Last night – like millions other women – I got dolled up, went out for dinner, drank a few cocktails and headed to my local cinema to watch the eagerly anticipated Sex and the City 2. As much as I was so desperate to love it, so desperate to emerge from the cinema in floods of happy tears feeling empowered and sexy, I just felt more than a little bit bemused…
For the first hour, the film had every promise of being even better than the first one. Samantha was on top form, popping hormone pills left, right and centre; Charlotte’s perfectly polished exterior was gradually cracking due to a permanently screaming child; inevitable tensions were beginning to emerge in Carrie and Big’s marriage; and Miranda was sliding back into her crazy workaholic personality that drove Steve to have his affair in the first movie… Oh, and Liza Minelli performed Beyonce’s Single Ladies at the gay wedding of the century. Utterly genius. I could feel myself being drawn in at an unstoppable pace, luxuriously enjoying the most self-indulgent chick-flick ever.
Then, it all just went wrong for me.
In some bizarre twist, Samantha was given an all-expenses paid holiday to Abu Dhabi by a wealthy hotel owner/film-maker. Again, for the first 20 minutes of their holiday, this all seemed an incredible stroke of genius, where else to put these four impossibly glamorous women than amongst gorgeous desert scenery, luxuriously decorated surroundings and in suitably ludicrous outfits?
That was before it all declined into a slightly racist farce.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m an open-minded kind of gal who enjoys edgy, borderline-offensive comedy as much as the next person. But this movie just went a step too far for me, coming across as a depiction of four ignorant forty-somethings outrageously voicing their prejudices by making some incredibly rude assumptions about women in burkhas and other traditions of middle-Eastern countries. It wasn’t even done in a satirical way – Carrie genuinely seemed to think that a woman lifting her veil to eat french fries was something that should have been in a zoo. That made me a little uncomfortable, I don’t know about anyone else. At least I think it made me uncomfortable… or was I spectacularly missing something?
Another distinctly cringe-inducing element for me was the fact that Samantha seemed to turn from the outrageous, sex-obsessed woman that we all know and love into a mutton-dressed-as-lamb, menopausal, nymphomaniacial banshee. Of course, this led to her being arrested, which bizarrely led to her having the most frightening condom-waving breakdown in the middle of a marketplace.
There were, to give the trashy chick-flick its due, some incredibly funny and touching moments such as Charlotte and Miranda’s heartfelt mum-to-mum exchange, Carrie and Big’s tearful make-up and Stanford and Anthony’s wedding vows, just to name my personal favourites. I just can’t help but feel that over all it tried far too hard to better the first movie, which was wonderful in its simplicity just like the television series. I wish they’d all just stayed in New York where their personalities actually belong.