– This is dedicated to my good friend Sally-thank you for your sometimes harsh but honest opinion and support
As an aspiring film critic, I realize that I can’t solely see movies that I would normally be interested in or even excited about. I also realize that I can’t be biased, positive or negative, toward a certain film based off of whether or not it’s my kind of movie. Thus far, I have also realized that I haven’t really seen any movies that I wouldn’t normally see unless I was with someone else. Namely, the ever so popular sub-genre of “chick flicks”. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’ve see plenty of girlie movies in my time but it was always with an actual girl. Since I don’t have that luxury at this current moment, I really haven’t taken an interest in them.
My friend Sally, whose “tell it like it is” personality never ceases to amaze me no matter how well I think I may know her, was giving me the business one day about not seeing Sex and the City 2. I calmly told her that being at the very bottom level of my critic career right now, I still pay my own way at the theater thus no private screenings as of yet. Plus I never saw the first one. If I was to go see a movie such as this by myself, this being a couples or girls night out sort of film, I would not only feel weird but probably be avidly spoken about behind my back by the other movie goers in the theater.
She “calmly” responded back by telling me to, “ Duh, rent the first one on DVD and then go see the second one”, along with something about me being biased and failing to be a good, well rounded critic if I didn’t. Needless to say I tuned her out stopped listening after a while but thought about what she had said later on. Feeling like I owe it to my career aspirations and to the world of movies in general, I decided to suck it up and just do it while trying to adopt her sense of “I really don’t give a **** what other people think”. So here goes:
First, I added and placed a copy of the first Sex and the City at the very top of my Netflix rental list. I felt a slight chill as I placed it in my DVD player tray. I had seen chick flicks alone before catching them randomly on cable or something but never intentionally rented one on purpose to watch alone. I had never seen the HBO series except for a few episodes that I watched with my female cousin when it first started and began to gain followers. So I had an idea about it but not in excessive detail. I knew somewhat a few aspects about the four main characters. The star and narrator, Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker), is a writer. She pens novels and articles about being a single woman looking for love in New York City and is very fashionable and elegant. Samantha Jones (Kim Catrall) is the oldest out of the four, in public relations, very independent and wears her sexual heart on her sleeve. Charlotte Goldenblatt, previously Charlotte York (Kristin Davis), used to work at an art gallery but now seems to be a full time mom is very conventional, smart and common sense oriented and my favorite one (looks wise anyway). Miranda Hobbes (Cynthia Nixon) is a very career minded lawyer who got pregnant by her estranged boyfriend, whom she marries and they buy a home in Brooklyn together.
The first film finds Carrie happily in a committed relationship with John Preston aka “Mr. Big” (Chris Noth). That’s her name for the dream man that she always wanted to settle down with. They have decided to live together and find a beautiful pent house apartment that he picks up the check for. This kind of concerns her after of course deliberating about it with her girlfriends feeling that he could kick her out at anytime should they run into troubled waters. She brings this to his attention and he suggests that they get married to seal the deal. Taken back but at the same time besides herself with excitement, she offers up the news to her friends and they begin packing up her old apartment as well as planning her wedding.
Samantha now lives in L.A. with her actor boyfriend, Smith (Jason Lewis) whose career she also manages. She has been committed to him for about five years now which is quite different than her natural promiscuous ways which concerns her a little. She frequently travels back and forth between L.A. and New York to visit her friends and tries frantically to cope with her longest dormant period of lack of multiple sexual partners in her life. Miranda has marriage problems which begin with her husband, Steve (David Eigenberg), complaining about her working too much and the fact that they haven’t had sex in six months and worsen with this resulting in his confession that he has slept with someone else. Charlotte seems like the only one who is blissfully living her life with her husband, Dante (Gilles Marini) and their adopted daughter Lilly.
The films reaches its climax quite early when Big, who has been married twice before, begins having second thoughts about number three and changes his mind on the day of. This very last minute decision results in a rather dramatic confrontation between him and his no longer bride-to-be, Carrie, on the streets of Manhattan. To try to help her get over this epic disappointment in her life, her friends accompany her on her would be honeymoon trip to Mexico. Needless to say, this doesn’t work very well. The rest of the film has the four gal pals trying to deal with the problems and issues recently going on in their lives.
I want to say the movie version is like one long episode but I’ve never really seen an entire episode. For those who watched these characters grow together might say that having the show as a back story allows the film to tell a brand new chapter in each of their lives without taking up too much time to explain everyone’s origin. However, for those of us who are new to the franchise, I think that even without the show, the movie seems like it could stand on its own. You can feel what each character is going through as they go through it. I understood both sides when Big changed his mind about marriage suddenly and Carrie had her heart shattered over it. You almost feel like one of the spectators on the street as she shares her displeasure with the man who no longer wants to be her husband.
Filled not just with female drama and emotion, Sex and the City also has its own level of comedy, much of it coming from the queen of ecstasy, Samantha. Even guys will laugh at some of the jokes at puns splashed across the screen in this film. I admit some are kind of corny and over played but there’s a healthy balance of both. By the end of the movie, you might even find yourself rooting for them to find the happiness they seek and make their lives better.
Now for part two; I chose the latest show time of the night in hopes that there weren’t many people going to the same exact showing as me, I bought my ticket and sat way in a back corner of the theater to hopefully stay hidden. Luckily there were only a handful of movie goers there and no one seemed to be paying any attention to the dude slouched in his seat with his hat pulled down as low as it could go. So far, so good. The sequel opens up with the four friends continuing to go on about their lives entrenched in fashion, men, money, and oh yeah fashion. I’m not the most fashionable person out there but I am proud to say that I can run off a couple of the high class brand names that are referred to these films. These women live on the upper east and west side of Manhattan aka rich-ville. They are never seen in the same thing twice and go shopping as often as most people breathe.
Remember Smith from part one, Samantha’s actor boyfriend. He finishes filming his first blockbuster movie which takes place in the Middle East and is produced by a rich Arab sheikh who approaches her to help him with his Public Relations campaign for his business. She convinces him to fly her and of course her three closest friends out to his home land of Abu Dhabi, all expenses paid. They each receive their own first class suite, their own Maybach sedans to escort them to their massive hotel suite where they each have their own butlers at their service.
While they are there, they each learn something about themselves. Carrie runs into an old boyfriend, Aiden (John Corbett), who she originally had a pretty serious relationship with on the show. Ignoring warnings from her friends and her own judgment, she agrees to have dinner with him despite the fact that he is now married with three children. As the evening reaches its end, they unexpectedly kiss each other and are both shocked at their actions. Carrie quickly apologizes and runs away to inform her friends. Charlotte, who now has a second little girl, Rose, is feeling guilty about becoming frustrated about the hardships that come with being a mom. To make it worse, she is slightly frightened at the constant thought of leaving her loving husband alone with the young, beautiful, full time nanny who doesn’t believe in wearing bras. Samantha, who turned 50 at the end of the first movie, has taken up a method of preventing menopause through products that she learned from a book by Suzanne Somers and has all of their vitamins and creams and such taken away at the Abu Dhabi airport and is terrified about reverting back to her menopausal ways. Miranda, usually the plain, practical and rule oriented one recently quit her job because of her sexist boss and has taken this chance being in another country to loosen way up and make sure her friends do the same.
Towards the end of the film, Samantha is caught making out on the beach with a philanthropist that she met at the hotel by the police. It is quite illegal for women to show any part of their body that might tempt men and even more illegal for them to partake in any sort of public displays of affection in this country. Upon Samantha being released from police custody, they girls learn that their all expenses paid vacation is no longer all expenses paid. They quickly and desperately try to pack and find a way back home before they are charged for their room which normally goes for around $20,000 a night.
I felt this sequel should have been called Lack of Sex and the Abu Dhabi. The majority of the film takes place in the desert instead of New York. In addition there was way more sex in the first one. Unlike part one, this chapter also feels like it jumps all over the place. Besides for Charlotte and maybe Carrie, there’s not really any major specific life lesson that they go through like in the first installment. It does, on the other hand, seem to have more comedy and way more musical numbers including Beyonce’s “Single Ladies” performed by none other than Liza Minnelli at a couples’ gay wedding reception.
The acting and direction is the same in both films. I mean they have been playing the same characters for years so nothing really different was expected. The plotline was way better in the first film but yielded more humor in the second one. One thing that I did notice about this story/show/movie, all of which was based off a novel by Candance Bushnell that was originally published in 1997, on a whole was that there were four female friends who didn’t bicker and get upset at each other every two seconds for trivial matters as many women do today. All of the females that I know today, including friends, ex’s, my mother and sister all agree that they don’t keep too many female friends because women are either trifling, scandalous, mischievous, back stabbing, man stealing or all of that rolled up into one, big mega-bitch. The four characters in this movie sometimes got upset at each other but always had each other’s back no matter what. Samantha said it best when she referred to them all as “soul mates”.
I give Sex and the City “4 Louis Vitton handbags and Manolo Blahniks out of 5”.
“They say nothing lasts forever; dreams change, trends come and go, but friendships never go out of style.”
I give Sex and the City 2 “3 renditions of ‘Single Ladies’ by Liza Minneli out of 5”
“Lawrence of my labia!”
You see there Sally, I did it. Hope you enjoyed it.Read even more reviews at FranchiseSaysSo.blogspot.com