Saturday, July 10, 2010

Sex and the City 2 - a manolo blahnik kick in the groin

I watched Sex and the City 2 a couple of weeks ago and I must say it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be, though it was sillier than I thought it would be.

Why don’t I just skip over the opening ten minute of gay nuptials that included a strange gay chorus belting only-God-knows-what and a stranger than strange Beyonce aka "Single Ladies" homage by Liza Minnelli (seriously, I didn't think she was going to make it. I mean, it was touch and go there for a minute.) In fact, why don't I just skip EVERYTHING that happened in New York; Carrie bored at home, the nanny with the pointy boobs, Miranda taking forever to realize her boss is a sexist, Carrie threatened by another woman, Samantha self medicating into hyper-horniness, Carrie bored at home yet again, take out food, Charlotte paranoid about the nanny with the pointy boobs, the TV in the bedroom, you get the drift, FLUFF.

Let’s start in Abu Dhabi where things got a little interesting for me. Here we were in Abu Dabi, capital of the Emirates and the cultural contradictions were coming at you like a sprinter with gas to a toilet. The first fifteen minutes were a political activists wet dream; the sexily glad Western women juxtaposed with the *abaya covered Arab women. The poor immigrant servants spending months away from the families juxtaposed with the spoiled wealthy Western tourists who forget to dismiss them for the night. The liberated and outspoken “I am woman!” gals of New York juxtaposed with the “rigid and repressed” Emirates women whose husbands cover their eyes to protect them from western debauchery. I was SUPER exited to see this. Sex and the City ACTUALLY liberated its emasculated balls and ejaculated something other than opulence: clothes, cars, wealth, sex, gorgeous guys, all were in obscene supply by the way.

Then came the huge street battle thanks to Samantha and her oversexed self and the ladies in the abayas came to the rescue, shuffling our sisters into a store front or backroom, not quite sure which but it was pretty quaint. I thought here we go, a moment of shared sisterhood. What, if anything in the way of wisdom, would the Emirate sisters impart to our 4 gals from the city? What followed made my jaw hit the floor.

Here, when Carrie need to understand something about boredom and married, when Miranda was learning to stand up for herself, when Charlotte was learning that motherhood is not a veil that covers the rest of a woman’s life, when Samantha was learning that her vagina is not a commodity on the stock exchange, what did the director choose to do? He reduced the Emirate sisters to their under garments! Yes, people. The movie did a two-step, flipped over and stood on its head. The near lynching outside was forgotten, because after all that material is too heavy for the American audience to lift. It turned into fast food all the way as the ladies revealed that underneath the sweat black cloak they each one a part of the fall collection. Who cares what they were concealing this was a film women discovering themselves and walking in that discovery.

But the bigger question here was why? Did Sex and the City producers realize that by showing all these contradictions they were biting off more than they could chew? Or was it the realization that their audience probably didn’t want to deal with the material? I think the latter, so they gave us a comfortable end.

That said, when you really think about it, there was NO reason whatsoever that this film had to be in Abu Dhabi. If they had addressed the contradictions yes, but the location in no way moved the story forward. All the shit, including Hayden’s kiss could have gone down in death-valley or New Mexico for all we care.

* I will take this moment to say this. Compared to other Arab nations, Abu Dahbi’s dress code for women is pretty “lax”. But the reason I find this worth mentioning is because it is the producers of this film who made this an issue by having the lead, Carrie fixate on and make commentary about a woman in an abaya. Then they failed to give the subject the respect it deserved and simply swept it under the rug and ran out of the room. Simplify: If you can’t handle a subject matter, then don’t introduce it in your film at all.

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