Sex and the City 2: The Panic
[originally publish June 5, 2010.]
I like to have a martini,
two at the very most.
After three I'm under the table,
after four I'm under my host.
Director: Michael Patrick King
Look, Sex and the City 2 is hardly the best film ever made but it is also not the worst:
"Two years have passed since Carrie Bradshaw finally bagged John "Mr. Big" Preston, the man she was always meant to be with. Just as her friend Charlotte must deal with her young daughter's "terrible two's", Carrie must deal with her relationship taking a turn for the worse - Big likes to watch old black-and-white movies on TV and eat take-out food, which prevents Carrie from feeling like the free-wheeling party girl she used to be. Meanwhile, Miranda copes with a new boss that can't handle an intelligent, powerful woman, and Samantha works a public relations angle that gets the fashionable foursome an all-expense-paid trip to Abu Dhabi." (The Internet Movie Database)
There is substantial backlash or hysteria or panic about this film: "By the movie's mid-point, it becomes apparent that King has lost interest in some of his once-vibrant characters, turning Samantha into a cartoon, and relegating Miranda and Charlotte to the sidelines." (CBC News)
The Sex and the City series established the characters. There is a strong reference. Like in the Alien vs. Predator film, if you know the beasts you know what to expect. I do not expect character development in all cases. I expect the women to drink fabulous cocktails and to be man-crazy. I am not disappointed here. My new fantasy is drinking champagne in a white gauze tent in the middle of a desert while a gorgeous man rides up to me out of nowhere, like in the film. As in most Hollywood films the story is predictable.
The film also deals with the over-looked issue of silencing women. Miranda is constantly silenced by her boss; Carrie has tape put over her mouth by the New Yorker. In a more subtly way Charlotte does not express her true feelings because of the ideology around marriage and motherhood. Samantha is arrested for expressing her sexuality.
They are in a place, Abu Dhabi, that expects female restraint on all levels and the women wear a body-veil. The blatant contrast is Samantha's unrestraint and sexualized body-wear. In a parody, some of the native women are shown to wear the latest fashions beneath the veil. Fashion is a key element of the series.
I think that there is more going on in this film than meets the eye.
Alien vs. Predator. Dir. Paul W.S. Anderson. Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. 2004.
The Internet Movie Database
Romy Shiller is a pop culture critic and holds a PhD in Drama from the University of Toronto. Her academic areas of concentration include film, gender performance, camp and critical thought. She lives in Montreal where she continues her writing. All books are available online.