The latest offering from Carrie and the girls shows they're more cartoons now than women
Sex and the City 2
Of all the questions asked about the new Sex and the City film – will Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker) solve her issues with Big? Will lawyer Miranda (Cynthia Nixon) quit her job? Will Charlotte (Kristin Davis) discover an expression other than furrowed concern? And why does their horny mother (Kim Cattrall) keep hanging out with them? – perhaps the most urgent is this.
What is the point in Carrie Bradshaw? I mean, what do people see in her?
Everyone’s favourite emaciated clothes mule feminist icon spent the entirely of Sex and the City‘s 94 episodes in the depths of twittering shallow self-obsession, writing a column about her twittering shallow self-obsession, while driving away every decent man in favour of Big – a smug prick with a bank balance.
Fans, of course, will argue they like her because of her faults – the Manhattan socialite newspaper columnist with a aircraft-hanger walk-in wardrobe and a severe case of onomania, they will say, is ‘just like them’.
The question you must ask about Sex and the City 2, then, is this: does she get worse? In a word, yes. Her husband of two years, Big (Chris Noth), has had the cheek to buy her a flat screen telly, and request, as he drops exhausted from his full-time highly-stressful office job where the market is collapsing around his ears, that they spend at least one day a month not going to another New York showbiz event, and, you know, stay in. He even wants to cook (she, of course, can’t).
For Carrie, Big has just gone too far.
Does he not even care that she doesn’t do anything all day and therefore wants to go too every single glitzy bash until the end of time? How can he be so selfish to make her watch him cook for her?
Does he not see that, because of her demented phobia of growing old in any way at all and living a ‘normal’ life, all she desires is that they are still dragging their decrepit, arthritic, pensioner bodies to the latest meaningless launch of the latest meaningless self-obsessed book well into their 90s until, finally, they collapse on a red carpet, Carrie breathing her last under the latest designer dress that now outweighs her tiny matchstick body by a ratio of 5-to-1, as Samantha – who is now a robot with a vagina attached, with permanently-on robot vibrator inside – watches on? Does he not even care what SHE WANTS?
This conflict, amazingly, proves the crux of the film. Naturally, the others have problems too – lawyer Miranda hates her job, mother-of-two Charlotte just can’t cope sometimes, despite having a full-time nanny, and Samantha has some problem with vaginal lubrication, but quickly resolves it using yams – and we soon follow the foursome on an all-expenses paid holiday to Abu Dhabi… for no real reason that anyone can work out.
Oh wait, maybe this reason. Women are asked to be covered up in Abu Dhabi, which jars with Samantha – a women for whom any time spent clothed means precious time not getting another emotionless pounding from another grinning hard-on with a haircut. Therefore, they get to go all “girl power” on the place, and – in possibly the worst scene in any film, ever – we learn that under the Burkas, Abu Dhabi women wear over-priced, gaudy New York fashion just like them, which must make the trips to the hospital after fainting with heat exhaustion that much more pleasurable.
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Oh, wait, and another reason too: for Carrie to meet ex-fella Aiden (John Corbett) and fret a bit about her marriage to that bastard back home. DID WE MENTION HE WANTS TO SIT ON THE SOFA SOMETIMES WHEN HIS LEGS ARE ABOUT TO GIVE WAY DUE TO EXHAUSTION?
Let’s be clear. Saying “this is for women” insults women. It just does. The films’ appeal lie in something far more cynical: trading on the nostalgia of a once-good show, a show that managed to redefine sexual roles, and a film franchise that couldn’t have done more to set them back. Now every tick and trademark of the show has become a commodity. They were into fashion? Now they change every two minutes (at one point, they change in the middle of the desert, yet they look like they’ve each been given 60 seconds in a Salvation Army store). Samantha likes sex? Now Samantha is rarely not having sex. It was a show. Now it’s a cartoon.
Yet as any Sex and the City fan will tell you – after they’ve told you how it’s about them, and about their life (these people will often be from Slough) – they will tell you it’s all about the message of it. The message. Yes. And the message is this: everything will be okay. That’s always the Sex and the City message. Wrapped up in another cheesy Carrie pun, it’s the bed-time story that everyone wants a piece of.
The film opens with a gay wedding – a gay best friend of one of the girls is marrying a gay best friend of another.
“How did this happen?” asks Miranda. “I thought they hated each other!”
They did, Miranda, but as the Sex and the City films show, if you want to believe in something bad enough, anything can become true.