“Sex and the City 2: Gays and Cliches”

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Posted June 1, 2010 by Jimmy Fowler in Blotch

With scathing reviews and disappointing holiday box office, it looks like a herd of loyal female and gay male fans couldn’t save Sex and the City 2 from being labeled a massive flop. The trailers made the movie look wretched, and I was never a fan of the HBO series, which treated its incidental gay characters like another designer item for the ladies to wear on the town.

It’s heartening that some gay commentators were moved to complain about the now infamous Liza Minnelli wedding scene. Thomas Rogers at Salon wrote a pretty good piece on why SAC2 is “bad for the gays.” In less than two video minutes, the hilarious Bryan Safi eviscerated the movie even more efficiently. I heartily support gay marriage, and I think Liza Minnelli is a cool showbiz trouper who deserves to work more (the TV show Arrested Development put her to fine use). But gay wedding plus Liza plus Liza impersonators plus Beyonce song plus crystal swans plus Mario Cantone – all in one scene – equals a “gay o.d.” that would send even Bruno to the emergency room.

Before the hetero guys get too smug, let me ask a hypothetical question: How many of you would watch a Super Bowl telecast produced by Maxim with Toby Keith performing “The Star-Spangled Banner” and Larry the Cable Guy providing half-time entertainment? I count at least a few million depressingly stereotypical straight viewers.


3 Comments


  1.  
    Charlie

    First of all, I would like to thank Michael Patrick King for giving us SATC 2. I am writing this rebuttal in response to all the attacks on the film out there. I am a fan of SATC and I am a critical one. I respond to even the most minute details in the series and the movies. If the producers started making SATC films like another “American Pie” film, I would not put up with it, naturally.

    Michael Patrick King presents a road trip movie this time; he has been saying this from the beginning. The critics do not judge it fairly. It is like judging the entire SATC TV series by just judging the double LA episodes alone. If Michael Patrick King had been saying that this SATC film were dedicated to Woody Allen and then had ended up presenting us a road trip movie, I would have been VERY disappointed.

    I “happened” to run into a school friend I had not met for more than a decade in Europe myself. What is so contrived about running into your ex in another continent? I also ran into one of my university professors in the transit area of Frankfurt Airport by chance. Interior decorators and furniture buyers do travel to exotic locales to source.

    Another critique claims that the actresses are physically out of shape and they still dress like they were in the 30s. It is simply not true. By the way, the gay wedding is NOT so out of the blue. What happens at the end of the first film simply suggests that Stanford and Anthony would marry eventually. Many critics also describe Charlotte as a spoiled rich stay-at-home mon. Charlotte has tried to get another art gallery manager job but cannot get one as the galleries would not hire her in season 4.

    It is so hypocritical of the critics to ridicule how desperate Samantha is and praise how sensual the middle-aged French women in “A French Gigolo” is. Samantha would have told the critics “I want to fucking whore around for the rest of my life, fuck off.” She had tried the conventional relationship thing with both men and women, she knows what she wants and lives with it.

    So many haters out there are simply so out of their minds. People are complaining how disgustingly ridiculous and racist the trip to Abu Dhabi is. How about the trip to Paris?? Will you ever see a woman walking down the streets of Paris in a red Balenciaga dress with black polka dots and white Christian Laboutin pumps? People all comment that how dreamy that the two last episodes of the TV series are.

    Yes, I love all the fashions on SATC. Just imagine watching “Gone with the Wind” without all the gorgeous Victorian gowns! I still remember the scene when Vivien Leigh tears the green velvet curtains off the window to make a promenade dress out of the curtain fabrics in that movie. If one wants down-to-earth female bonding recession style, they can always turn to “Little Women.”

    The film makers originally wanted to film in Dubai; that kind of extravagant/tacky things in the film people complaing about at the moment abound in Dubai. Such fantasy hotels do exist in the Persian Gulf, lots of them, in fact. All the PR businesses and service industries are mostly managed by very well paid western expatriates over there.

    Don´t the critics remember CNN, BBC, TLC, Discovery, etc. talked about those ivory tower hotel rooms in their programs? The movie does not make up those personal and all obliging butlers and individual limos; the rich Arabs actually DEMAND these services. I still vividly remember how a French architect in a documentary comments that the mainland Chinese people love all things tacky when she is asked how she feels about overseeing the construction of exact replica of Chateau de Vaux le Vicomte for a Chinese businessman.

    I am not an Arab myself; I wonder since when the West is not anti-Muslim. Even many Asians in East Asia are not friendly to the Arabs. Many western expatriates working In Hong Kong and Singapore also complain about the life in those cities. How can the critics expect those quintessentially New York women get used to life in the Middle East in their one-week vacation?

    I absolutely have no problems with the whole trip to the Middle East at all. They go over there to vacation for one-week rather than going there as representatives of the US government or some other official or academic bodies. Do viewers really expect these women to go over there to create miracles that make Mother Teresa proud? What do you say about those Asian, Arabic, Indian and even African films that ridicule all Americans and Europeans?

    Unsurprisingly, the critics out there also conveniently overlook another theme in this film: there is nowhere else like home (in this case New York for these fabulous ladies). Remember the Wizard of Oz inspired line in the film?

    If you are a true fan of the original TV series, you should remember that the gals are not even used to LA and Paris! That´s right, they have traveled to LA (season 4), Atlantic City, San Francisco (season 5), Paris (season 6) and Mexico (Movie 1). Don´t use the lame “running out of ideas” excuse.

    I wonder how well can the critics cope if they stay in a non western hotel in mainland China and get stuck with unidentifiable food items at the breakfast buffet spread in the morning. It is funny for me to see how Westerners (North Americans AND Europeans) dash into Starbucks and McDonald´s like they run for their lives, as soon as they see these outlets, in mainland China. The fact that the ladies are “not culturally sensitive” in the Middle East gets on your nerves because it shows how you would actually behave and say if you were there.

    No, I do not see the characters lecturing the viewers on the Middle Eastern culture. It is actually Miranda reminding the other three to respect the local customs. It seems the critics also conveniently forget that Carrie feels very uncomfortable with all these excessive attentions from her bulters and has developed some kind of friendship with him.

    I have been to the Middle East. Michael Patrick King has been to the Middle East (Morocco, Dubai and Abu Dhabi). It is infuriating for me to hear all these critics because they do not the series well at all and obviously most of them have not been to the Middle East. The UAE is in fact trying to hard to promote itself as the New Middle East. There are many western business women in the UAE. It would be truly ridiculous if the gals were to Saudi Arabia instead because Saudi Arabia does not grant visas to the Kingdom to foreign women traveling alone.

    There following samples just show the critics are much more ignorant than the fictional SATC characters!
    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/style/in-sex-and-the-city-2-glitz-is-the-word/article1584492/

    “Is a goddess-style Norma Kamali dress appropriate attire for a 14-hour flight to Abu Dhabi?”

    Has the critic seen how many British Airways first class passengers get on the planes in coutures? Singapore Airlines even provide silk pajamas for its first class passengers! Joan Collins with her Louis Vuitton suitcases, anyone?

    “It is ironic that the foursome continues to go heavy on the glitter even as they vacation in a country where local women sport ultra conservative burkas and niqabs (although Carrie does at least attempt to fit in by donning a metallic turban).”

    Does the critic actually know how much rich Middle Eastern women love to wear glittering coutures underneath their burkas and niqabs? By the way, the burkas and niqabs for the rich Middle Eastern women are couture pieces, as expensive as the artisan kimonos!

    I am also furious to read that many people attacking the gals for still living such a high life in the movie because supposedly some viewers will feel even more depressed at home after seeing the movie. Well, if you apply the same logic on Disneyland/Disney World, would it not be a crime for parents to bring their children to Disneyland/Disney World because their children would become bitter and cynical after returning from the theme parks, realizing the real childhood is full of trials and disappointments after all?

    I love both the trips to Paris and Abu Dhabi. If you find one trip dream-like and the other ridiculous, it has more to do with you personally rather than what the characters do in the trips. You dream of going to Paris but pretend that you really know the Middle East or really do not want to have any references to the social problems in the Middle East. I interpret all these attacks going on right now as the unconscious attacking the conscious.

    Folks out there attacking Samantha for being culturally insensitive in the Middle East. How about aging and physically unattractive male American CEOs being culturally insensitive in western Europe? There is nothing contrived about the trip to the Emirates. Smith Jerrod has made a “Rambo” -like film over there, and then, he sets Samantha, his old flame, up for a business gig in Abu Dhabi. It is a business plus pleasure trip, just like the trip the four took to LA back in Season 4, when Carrie is going there to discuss the film options for her column.

    The majority of people really do not really respect foreign cultures but they do everything the guide books tell them to so they can pretend that they respect the foreign cultures they are surrounded by. The majority of the people in the western world at best do not want to have anything to do with the Muslim World and at worst simply despise all things Muslim, but they all want to pretend that they are politically correct. What these folks really want is just half-felt apology to the Muslim world so they can stay clear of all the Islamic attacks in the future. The movie actually makes a point by saying there are many kind and honest individuals in the Muslim world.

    Both critics and folks ridicule the appearance of Liza Minnelli in the film. To them, having Liza is no different from having George W. Bush in the film. Liza Minnelli is a New York icon and SATC is closely identified with New York. Remember Nathan Lane in season 5? I remember one critic questions the legality of having Liza officiating the marriage ceremony. Well, gay marriage is not completely legalized in Connecticut and New York. That means Stanford and Anthony can do whatever they want in their marriage ceremony because the ceremony only really matters to them anyway.

    I am also a fan of Marlene Dietrich. Do you think Marlene Dietrich sang covers and her original tunes in her legendary concerts in perfect tune? Uh, No. People back then went to the Dietrich concerts because they wanted to have a special evening with a legend. Look at the way people are attacking Liza´s performance in the film. Oh my God, what wrong has Liza done? People would have attacked Julie Andrews and her throaty vocals if Miss Andrews had sung in the film instead!

    Another review claims that Liza would never perform in the kind of wedding depicted in the film in real life. Oh really? Most critics probably do not know that Stanford Blatch is a film producer in the book and a talent agent from a blue-blooded family in the series and the films. Standord is probably 10 years older than Carrie. Don´t you think Stanford would have made friends with Liza back in the Studio 54 days?

    Carrie´s fashion has been way out of the curve since day one of the series. The fashion is ridiculous to you because you cannot pull if off yourself. Lots of people in New York, London and Paris still live a high life in this current economic climate. You are actually jealous rather than disgusted because you even struggle financially during the good times, right?

    Of course, the critics are bitching that Carrie has found faults in her supposedly perfect marriage with Big. Are the critics actually married to either big or Carrie?? Is that really news for us to hear that many couples divorce these days because the actual marriage itself does not live up to their premarital expectations? I applaud Michael Patrick King for bringing the issue up in the latest SATC film.

    Some critics say there is not enough sex in SATC2. I can think of three more possible solutions for MORE sex. Solution one is extramarital sex (done that, twice). Solution two is to have these couples having sex all the time. Solution three is to have these couples having sex a la “Sex, Lies and Videotape.” I bet all these scenarios will attract the wrath of the critics like honey for bears, just as well.

    What about the length of the SATC films? Let´s put it this way, SATC 2 would not have been made if the critics had coined SATC 1 as a masterpiece but the fans had just yawned at it. Some market research studies probably have been done and the results of these studies simply show the fans want each film to stand as a mini season. As I am a fan myself, I do not want to wait for two years just to have a 90-minute feature film. The critics say that the producers of the films want to to milk more money out of the fans. Well, they could have made shorter films so they could have made more money as the theaters could have a lot more screenings during the opening weekend!

    It is a fantasy about 4 successful New York women dealing with their issues and getting the most out of their lives. The funny thing is that many critics complaining how much Carrie bitches yet they bitch nonstop in their own movie write-ups.

    Why do critics make such a big deal out of the so-called critic-proof movies? Well, according to an article, one critics claim that good reviews would have helped “The Da Vinci Code” to make another $100 million from the box office receipts. It is the egos, folks. Many critics, especially the established ones, think only they know how to appreciate good movies and relish the power to make or break a movie. If nobody cares about what they write, how are they going to make a living out of what they are doing now?

    SATC is one of the most nuanced New York fantasies out there. It touches me very much to see that Charlotte gets to enjoy using Carrie´s apartment. She deserves it because she has helped Carrie to pay the down payment of the apartment with her wedding ring from Trey MacDougal.

    I just saw the first movie again a couple days ago. Watching the first movie again makes me appreciate the second movie even more. Now I understand the beauty of doing the double-SATC-feature evenings. I see many parallels in both movies.

    Samantha has gotten the trips really started in both films. It is curious to me that only the vibrant holiday outfits in the second movie get criticized. There would have been an extravagant holiday in the real Mexico if the budget of the first movie had been the same as the second one!

    Carrie is reading “Love Letters of Great Men” in the first movie; Big is watching classic romantic movies in the second movie.

    Stanford says “In my wedding, I will wear something like that, only bigger!” during Carrie´s bridal gown photo shoot in the first movie. Stanford has an over-the-top wedding in the second movie.

    Remember those 80s moments in both movies?

    There are confession moments over drinks in both movies.

    We have the cheating crises with Steve in the first movie and Carrie in the second movie.
    By the way, Samantha would have run off with Rikard Spirit right away in the middle of girls´ night out if she were a bona fide clinical nymphomaniac in the second movie.

    I know the exact answer to the “Why the Middle East?” question. These folks are the actual racists; they dislike the Middle East so much, so much so that they want to ripe the awareness of the region off their minds!

    So many details in the films remind me once agin why I fell in love with the series at the first place. By the way, Samantha is always the first class/executive jet type of gal. I still remember that horror on Samantha´s face when she sees the Amtrak sleeper cabin for the first time at the beginning of her and Carrie´s trip to San Francisco for Carrie´s book tour in season 5. On their way back, Samantha dishes out money for two first class tickets on AA´s three-class flagship service SFO-JFK flight. By the way, Aiden makes an appearance in a season 6 episode.

    The series and movies are also about making your own choices and live with the consequences of your choices in great stride. That´s why you have 4 very different characters. The women and girls out there should use these characters as role models to make their own choices. If the movies and series were really about asking women to have nonstop libidos even during breast cancer and menopause, then the shows and movies would have featured 4 Samanthas right from the beginning. Samantha would never claim that her lifestyle were the one and only one for the entire humanity.

    The two movies are not as exhilarating as the last few episodes of the TV series, but I am loving the whole SATC franchise nevertheless. Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte and Miranda are still the four fabulous New York women with their own character faults; I do not want them to turn into the cliched tactful matrons of the New York high society. SATC is based on reality, just not the complete reality of most people.

    No, the people involved in the series do not pay glossed-over lip services to feminism; they talk about how they want to show smart and successful women making their own choices for their own lives. How realistic are the Woody Allen stuffs really? By the way, is any critic a “midnight cowboy” in the Big Apple themselves?

    There are too many SATC haters out there simply because SATC is supposedly made just for women with all the trimmings that touch on the insecurities of heterosexual males. Many folks are disappointed because they feel that SATC this time around does not live up to their imaginations (NOT expectations) of the series. The haters, like blood-smelling hounds, sense the sentiments. They just intensify their insults this time around so those disillusioned finally join in too. The haters and detractors have finally created a self-fulfilling prophecy. I will love SATC forever even if the possible third film is just like this one. Haters and detractors, back off my favorite series and movies!




  2.  
    Jimmy F.

    You have a point.




  3.  
    Rachel

    Nicely put. I read all the negative reviews and then saw the film which was probably the best way to see it – I wasn’t expecting much. Imagine my surprise when I found an entertaining, dazzling and escapist bit of movie fare that took my mind off the Gulf disaster, the Middle East and rabid fundamentalists of every stripe. Michael Patrick King never set out to make Citizen Kane and he should be applauded for the smarts that he brought to the movie, particularly his astute sense of what women feel, think and want. At the matinee I attended, there were numerous moments where murmurs of recognition rippled through the entire auditorium. People can trash anything they want – it’s part of our right in a democracy after all – but the strange thing is that some of them look downright trashy doing it. Go see the movie – it’s worth the giggle.





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