Friday, May 28, 2010

Insert naughty pun here

As someone who always sort of hated Sex and the City, I am really enjoying looking on as the critics trash this new movie. My impression -- and I absolutely will not see the film to confirm this, as I can't even make it through a TV ad without hitting "mute" -- is that the movie does away with any and all of the series' laudable traits and leaves just the stuff I always found so irritating: the shallowness; the superficiality; the dreadful puns; the empty-headed social "commentary"; the total unlikability of the main character; the insistence that I should care about shoes when I so, so don't. So the things the critics pick on in their (hilarious) reviews sound to me like backward-looking critiques of the whole enterprise, even when they're prefaced by lamentations that this once-great franchise is going out on such a low note. Take this, from Boston Globe critic Ty Burr:

Twelve years, one beloved HBO series, and two feature films on, the Sex and the City gals have been reduced to Bratz dolls for grown women.
Perfect. Even I have been appalled by how trashy and vulgar the advertisements make SATC2 look. The title spelled out in sparkly "gems"? If that doesn't say Bratz: The Direct-to-DVD Movie, I don't know what does. (Burr goes on to say the show was a "playful, pretend-shallow soap opera," which is funny, because I always thought it was "pretend-deep.") It sounds like this movie makes Lipstick Jungle look like a step forward. Which is saying something, because Lipstick Jungle was all kinds of terrible, and I should know.

David Edelstein gets where I'm coming from:
The most depressing thing about Sex and the City 2 is that it seems to justify every nasty thing said and written about the series and first feature film.
So I was right all along is what I'm getting from this. Seriously though, the one thing that pains me is seeing Michael Patrick King (who is one of my hometown's favorite local-boys-made-good) become Public Enemy Number One: there isn't a review I've read that fails to lay the blame for this mess directly at his feet. And he probably deserves it. Rotten Tomatoes has a whole bushel of these reviews, if you're hungry for more. Happy Memorial Day!

UPDATE: Sarah Bunting says it better:
...many of the problems the critics cite with the sequel date from the beginning of the show. I watched the entire series, but it frequently felt like a chore, between the wretched puns, the silent-movie overacting, and Carrie's twitchy/cutesy narcissism. None of that is new, and none of it mattered then, either, because, amid all the flabby wordplay and handbag fetishizing, occasionally, for a minute or two, Sex and the City would get it exactly right. It could nail a nuance or a tiny moment — Carrie shoving Aidan away and wailing that she can't breathe, Miranda eating cake out of the trash. Everyone can point to different sequences, but it struck chords, that show, even if, according to all the usual metrics, it kind of sucked most of the time. It spoke to people.

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