As a huge fan of the Sex and the City series and movie franchise, I, like many other fans, was sorely disappointed by the sequel. Where the original had tension and character development, the follow up lacked drive and had too much of a 'back in the good ole days' vibe. It didn't feel present, but seemed as though it was taking the characters back to a time before marriage and kids. Sadly, I didn't want to see the characters as they used to be, but I wanted a peek into how they are now.
Despite the letdown, I'm going to flip my perspective and share reasons why I don't regret the two and a half hours lost and twelve dollars spent. After all, it's not my style to trash female-fierce films. Especially considering how few movies are headline by women over 40.
You can never go back. The movie starts with a brief flashback of the foursome in the 80s, when they all first met. And that was the last bit of reminiscing that was somewhat enjoyable. Interestingly enough, this rule only applies to two out the four: Carrie and Samantha; Miranda and Charlotte seem to push forward despite the challenges that being an adult woman can bring, but their compatriots don't fare so well. Carrie longs for excitement in her 2-year old marriage. This desire pushes her into considering a part-time living arrangement and into the arms of a former lover (if you've seen the trailer, you already know who). Samantha, meanwhile, is relegated to the lowest sex gags and cheap jokes. I get it; she likes sex, but after seeing Samantha take on three dimensions in her relationship with Smith, it's disappointing to watch her regress into a vagina on legs.
Marriage can be boring. Here I thought it was the seven-year itch you had to watch out for, but in our ADHD society that's been cut in less than half to two. So, Carrie (and probably, Big) both are having a hard time adjusting to matrimony. Maybe that because he's on his third marriage and she's spent most of her adult life dating a bunch of different guys. 'Variety is the spice of life' and when you live that for a decade or more before you get married, how can you look one person in the eyes forever and not twitch?
Get cultural perspective. I lived in a country where instead of saying 'excuse me' when you burped, you'd say 'thank God'; instead of rotating lunch breaks, a whole business would shut down for an hour or two. Did this make sense to me? No, but I learned the reason behind it instead of dismissing it as the trappings of a backward people. Something that our fabulous ladies never do (although Miranda does try) on a trip to Abu Dhabi. Although the host describes the city as 'the new Middle East,' it's still historically Muslim; there is a reserve and modesty which Samantha abhorrently rejects, Carrie casts a downward glance on and Charlotte doesn't really think about excepts she's sure she doesn't want to use her married (read: Jewish) name because 'it's still the Middle East.'
Fashion is ageless. Sex and the City has become synonymous with fashion innovation and trends thanks to stylist extraordinaire, Patricia Field. Risk taking isn't limited to the under-29 set. Ms. Field takes the ladies to gorgeous highs (colorful fabrics, flowy outfits , harem pants) and head scratching lows (see below).
Fashion can also be inappropriate. Why was Carrie wearing a goth-y black crown to Stanford and Anthony's wedding? What was up with the bejeweled shoulder spikes that Samantha had on? I like the fact that Sam verbally body checked the sales associate who tried to tell her that an outfit looked too 'young' for her, BUT when women of a certain age try to, stylistically, push the envelope they should be careful to mature the look. Otherwise, they'll risk appearing like they should be pushing a walker instead.
Motherhood is challenging. The best scene in the movie belonged to Charlotte and Miranda, quite frankly, the heart in an otherwise vapid film. The two shared their 'tales from the crypt' parenting moments and even raised their glasses to the women who do it without the aid of a nanny. It felt real and honest and gave their characters, who often have to play second bananas to their blonder halves, top billing.
Karaoke should be surprisingly good or comically bad. Correct me if I'm wrong, but nobody wants to hear 'I Am Woman.' Actually, nobody wants to hear a karaoke version of 'I Am Woman,' so when the ladies step onto the stage at a hip nightclub and honk out this hokey women's lib anthem, I'm stunned that the crowd would join in. It would have been better if they actually raised some eyebrows - in a good way (a la Gwyneth Paltrow in Duets) or busted some guts, in funny way(a la Cameron Diaz in My Best Friend's Wedding).
Third time's a charm. Let's hope.