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May. 28 2010 - 2:15 am | 443 views | 0 recommendations | 1 comment

‘Sex and the City 2′ just doesn’t turn me on

I Am Woman, hear me embarrass myselfThis weekend I will do something that will prove to my husband beyond a doubt that I love him. I will not drag him to see “Sex and the City 2.”

In fact, I’m not sure I’m even interested in seeing it — outside a cineplex somewhere deep in the Valley on a weekday at an 11 a.m. matinee, because they’re sure as hell not getting a full $13 out of me.

Here’s the thing. Like my True/Slant colleague Jeremy Helligar, I liked the show. I never took it too seriously, but tended to think of it as a case study of what some gay men thought women were like. I know that’s an oversimplification, but I think the show works best as a fantastic example of caricature. And to truly enjoy it, you need a lot of suspended disbelief and just enough wine to keep you from loathing the characters and yourself for watching.

And I say that as a fan. There’s not an episode of “Sex and the City” I haven’t watched — and while I definitely didn’t love them all, I do think it was perceptive on many levels. And it did acknowledge some of the things that no one wants to admit. That no matter how fabulous a face you put on, you can still be terrified of growing old alone. That there are married friends who think less of you because you’re single. That you are the only guarantee of a fugure that you have — and sometimes that future can look a whole lot different than how you pictured. And that you’ll always have at least one friend who says “fuck” in nearly every sentence and makes horrible, punny and unfunny sex jokes — and yet she still gets more action than you do.

As a show, “Sex and the City” worked — you only had to contend with a few stupid Mae-West-meets-Shecky-Greene sex jokes from Samantha in an episode and you usually only had to watch Carrie type “and I couldn’t help but wonder…” only once. I re-watched the two-part finale the other night, and marveled again at how good it was. But even though at times I’ve been able to identify with one character or another, I have never wasted even half a second wondering whether I was a “Carrie” or a “Miranda.” And if I ever do, I implore my nearest and dearest to punch me in the head. Hard.

A witty, thought- and conversation-provoking show is one thing. Stretching that out into *more than two hours* (145 minutes for the first movie, 146 for the second — lord almighty, where are the editors?) is, well, a stretch. To put it mildly. I did see the first movie in the theater — and my husband, even before he became my husband, got himself nominated for sainthood by sitting through it more or less willingly. To be fair, we were living in a pretty small town at the time, and there wasn’t a lot to do that weekend. It’s also constantly on cable, which means I have seen it about a bajillion times since then, mostly because sometimes I can’t find the remote. And I might be a masochist. It doesn’t improve upon repeated viewings, no matter how much you cradle that wine bottle you just emptied in your arms.

Lately I’ve been marveling again at the brilliant — and maybe offensive? — marketing job that’s supported this movie. The HP2 computer — “seen in ‘Sex and the City 2′.” The pain in my heart from having to hear Jon Hamm actually say the words “Sex and the City 2″ when he voices the Mercedes commercial. There was even a Food Network “Sex and the City 2″ cake challenge, for chrissakes. Is *nothing* sacred? Why does cake need to be victimized?

And now, having been exposed to what men think when they watch the “Sex and the City 2″ trailer (brilliant), I’m taking a quick spin through some of the reviews.

And by the way, yes of course I’ll probably end up seeing it. I’ll feel dirty, but I’ll end up seeing it. And no matter how scathing the reviews, Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte and Samantha — and Michael Patrick King — will be laughing all the way to the bank.

Roger Ebert’s lead: “Some of these people make my skin crawl.” And then he goes on to: “And crotches, have we got crotches for you.” Thank you, God, for Roger Ebert. Now please let Anthony Lane review it for the New Yorker.

A.O. Scott, The New York Times: “Your watch will tell you that a shade less than two and a half hours have elapsed, but you may be shocked at just how much older you feel when the whole thing is over.”

Andrew O’Hehir, Salon: “It would have been more merciful for writer-director Michael Patrick King to have rented Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte and Miranda out to the “Saw” franchise, or to Rob Zombie, so we could watch them get shot in the head or skinned alive by Arkansas rednecks.”

Lisa Schwarzbaum, Entertainment Weekly: “The experience of listening to the girls complain about their fairy-tale lives from the comfort of an all-expenses-paid luxury vacation in the Arabian desert may leave a viewer feeling by turns nostalgic, disoriented, and impatient.”

Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times: “Making the film bearable is Parker, who is at her most relaxed in this latest Carrie incarnation. She’s got all the same moves, but the emotional ups and downs are modest and the necessary ministrations from her friends barely required. Which begs the question, why have a sequel at all? Probably best to leave it to the accountants to answer that one.”

Amy Diluna, New York Daily News: “It’s been two years since the first “Sex and the City” movie – and this shtick is getting old.”

Ty Burr, The Boston Globe: “What was once a playful, pretend-shallow soap opera with pockets of feeling is now shallow for keeps — a dunderheaded comic melodrama with clothes to die for and dialogue to shrink from. It’s downright depressing.”


1 Total Comment
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  1. collapse expand

    I’m with you. The series ended on an authentic note that mirrored the life of the columnist, Candace Bushnell. She and her “Mr. Big” had a tumultuous affair, but it ended, and Mr. Big married someone else. He quit the rat race, and moved to a farm in Vermont.

    Ms. Bushnell did find love years later, and married a ballet dancer. She did not have any children, just like the fictional heroine Carrie Bradshaw.

    I can allow that the first movie provided the “happily ever after” part of the fairy tale that audiences wanted. But why drag out the franchise?

    My cousin in Michigan has already seen the flick, and loved it. A Facebook friend bought the tee shirt and is seeing the movie tonight, no doubt with a posse of girlfriends. Cosmos will be drank, and good cheer will abound.

    But there is such a thing as beating a dead horse. I will likely see the flick on dvd–maybe even a bootleg. However, I won’t join the mad rush to see the SATC 2 movie this weekend. It isn’t new, fresh or even relevant anymore.

    That said, it may do boffo box office anyway.

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    I've always been obsessed with pop culture and celebrity, even as a political reporter by day at washingtonpost.com and ABC News. Even after leaving journalism for media relations and consulting (Need help with press releases, brochures, annual reports, or media strategy? E-mail me -- lisa.celebjungleATgmail.com.), I pretended to be mildly appalled by the antics of the beautiful and famous -- then gobbled up tabloids and all the gossip I could find. To date, I've preserved my amateur status as a celebrity news analyst so I could compete in the gossip Olympics, but now I've decided to go pro. As a recent transplant to Los Angeles, or Celebrity Ground Zero, I'm learning to live among them as they roam unfettered over the landscape -- while praying that a behind-the-wheel Lindsay Lohan stays out of my neighborhood.

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