Thank you for being a friend
Traveled down the road and back again… and again… and again
I feel silly saying it but this post contains spoilers of Sex And The City II. So if you don’t want to know the entire plot… oh, wait. There wasn’t a plot, per say. There was… stuff happening. So if you don’t want to know what stuff happened and that it all worked out in the end, stop reading now.
When I arrived home after seeing SATC II, I gave Keith a little bit of a recap. He said, “There’s a concept in the comics world called ‘fan service,’ and I think that’s what’s happening with SATC.” Meaning, once there is a huge fanbase for a story/characters, new issues of comics will just maintain the story, giving fans more of the same, instead of rocking the boat with plots that cause change or character transformation and upset fans.Â Liken it to the experience of watching Super Friends onÂ a Saturday morning in the 1980s – there were the good guys, there were the bad guys, stuff happened and the bad guys got put down. Over and over and over again.
Because I know a bit about screenwriting, sometimes when I’m at a bad movie I end up imagining how the words must have looked typed on the page. I imagine a table read of the script with all the actors trying to convince themselves that the script is not total shit. In this case, the script may have looked something like this:
I told this rich guy I would not dream of taking him up on his offer of a free trip to Abu Dhabi unless he paid for my three best friends to go too. And my vagina.
Get out of town! Literally!
Oh, I should not go. I’m worried my husband will have an affair with my nanny because she has large breasts.
If I’m taking my coochie all the way to the Middle East, I need my soul mates with me.
The robes the women wear there are called burkas.
Of the four women, the Worst Actress award goes to Kim Cattrall. Granted, it must be exhausting when every line you utter has to be about how you’re over 50 and fab or about the state of your labia/libido but her delivery pushes her performance into camp. The Cattrall Method is this: drawl stale line while scrunching up one eye and finish with quick overall face scrunch. Repeat. Repeat. Especially juicy line? Add full-on wink.
As usual, Samantha is never rejected by a man she wants to have sex with, even when he happens to be 30 years younger than she is. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, since we’re dealing in fantasy anyway, but then the writers could at least make her interesting, give her genuinely witty or insightful things to say or give the encounters an element of “will she or won’t she get the young stud?” Instead, in the opening sequence of scenes at Stanford and Anthony’s wedding, Samantha meets Anthony’s younger brother and the exchange goes something like this:
Hi, hot young guy.
I’m young and hot.
What do you do for a living?
I lay pipe.
That sounds promising. Want to help me out? I think I just sprung a leak.
Cut to bed post thumping against hotel wall and sound of Samantha screaming in a way that the rest of us recognize as fake but which completely fools the young hot guy.
It seems SATC producers brought in the best porn writers they could find to doctor up the script. “Hey, what do you guys do when it’s a scene like, you know, a woman lets in a plumber to fix her sink and they end up getting it on?Â Because that’s the kind of dialog we need here.”
But all this talk about the failings of Cattrall is really only a stall tactic before getting around to Sarah Jessica Parker/Carrie. In the movie, she and John/Mr. Big have been married for two years and things are getting stale. She wants romance and parties; he wants to watch TV. Whatever is a woman to do? Well, she goes to Abu Dhabi, runs into old boyfriend Aidan at a market, has dinner with him and ends up exchanging a kiss.
Then she runs away like a little girl who just got kissed on the playground.
“Oh me, oh my. Meeting my old boyfriend at his hotel when I’m feeling insecure was a bad idea. Oh me, oh my.”
The kiss is enough to send Carrie rushing back to the gals for a group think over whether or not she should tell her husband. They say “no,” so of course the answer she arrives at is “yes.” Thanks, group think! You always come through!
Back in New York, Big is devastated by the news. We know this because he goes to one of the glass walls in his office and leans against it, looking out at the vast city below. What is he thinking?
“She is totally grounded.”
Because that’s what their relationship feels like. Whose husband calls them “kiddo?” Whose husband goes around saying things like, “Ya done good, kid?” It’s as if Miley Cyrus is married to Walter Cronkite. As if Kristen Stewart hooked up with Walter Brimley.
Although Sarah Jessica Parker retains a charm that convinces me she is one of few actresses who could ever have embodied the character of Carrie Bradshaw so completely, it’s hard to avoid the fact that she’s aging. Which is not a negative thing in and of itself but the self-knowledge that often accompanies growing older is completely absent. Instead, we get the continually naive Carrie, a woman who wears a ball gown skirt to a Middle Eastern souk. She marvels over the cheapness of shoes at a marketplace stall presided over by an elderly man who probably lives for a year on what that skirt cost. Really, Carrie? What used to be endearing in a younger woman is now boorish.
And while we’re on the subject of being boorish, many of the scenes in Abu Dhabi are so cringe-worthy they are best watched through the cracks of one’s fingers. Samantha demonstrating her ability to give a blow job with a hookah? Scandalizing a Muslim man and his wife by being sexually promiscuous in public? Brandishing condoms at men in the souk? Putting on burkas after meeting some women who happen to have a love for French couture?
Ha ha ha! Those backwards pilgrims! They need to relax about sex. Be more comfortable with it, like we are in the U.S. Why, we’re so comfortable with sex we talk about it openly in our schools and everyone is OK with that. We think porn is better when the women have real boobs and pubic hair. And our men are super comfortable with menstruation. Those people and their hang-ups! Ha ha ha.
I’m not sure what the follow-up will be for SATC III, which is surely in the works, but I know what I might do -Â have Mr. Big die of a heart attack. Possibly during sex (BTW, this movie has the least sex in it of all the episodes and previous movie, despite Samantha’s best efforts). Since SATC II is all about avoiding mortality, the follow-up should be all about facing up to reality and endings. Who is Carrie without her daddy figure? Who might Charlotte be if devastated by divorce? What if Miranda finally comes out? What if men start turning Samantha down for sex? Instead of a glitz-fest in the desert, I would stage a big old mess back in the city. And I think I could do it in under 2 1/2 hours.
Oh, and thank you, Liza Minelli, for providing the only bit of camp that was purposeful and hit the mark. I hope to have legs like that when I’m 64.