Sunday, May 30, 2010

Bad Sex

Look, we all know that the cosmo-swilling cougar crowd and the younger women who -- for reasons I'll never fully understand -- aspire to be a part of that one day, will make Sex and the City 2: The Sands of Time a massive success at the box office this weekend. That's the bad news. The good news is that, believe it or not, the movie is apparently so indefensibly bad that it may eventually be known as the singular event that drove a much-needed stake through the heart of these kinds of films -- the female fantasy rom-coms that I've ridiculed ad nauseam around here over the past few years -- and ended their reign of terror in Hollywood. Given that Sex and the City really does stand as the Fairy Godmother (or is it bitchy, Crawford-esque Step Mother?) of this entire genre, if even it sucks harder than Samantha trying to convince herself she's still 25, what hope do those other Carrie-come-lately movies have?

For those of you who will be lucky/smart enough to never suffer through Sex and the City 2, the Huffington Post has compiled some of the best lines from some of the worst reviews for it.

And keep in mind, as of Friday, this movie had a Rotten Tomatoes ranking of just 8%.

"This film is an epic eyesore. It's as if they set out to make a movie that said, 'You're right! We are hideous!'"

-- David Edelstein, New York magazine

"The ugly smell of unexamined privilege hangs over this film like the smoke from cheap incense... 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."

-- AO Scott, The New York Times

"The women-too old now to pout, whine and babble about their wet dreams, affluent and successful for reasons that are never clear-are all vain, narcissistic, selfish, superficial and really rather stupid. The actors work hard to perform triage, but they've been playing these roles so long they've grown moss."

-- Rex Reed, The New York Observer

"As tasteless as an Arabian cathouse, as worn-out as your 1998 flip-flops and as hideous as the mom jeans Carrie wears with a belly-baring gingham top, 'Sex and the City 2' is two of the worst movies of the year... Despite its 'Lawrence of Arabia' length, this film -- the Sexless and the Self-Pitying -- is as unfunny and shapeless as another famed desert epic. Just think of it as 'Bitchtar.'"

-- Kyle Smith, The New York Post

"The movie's visual style is arthritic. Director Michael Patrick King covers the sitcom dialogue by dutifully cutting back and forth to whoever is speaking... Carrie narrates the film, providing useful guidelines for those challenged by its intricacies. Sample: 'Later that day, Big and I arrived home.'"

-- Roger Ebert, The Chicago Sun Times

"Thanks to writer-director Michael Patrick King, I now have a fair idea how it might feel to be stoned to death with scented candles."

-- Cliff Doerksen, The Chicago Reader

"I sensed a claustrophobic panic growing at the screening I attended. Like Martin Sheen waking from his uneasy slumber in Apocalypse Now and thinking: 'Shit, I'm still in Saigon,' various members of the audience would emerge from their periodic reveries and mumble out loud: 'Shit, Carrie and her friends and by that token, we the audience, are still in Abu Dhabi.'"

-- Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian UK

"What might I have done wrong, in a past life or in this one, that I deserve to have my eyeballs seared by Sarah Jessica Parker's loony desert-princess getups? ... To gaze upon a couple of amazingly well-groomed camels and realize that they have better hairdos than the human movie stars astride them?"

-- Stephanie Zacharek, (who now inexplicably writes for

"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. Instead of that, we get something that's truly sadistic: the SATC girls as haggard specters, haunted by their freewheeling '90s past and stupefied by the demands of work, marriage and/or motherhood. This bloated, incoherent movie mimics an SATC episode in structure -- vague social relevance at the beginning and the end, conspicuous consumption in the middle -- with virtually none of the wit or panache, and seems devoted to destroying our affection for these characters."

-- Andrew O'Hehir, in the one review you have to read start-to-finish in

And my personal favorite:

"If this is what modern womanhood means, then just fucking veil me and sew up all my holes. Good night."

-- Lindy West,


countryjoe said...

I would imagine that SJP's uncles: Mr. Ed, Trigger, Francis, and cousins Flicka and Fury are rolling in there graves in disgust at her pathetic acting.

Ref said...

Why do aging women persist in making clowns of themselves in clothing meant for seventeeners, when they'd be as, or more, sexy wearing clothing that de-emphasizes their aging bodies and focuses the viewer on sources of real intrigue, like eyes and smiles?

Chris said...

You should listen to Mark Kermode's caustic review on BBC Radio. It is a fantastic rant about all that is wrong about this movie.

nancy said...

Sounds like the movie I watched this morning, "Spring Break Shark Attack", was more intelligently written and entertaining.

VOTAR said...

It is with great pleasure that I can report to you that here in Peru, no one has heard of this movie.

Capt A. Clow said...

One obvious thing the movie tries to ignore is the fact that the series was so long ago that the women who loved watching it have gotten just as much older as the Sex and the City characters.

Assuming that 100% of their core audience isn't vapid whores (which is a pretty big assumption), the audience has moved on. They were 30 when they watched it, now they're 45.

Why WOULDN'T the audience want to see the characters dealing dealing with the matured topics that they themselves are going through?

In retrospective, I've already invested too much time in this comment psycho-analyzing this movie, as it's already a lost cause...

Busayo said...

My first inkling at how bad this movie was going to be was when our local cinema (I should say only cinema) charged FIVE times as much for one ticket during the opening weekend. It was partly that most Nigerian girls still buy into this shit, and partly because they needed to make some money before word of mouth killed it.

By Wednesday, everyone was seeing Iron Man 2 again.

Vermillion said...

I hold this secret fantasy that, because of their friendship, Jon Stewart convinced Michael Patrick King to wreck the movie. It may never be true, but dammit, I want it to be. The idea that the film is more a brutal stealth parody of the series as a whole makes it more palatable to read about.

I hold out hope that the DVD will have a Easter Egg for any of the few that bu it: Stewart and the Daily Show Choir doing a lovely rendition of "Go F*$K Yourselves".

James said...

I really hope there's a third film, but it be directed by George Romero. I've had this desire for a very long time, because it makes absolute PERFECT sense: A group of wealthy, successful, privileged women that are vapid, shallow, immature and undignified, representing all the excesses and vanities of the decade are taken down by a zombie apocalypse.

The best thing they could do is not even ADVERTISE it as a zombie movie; no no, it would be about 15 minutes of actual Sex and the City "plot" (sitting around a cupcake joint or buying shoes or talking about fucking) and then all of a sudden, BAM! Samantha's bitten in the face by a zombie, blood going everywhere. The girls freak out about getting blood on their clothes but it's too late, as they're pulled apart by these things.

And then, the rest of the movie is a straight up New York zombie survival flick.


Anonymous said...

My favorite review: Lindy West- The Stranger.

SATC2 takes everything that I hold dear as a woman and as a human—working hard, contributing to society, not being an entitled cunt like it's my job—and rapes it to death with a stiletto that costs more than my car. It is 146 minutes long, which means that I entered the theater in the bloom of youth and emerged with a family of field mice living in my long, white mustache. This is an entirely inappropriate length for what is essentially a home video of gay men playing with giant Barbie dolls.

Alanna said...

Really - who fucking cares? Every female friend I have bumped into this weekend in and around Manhattan who has seen SATC2 has said it was "fun, but stupid". I truly think that is the point of this movie. For some of these young women who aspire for the "bright lights...big city" NYC life and believes this is her narrative? Then she deserves to relish in the ridiculous until her world pops and she realizes $22 comos at The Plaza are a waste of breath. Let her fall on her face. I think we can end our lambasting now, shall we?

I know I surely got a kick out of watching 4 over-the-hill women dressed as the characters from SATC at the corner of Bleecker + Lafayette screaming to a bunch of sailors that were in town for Fleet Week to take pics "Like, from that Episode!!".

The best part? As I walked by them handing the cameras back to the ladies, of the seamen said "Fuck, that was nasty". Hilarious!

**Ironic that the captcha word that came up was "Gabible" lol

Katie V said...

Why do female fantasy rom-coms offend you so much? Why don't male fantasy action flicks warrant the same reaction? Hollywood is about fantasy and more often than not it caters to male fantasies. These movies aren't aimed at pleasing you, so really your ridicule is more or less ineffective. It's a bit as if you're trying to butt in on a conversation between two other people.

Honestly this movie isn't my cup of tea, but I watch my share of trash as I'm sure you do too. What's the harm?

You say it "suggest[s] to women that independence is something that can be bought and worn like a kind of couture merit badge; that Prada is pride; that superficiality is success." If this is true, are women not free thinking agents? Will watching a few rom-coms really implant this message in our brains? Perhaps you can cite a study that shows that watching rom-coms has affected women's perceptions of empowerment? Sex and the City the show (I haven't seen the movies) emphasized that women should find empowerment through friendship and dress (which is a form of identity and self expression and is not as superficial as you think-I say this as a cultural anthropologist). This was actually a nice break from the usual message which tells us to find empowerment through men. Why should you decide what women find empowering?

Why do you not take such offense about Hollywood's continued objectification of women? Or the sexualizing of violence against women? Or the zillion movies and video games that trivialize violence and killing? These are messages Hollywood is sending you as a heterosexual man. Leave the discussion of what women should find empowering up to women.

Sorry for the rant. For the record I enjoy your blog a lot and agree with you on many issues. But this offence you've taken seems a bit silly, uninformed and a bit one sided.

Chez said...

Just curious -- are you Katie V because something went horribly wrong with models I-IV?

Joash said...

Sorry, but if empowerment is coming from middle age women who vajazzle their vajayjays and a grating actress who looks like a monster from Narnia, I reserve the right to mock.

Katie V said...

Chez - no, the V is my middle initial. Alas I am not Katie the Fifth and thankfully not Katie the fifth attempt.

Again, I'm sorry if I came across as bitchy, that was not my intent. The field I'm in is still 'the old boy's club' (archaeology more than anthropology) and sometimes I get too worked up about gender related issues.

I really enjoy your blog so much!

Amii said...

Katie V said, "Why do female fantasy rom-coms offend you so much?"

I think there is enough in this movie to offend everyone. That's what bad movies do, offend on a massive scale, across gender and cultural differences.

You presume that because he is ridiculing this movie, he doesn't ridicule "male fantasy action flicks." But Chez does ridicule mfaf's when they are bad (the latest geriatric buddies movie with tommy lee jones springs to mind).

I find comments about leaving certain discussions (women's empowerment) up to certain groups (women) to lack any faith in empathy, which is sad and misguided. Please rethink your stance (and I say this as a feminist woman since credentials are meaningful to you).