October 23, 2010

Sex and the City II Movie Review

I know what the title and plot should be for Sex and the City 3D: Drop Dead Diva

Carrie will drop dead under the weight of a Carmen Miranda fruit bowl hat. Miranda will take a role on Law&Order. Charlotte will open a brothel. Samantha will be re-born as Lt. Ripley and hijack a space shuttle, deep-freeze herself while flying to Mars. Big will be happy he doesn't have a bitchy wife around anymore.

Sex and the City II

The tagline: Emergency call to buy anything no matter how batshit ugly it is. Main thing: expensive. The economy is crashing.

We have lowered our expectations after SATC I. Brace yourselves: it gets worse. (And yes, I waited till it came on TV because disappointment can wait.)

I am trying to figure out if the cast and crew and everyone else involved (Michael Patrick King, director, writer, producer...hello?) is taking the piss? Carrie takes herself way too seriously, like, for the entire two hours. Or rather SJP. Either one, same difference. The other three sort of go along with the camp-on-steroids thing. Rich women have the option to dress up all of the time, but are they as obnoxious as these four have become?

I was surprised Carrie didn't wear her Manolos to bed. Even that would make more sense than prancing about in the apartment dressed as if she were being streamed live for "Desperate Upper West Side Housewives"

The Story

Carrie bitches constantly to Big. Miranda's boss hates her. Charlotte is struggling with one kid that constantly cries and the other is too cute, so they make her finger paint on Mommy's vintage skirt. Samantha is vitamin and hormone pill popping to trick her body into thinking it's younger. Smith Jarrett makes an appearance and invites Samantha to his film premiere that was financed by Arab investors. Samantha meets investor, she gets invited to Abu Dhabi and away we go the land of what felt like 1001 dreadful nights. What better opportunity to try and out gaudy Arabian interior decorating by dressing up the ladies as if they went shopping in a bazaar blind-folded. Oh, and Aidan makes an appearance.

The dialogue is excruciating: "What's one little bitch more?" uttered by Anthony, when Samantha shows up at the wedding with the humping dog. Or "Hell to the no" or the "Brooms" (mash up of bride and groom....haha). It was dreadful.

About ten minutes into the movie, the wedding of the once arch grenemies, Stanford and Anthony, takes place. Seems Busby Berkley rose from the dead but with a lot less talent. Liza Minnelli gets to sing. Carrie gets to be the best man. (The styling was so unfortunate, for a minute, I thought Secretariat was making a cameo appearance.)

What used to be a wonderful ensemble cast, has mutated into a one-bitch show. Starring really horrible outfits.

Feature Film as an Ego Trip

Still a great TV series, liberating for women, the foray of SATC onto the big screen has turned into a me me me trip for Sarah Jessica Parker. As Sex and the City went into the fifth and sixth season, the shift from four friends to the power of four, to "it's all about me but I need somebody to whine to" mode, was ever more obvious.

Carrie Bradshaw was the perennial it-girl. She was likable. What happened? Somebody’s ego trip has made Carrie into a truly unlikeable character.

Back to Sex and the City II

In the opening sequence, Carrie narrates and reminisces back to 1986 when she first arrives in New York. The sequence is intercut with the 1986 versions of Charlotte, Samantha and Miranda. While Charlotte, Miranda and Samantha rock the Cyndi Lauper-Madonna-Pat Bennatar mash up, Carrie still looks way too glamorous. She has become so uncool.

SJP has no sense of humor and cannot in any way, shape or form, make fun of herself. All the gestures and posturing "Carrie" does is so contrived and self-conscious, I feel sorry for the woman's deep lack of self-confidence.

The Hotel Scene in SATC II

I found it slightly preposterous buying into the plot twist where they have to leave the hotel immediately because, between the four of them, they can't come up with the 22 grand to pay the hotel. Seriously? Despite the fact that they all live in fabulous apartments, buy shoes and bags worth thousands and Carrie's husband is some banker guy with a full-time chauffeur?

A modicum of relateability goes a long way toward more likable and believable characters. Otherwise, they might as well call it The Powder Puff Girls. Escapism works if there is some fundamental anchor in the real world.

That relateability factor is what once made the series Sex and the City popular. We loved it because Carrie, Miranda, Samantha and Charlotte talked about things girls talk about, in a manner we had never heard before on TV, delivered with such frankness and glee.

Who said there can be never too much of a good thing? Sex and the City II certainly kills that theory.

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