movies

A Critical Survey of Sex and the City 2

While we have no intention of seeing Sex and the City 2, we have every intention of reading as many reviews for it as possible, because there are few things as pleasurable as reading a good review of a bad movie. A sampling of our favorites to date:

A.O. Scott, The New York Times, 5.27.10:

The first “Sex and The City” movie, which came out two years ago, qualifies as a comedy both because it is somewhat funny and because, according to a more classical definition, it ends, after some reversals and delays, with a wedding. The sequel — which should have borrowed a subtitle from another picture opening this week and called itself “Sex and the City: The Sands of Time” — begins with a wedding and never seems to end. Your watch will tell you that a shade less than two and a half hours have elapsed, but you may be shocked at just how much older you feel when the whole thing is over.

The wedding, the characters frequently remark, with the mixture of insouciant mockery and cosmopolitan self-congratulation that seems to have become the hallmark of this weary franchise, is a gay one. Stanford (Willie Garson) and Anthony (Mario Cantone) have made honest men of each other, giving the four main female characters, their male companions and the director, Michael Patrick King, a chance to wink, nod and drag out Liza Minnelli to perform “All the Single Ladies.” Her version is in no way superior to the one in “Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel,” and it is somehow both the high point of “Sex and the City 2” and a grim harbinger of what is to come.

Ann Hornaday, The Washington Post, 5.26.10:

What the detractors never understood was that as much as any comic book, video game or action toy spin-off, “Sex and the City” is, was and always will be for the fans. Which is why the first movie could be appreciated on its own hedonistic terms, while “Sex and the City 2” — an enervated, crass and gruesomely caricatured trip to nowhere — seems conceived primarily to find new and more cynical ways to abuse the loyalty of its audience.

Casting aside the filmmakers’ breathtaking cultural insensitivity, their astonishing tone-deaf ear for dialogue and pacing, their demented, self-serving idea of female empowerment, the biggest sin of “Sex and the City 2” is its lack of beauty. It’s garish when it should be sumptuous, tacky when it should be luxe, wafer-thin when it should be whip-smart and sophisticated.

Roger Ebert:

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.

David Edelstein, New York, 5.23.10:

The film is an epic eyesore. It’s as if they set out to make a movie that said, “You’re right! We are hideous!” It begins with the nightmarish manic gaiety of Mamma Mia!, with strenuous lockjawed smiles that make you think you’re watching stroke victims.

Andrew O’Hehir, Salon.com, 5.26.10:

It would have been more merciful for writer-director Michael Patrick King to have rented Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte and Miranda out to the “Saw” franchise, or to Rob Zombie, so we could watch them get shot in the head or skinned alive by Arkansas rednecks.

King’s storytelling operates on the premise that the viewer zones out every few minutes, and when she swims back up to the surface again, something new should be happening. Preferably involving camels. Yes, there is a scene involving camels in which the term “camel-toe” is verbally and visually invoked, and that might be even more embarrassing than the moment when Samantha refers to a manly desert-adventurer type as “Lawrence of my labia.”

TT Stern-Enzi, City Beat, 5.26.10:

As the first Sex and the City film proved, such [self-indulgent] behavior can be grating when extended beyond two hours. It’s like being stuck in a car on a long road trip with a bratty child. Or, in this case, times four and the only hope is to either ditch the car on the side of the road and simply walk away or speed up and ram into the nearest abandoned edifice and hope you die on impact.

For the record, Stern-Enzi gives the film an “F.”

And, from the vault, Anthony Lane’s hilarious takedown of the original Sex in the City movie, which included this indelible line: “Look out for Kristin Davis screaming ‘No! No!’ at Chris Noth like a ninth grader auditioning for ‘The Crucible.'”

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