Saturday, 12 June 2010

Sex and the City 2: The magic is gone

Imagine the gut-wrenching feeling you get when you drop your blackberry in the loo, or run over a small, petulant bird in your car, or even get caught peeing in the gents’. Now imagine that feeling lasting for nearly two and a half hours and you have my experience of going to see Sex and the City 2. As if this feeling wasn’t bad enough, our four favourite calamitous females now proceed to shred what the past one hundred years have done for women with one foul stomp of a Manolo.

Not to mention the utter obliteration of the legacy of one of the wittiest, most thoughtful, controversially sparkling television programmes of our times, or the blatant disregard of any moral or religious humility in the face of an unknown environment. Each scene slaps you in the face with a cold, hard dose of ignorance. I felt embarrassed on behalf of western society watching Samantha whine about being arrested for practicing her unique brand of overt promiscuity on a beach in Abu Dhabi. The scripting was dire (“Abu Dhabi-doo”) and the stereotyping so cringeworthy that one ends up sitting and thinking that we bloody deserve all that we get from the noble Arab culture.

The problem with this film is that it turns the Sex and the City brand into what misogynistic male columnists always said it was; a bunch of vacuous, self-obsessed slags making easy money and indulging themselves in pointless and solely aesthetic activities. But the truth was, and has been up until now, that Sex and the City taught women to be sexually liberated and largely independent. Women didn’t need men to teach them any more, they had themselves, and they had each other. It is now as though women have been disempowered by the same franchise that once emancipated them.

In one memorable episode of the television series, Samantha tears off her wig whilst giving a speech at a breast cancer conference in a declaration that she would not submit her entire self to the disease which caged her body. In the second film, she is seen desperately plying herself with drugs to stave of the menopause. The loss of Samantha’s moments of sexual brilliance and hilarious put-downs has given rise to a total lack of self-awareness, something one could never accuse Samantha of. She has been reduced to a crass, pitiful, fraught shadow of what she once was (“Lawrence of My-Labia”). Carrie becomes the high-maintenance, nagging wife, Charlotte is now unable to cope with the incessant difficulties of a perfect lifestyle and Miranda gives chauvinists everywhere a leg-up by buckling under the pressure of her job and finding domestic bliss in the haven of the home.

Gone is the magic, the wit, the glitter and the individual characteristics which we loved so much in each of the original Sex and the City foursome, the dimensions which enabled women to relate to the tribulations of a group of friends trying to make their way in New York City. What we are left with is a bunch of offensive, disrespectful, cackling headstones, leaving us to wonder where it all went wrong.

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