Thursday, May 27, 2010

Sex and the City 2 reviews going a little too far?

I really didn't want to have to do this. I actually don't want to do this at all. I'm going to get the movie spoiled for me, no doubt. But. This image accompanying a review on Salon, by Andrew O'Hehir, has pushed me over the line and forced me to do this. (By the way, if you want to know how I feel about the Sex and the City franchise, you can read it here. I don't want to rehash it all again.)

So, here's the image*:


And yeah. That is Carrie Bradshaw, played by Sarah Jessica Parker, being stabbed by a cartoon knife. Because this movie is apparently So Fucking Bad that she needs to be killed for making this reviewer sit through it. (I'm guessing.) Now remind me where I've seen this before, when a "chick flick" is so bad that its lead actress is shown being stabbed in a review ... oh, right, I haven't seen this before. Not in response to The Back Up Plan, or The Ugly Truth, or SATC 1, or Bride Wars, or 27 Dresses, or Any Other Chick Flick. (Have you seen something similar? If so, send me a link, please!)

People have tried to explain why this movie/franchise elicits such violent responses (or passionate hatred, or whatever you want to call it), and I still don't get it. I DO understand this could be a bad movie. Based on what I've read, it sounds bad. I haven't seen it yet, and it'll probably be a couple weeks before I do. To be fair, in his review, O'Hehir does outline some of the (apparent) problems in the movie. He also says things like this:
"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."
I know, I know. Dismemberment is always preferable to being subjected to women "stupefied" by life. O'Hehir isn't alone, by a longshot, with his word choices. There's this, from 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.
Roger Ebert throws this line into his review: "Samantha Jones (Kim Cattrall) is still a sexaholic slut." And he's apparently very proud of all the "good comments" left on his review, by women no less! Feel free to read them for yourself, but I can summarize all of them right now: "I hate this movie," "I hate SATC," "These characters are so vapid," (seriously, the word vapid is used over and over over), "I totally agree with Ebert, and like, I'm so glad he wrote this." It would appear that hating SATC is a badge of honor for many.

I'm not nearly the only person pointing out some of the unfavorable or mean things said about this movie. And if I had more time, no doubt I would find a lot more of the type of comments listed above. But for me, it's like this: First of all, I don't know what anyone expected in the sequel, given the first movie. Things like shopping and fashion has always been a big part of SATC. Second, can we talk for just a second about how few mainstream movies there are that cater to women, that have women in mind as the target audience, that are also actually good? Or movies in general that even pass the Bechdel Test? That in the recent study by the Geena Davis Institute, they found 73 percent of all characters in the movies they studied were male? And that despite all of those things, women buy more movie tickets than men?

Just what is it about SATC that draws out these kinds of responses from people? Is it something other than the fact that a lot of women are excited about this movie and plan to go see it with other women? There are a couple reviewers sticking up for the movie. Try here and here.

*I am making the leap of assuming this image is NOT in the movie, that the knife was added to the photo as illustration. PLEASE correct me if I'm wrong on that!

1 comment:

orangemaybe said...

Female characters not satisfied with marriage, motherhood, and/or participation in the workplace? Not happy with the choices even privileged women have? For shame.

It's hard to be surprised at the level of vitriol - if there's no happy ever after, as promised by the ending of the original SATC movie, why would women continue buying (literally and figuratively) into the fairy tale?

Contrast with the lavish praise bestowed on Modern Family, which enshrines the martyred mom as the center around which all the other families rotate.

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