black robes and veils to reveal—this is not a joke—the same hideous, disposable, criminally expensive shreds of cloth and feathers that hang from Carrie et al.’s emaciated goblin shoulders. Muslim women: Under those craaaaaaay-zy robes, they’re just as vapid and obsessed with physical beauty and meaningless material concerns as us! Feminism! Fuck yeah!
If this is what modern womanhood means, then just fucking veil me and sew up all my holes. Good night.