I think I’ve only seen one episode of Sex and the City, and if I recall correctly, Kim Cattrall was naked in it (though from what I’ve read, I probably need to be more specific than that). Suffice to say, I’m not the target demographic for Sex and the City 2, and honestly, I have no interest in seeing it. However, I am very entertained by the various reviews I’ve read that just savage the film (and I’m not normally one who enjoys reviews dripping with vitriol).
Lindy West (The Stranger):
Sex and the City 2 makes Phyllis Schlafly look like Andrea Dworkin. Or that super-masculine version of Cynthia Nixon that Cynthia Nixon dates. Or, like, Ralph Nader (wait, bad example — Schlafly totally does look like Ralph Nader in a granny wig). SATC2 takes everything that I hold dear as a woman and as a human — working hard, contributing to society, not being an entitled c*nt 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. But I digress. Let us start with the “plot.”
At sexism’s funeral (which takes place in a mysterious, incense-shrouded chamber of international sisterhood), the women of Abu Dhabi remove their black robes and veils to reveal — this is not a joke — the same hideous, disposable, criminally expensive shreds of cloth and feathers that hang from Carrie et al.‘s emaciated goblin shoulders. Muslim women: Under those craaaaaaay-zy robes, they’re just as vapid and obsessed with physical beauty and meaningless material concerns as us! Feminism! Fuck yeah!
If this is what modern womanhood means, then just fucking veil me and sew up all my holes. Good night.
Roger Ebert (Chicago Sun-Times):
Some of these people make my skin crawl. The characters of “Sex and the City 2” are flyweight bubbleheads living in a world which rarely requires three sentences in a row. Their defining quality is consuming things. They gobble food, fashion, houses, husbands, children, vitamins and freebies. They must plan their wardrobes on the phone, so often do they appear in different basic colors, like the plugs you pound into a Playskool workbench.
All of this is pretty thin gruel. The movie shows enterprise, and flies the entire cast away to the emirate of Abu Dhabi, where the girls are given a $22,000-a-night suite and matching Maybachs and butlers, courtesy of a sheik who wants to have a meeting with Samantha and talk about publicity for his hotel.
This sequence is an exercise in obscenely conspicuous consumption, in which the girls appear in so many different outfits they must have been followed to the Middle East by a luggage plane. I don’t know a whole lot about fashion, but I know something about taste, and these women spend much of the movie dressed in tacky, vulgar clothing. Carrie and Samantha also display the maximum possible boobage, oblivious to Arab ideas about women’s modesty. There’s more cleavage in this film than at a pro wrestler’s wedding.
And crotches, have we got crotches for you. Big close-ups of the girls themselves, and some of the bulgers they meet. And they meet some. They meet the Australian world cup team, for example, which seems to have left its cups at home. And then there’s the intriguing stranger Samantha meets at the hotel, whose zipper-straining arousal evokes the fury of an offended Arab guest and his wife. This prodigy’s name is Rikard Spirt. Think about it.
Andrew O’Hehir (Salon):
[Carrie Bradshaw and Mr. Big are] like the wounded couple in Bergman’s “Scenes From a Marriage,” except with millions and millions of dollars and no souls. When Carrie asks Big, “Am I just a bitch wife who nags you?” I could hear all the straight men in the theater — all four of us — being physically prevented from responding.
Indeed, this movie’s offensive on many levels, but Arabs and Muslims don’t get to feel special. It relies on stupid stereotypes because it’s a stupid movie that’s offensive to virtually everyone. It’s offensive to the demographic it claims to adore — straight women and gay men — who are depicted, more than ever, as hopelessly obsessed with the surface of things, to the point where they forget there’s anything below that. The only reason it isn’t offensive to straight men is that there aren’t any; Big is something else, a shambling, half-dead ghoul enslaved to a demonic harridan. (One of Carrie’s old boyfriends makes a token reappearance and livens up the movie briefly, but he’s a purely perfunctory complication.)
It’s offensive to an entire audience who came of age with these women and who remain breathtakingly loyal, and out of nostalgic affection may not have the heart to turn away from them. It’s offensive to King’s own creations, toward whom he now seems to feel nothing but contempt. It’s offensive because it keeps cattle-driving a franchise once based on sparkle and economy toward new heights of painful, frantic emptiness. I kept telling myself, over and over, that Carrie, Samantha, Miranda and Charlotte — the real, flawed, funny, recognizably human ones, not these lobotomized zombie replacements — would never do anything so dumb.
You can read more reviews at Rotten Tomatoes, where the movie currently has a score of 14%.