Thursday, December 8, 2016

REVIEW: Sex in the City 2



I would love to have come back to the blog for good, honest reasons.  I would love to say that I have gotten over the self doubt that I feel and that I am ready and willing to kick things up a notch and turn this sucker to eleven.  I think it would be great if I could say that there was some profound experience that I felt and encountered that levelled me to a plain where I was becoming more dedicated to writing and all stuff of the sorts.

But, and it is quite sad, I am not back on the blog because of any of those things.  I am here because I lost a bet back in the summer, and it is time to pay my dues.  It is time to get behind the keyboard and write a review of a film that was cast upon me by my maniacal podcast co-host for losing said bet.  There are a total of three films that I have to see and review as penance for my sins, and Sex and the City 2 is the first one down to kick it off.

Before I talk about the movie's main qualities, and there will be a spoiler or two in there (so if you are pining to see this film, you best not read the review... or, you could read the review and thank me for saving you two and a half hours.  Yes!  It is almost that long!), I should talk about what the movie did right.  I thought that I would be out of the loop as to the characters and their qualities, as this is the second movie and it came from an HBO television series.  I hadn't seen any of them before, so I figured I would be lost.  Thanks to an expository little bit at the beginning, I soon found out about the characters of Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker), Charlotte (Kristin Davis), Miranda (Cynthia Nixon), and Samantha (Kim Cattrall).

As I learned about the girls at the centre of this movie caper, I was then thrust into the action of them getting together and hanging out.  This is where the movie's good qualities stopped, and the remaining two hours and twenty minutes begun.  It was a little cheesy how the characters were introduced, but I was fine with it.  It was expository, but it caught me up to speed, and I was fine with that.  What I was not fine with was the lack of chemistry between the characters and the clumsy, inane dialogue that sprouted up through the rest of the movie.

After a wedding sequence that felt as long as the one in The Deer Hunter (it wasn't even close in run time, but it sure felt like the fifty minute spectacular that The Deer Hunter exposed us to), we find that the girls have a chance to have an all expenses paid vacation on the dime of a well to do sheik, and then they are off to Abu Dhabi.  Well, not technically.  They said they were there, but the shots were so close up and there were no scenes with the actors at any landmarks that would have made it feel like they were actually there.  The seventh instalment of The Fast and the Furious felt like a travel documentary to the UAE compared to Sex and the City 2.

The trip to the Middle East is great for Carrie, because she is finding life with her husband Mr. Big, but she just calls him 'Big,' to be a bit difficult.  She wants to go out, and he wants to stay in.  She wants to eat out, and he wants to eat in.  The marriage is in shambles.  Can you imagine having to live through such vicious trappings of a marriage as this?  I see how that sort of thing could actually be a hinderance to a good relationship, but it is played off so poorly in the movie that their marital issues seem as trivial as the rest of the plot.

It is difficult to connect with the main ethos of the lead if I don't get where they are coming from.  In a movie that I didn't like as a whole,  Sex Tape, I did get and understand the problems that the couple were facing.  Even though it was about life with children and keeping the romance up (I don't have kids, so I can't fully relate), it was portrayed in a way that made me understand that it was a huge issue and that they were essentially roommates instead of husband and wife.  I got it.  That's the magic of good story telling (and about all that was good about Sex Tape), is that it puts you in shoes that you normally don't live in.

Nothing of the sort happened here.  I was sceptical about the problems surrounding Carrie and Big's marriage (I still can't take the character seriously since he is referred to solely as 'Big'), and therefore I didn't get the main drive for the character.  She meets up with an old flame while in Abu Dhabi, and they have dinner, which of course leads to a kiss.  Once again, since I don't get the base of the problems that she is facing, I couldn't care less about the mistake that she made.  This kiss, by the way, is the only plot point that happens between them going to Abu Dhabi and them returning.  I'm not joking.  The film is a mess of needless scenes that think they are being funny and witty, but are failing hard.

I suppose that's the big take away from this dreaded viewing experience.  That it is trying, and on some level believing that it is succeeding, to be full of charm and wit.  It is not.  It leaves me wondering what the series on HBO was like.  It must have been better than this for it to become so popular.  It makes me wonder if the characters I was viewing were more than two dimensional images, and if they were once fully fleshed out individuals in a fun, fictional landscape.  I will never know, because, after seeing the movie, I don't want to return to any portion of this property again.

The bloated length of the movie feels worse than it is, and that is partly down to the writing, and partly down to the lack of dynamics between the characters.  It feels as though they are all phoning this one in.  I couldn't care less about the limited back stories that each of the girls is given.  In fact, I forgot all about their back stories until I read the synopsis of the plot on Wikipedia.

The climax of the film is that the girls have to get to the airport on time or else they will have to fly home in coach.  Yes.  I am being serious.  That is the main problem that they all are facing, and what propels them to make the choices that they do.  This was the worst part of the movie, for sure.  The writer, who is also the director, Michael Patrick King seems to think in terms of 'rich, white people problems' and not in terms of something that the regular audience member would relate to.  I get it, soap operas are about the rich and opulent, but at least with them there is intense drama and at least three people named Victor.  Here it was cardboard cutouts of characters who needed to get back to America in first class.  Ride in #@$%ing coach! I yell at the screen.

The movie doesn't seem to know who its audience is, or even care about it.  This is one of those sequels that feels like the ultimate definition of a cash grab.  What makes it hurt so much is that I feel as though there was a time and a place and these characters came alive and had personality.  I feel that there was a time when I would have connected to Carrie and her relationship issues.  All of that is lost here.  It is a detractor for the previous works of this universe, and it is a detractor for ever making a bet with someone when you have to watch a movie of their choosing if you lose.

Rating - 0.5 out of 4 stars

1 comment:

  1. Or is it more motivation to take that bet again, so that you can get revenge? So according to your review, this is a two hour movie where the main plot points is a husband wants to relax at home after a hard days' work, so the upset wife goes across the globe to kiss someone else, and then there is hot tension over if they will be able to make a first class flight home. Hard to shake the feeling this was a 20 minute opening to a sixty minute episode that got dragged out to beyond feature length because a dog ate the rest of the script. Likely a chihuahua.

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