May 26, 2010, - 3:59 pm
That summarizes “Sex and the City 2,” which debuts in theaters at midnight tonight. The movie was so long, slow, and boring, I wondered how long its 2.5 hours was in Sarah Jessica Parker dog years. Or is that . . . Sarah Jess-equine Parker horse years?
Yup, my two jokes about this movie are funnier than most of the really bad, sex-laden puns and vulgarities that populate this cheesy, annoying waste of time. The movie–which mostly took place at a gay wedding in New York and a trip to Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates (actually, filmed in Morocco)–had so many dumb R-rated double entendres and was so punny unfunny (“Bedouin Bath & Beyond”–haha, funny), it felt as if it was written by senior citizen pornographers who started a second career as bad nightclub act comedians in the Catskills. Blechhh. This horrible movie makes the first “Sex and the City” movie (read my review)–which I hated–look like Shakespeare.
Also, I didn’t know for whom to root: the ugly Americans who are the female (at least, I think they’re “shes”) embodiment of everything the Islamic world claims is bad about us, or the sleazy Muslim phonies the movie tries to tell us are so charming, luxe, stylish and uber-modest. Yes, the movie does take some satisfying digs at the uber-intolerant Muslims, but only at their prudishness, which isn’t the most accurate or even objectionable part of Islam or the Gulf States and the Middle East. And just because a movie makes statements about the obvious, while still mostly glamorizing Abu Dhabi, doesn’t make it a great movie. This is Exhibit A that it’s otherwise.
So, what is the movie about? I wasn’t quite sure, other than to watch ugly, aging women in gaudy clothes and make-up bitch, whine, and moan at and about their husbands, jobs, and nannies, and then try to have sex in the Middle East, after hanging out at the most painful-to-watch gay wedding. Memo to gay men: this film didn’t do ya any favors. The gay wedding was the most atrociously gaudy, corny thing ever, filled with every gay steretype in the book, including Liza Minnelli performing the Beyonce’s “All the Single Ladies” with two Liza impersonators. And did they really have to impress upon us that one of the gays in the wedding is a Jew, and pervert every wedding tradition of my religion into a gay circus?
I’m not sure which was worse–the gay wedding or the scene of the four women singing feminist anthem, “I Am Woman,” during karaoke at a club in Abu Dhabi. If these four “are woman,” G-d help us. There ain’t no roar here. Just a lot of kvetching.
When the gay wedding is over, we see a whole bunch of Sarah Jessica Parker whining, nagging, and bitching at her husband (yup, that’s the unbliss of hetero marriage the filmmakers want you to see versus the gaudy-but-pleasant love of the gays). She’s mad that her husband, “Mr. Big,” wants to stay in, eat take-out, and watch TV. Oh, and he put his feet on their expensive couch. She scolds him that “there’s no sparkle,” whatever that means. And, of course, at the end she’s bought off with “sparkle”–a giant diamond. Yaaawn. Watch “Divorce Court.” It’s more creative.
Ditto for the gratuitous “wet t-shirt contest”-style scenes of Charlotte’s bra-less nanny. I guess that was thrown in for the few moron guys who aren’t man enough to get out of being forced to sit through this sad flick with their girlfriends and wives.
And then when that stuff gets tiresome, the girls go on an all-expense paid trip to Abu Dhabi, courtesy of Sheikh Khalid, an Abu Dhabi royal who hires publicist Samantha to do wonders for his emirate. “It’s the NEW Middle East,” he tells her. “I can hear the decadence calling,” one of the “Sex” hags later declares. They’re so impressed by their luxe airplane accommodations, which are so ugly and gaudy they resemble Saddam Hussein’s palace. “Pringles in Arabic.” Are Hollywood’s Americans that dumb that they think these Islamic barbarians don’t have American products with Arabic stamped on them? Is it that impressive? Here’s a tip: American foods and clothing (especially if, in some cases, it’s underneath a niqab–the Islamic full-ninja face veil) doesn’t make you moderate. It doesn’t mean you’re any less an extremist.
And guess what? There’s Hebrew Bazooka bubble gum, too. Hey, maybe they should do a movie. I guarantee no one in Tel Aviv or Eilat will arrest Samantha for kissing in public.
Once in Abu Dhabi, the women are chauffeured around in their own personal Maybachs, feted by their own personal butlers, and hosted in a giant set of suites occupying an entire floor. They’re shown drinking alcohol all over the place (an Islamic no-no), and dazzled that an Islamic woman’s niqab (again, the full-Ninja face-veil) is decorated with fashionable embroidery. One of the characters, Miranda tells us:
Younger Muslims are accepting old traditions in new and personal ways.
Yeah, whatever. Tell it to all the women who’ve been honor-killed for being too Western and all the child brides who–well, I’d love to see how they accept old traditions in “new and personal ways.”
And, of course, Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker) runs into her past love and former fiance, Aiden. Because–don’t you know?!–all lost loves are found in Abu Dhabis souk (Arab market). And when she loses her American passport in the confusion, the kindly Muslim shop-owner saves her passport and returns it to her, days later. Because, in the Muslim Mid-East, they’d NEVER sell your American passport and copy it a million times, right? The shop owner is so nice and so honest, he won’t even take a small tip for saving her passport. Yup, that’s so like the Arab market, isn’t it? Hey, Hollywood, stop exoticizing the Arab street. It’s neither as charming in real life nor as magical as you want us to believe. Not even close.
Even though we’re shown that Abu Dhabi natives are prudes, sex is mostly glamorized in Abu Dhabi in this movie. A handsome Dutch architect tells Samantha that Abu Dhabi makes him “feel like a boy again,” because in Paris he’d already have his hand down her shirt but here he must be restrained and take things slow.
Eventually, the women learn that Abu Dhabi isn’t actually the Western sex paradise they thought. Samantha gets arrested for kissing on the beach. Their luxe trip is suddenly no longer on Sheikh Khalid’s tab, and they have to leave Abu Dhabi.
Charlotte, a convert to Judaism has a passport in her waspy maiden name and not her husband’s Jewish surname. When she’s asked why by Sarah Jessica Parker’s character, Carrie Bradshaw, it’s clear she gets it. That’s where some of the rare, great dialogue and lines in this movie–which are few and far in between–come in:
Carrie: York? What happened to Goldenblatt? It’s the “new Middle East.”
Charlotte: It’s the Middle East.
Carrie: It’s the new Middle East.
Charlotte: It’s. the. Middle. East.
In the end, when they are in the Arab market, again, trying to get Carrie’s passport, Samantha’s purse drops and condoms fall out, just as Muslim men are answering the call to prayer. The men get very angry. But I wasn’t sure for whom to root–the vulgar slut or them. It was like my many “Feuds I Wish Would Go On Forever & That Both Sides Would Lose.”
“Yes, I have sex!” she shouts at them. “I have sex! I have sex! I have sex!” I laughed, but at both her and her Muslim antagonists. She’s a disgusting whore, and they are vile anti-Western creatures who–in real life–would sleep with her if they could get away with it. Ultimately, the women sneak away in full-ninja niqab face veils and robes to get away. But not before we’re shown the “moderate” Muslim women who help them. Those women open their robes to reveal high-fashion low-cut outfits from designers in New York. Is this supposed to mean sisterhood? Does Hollywood not know that the most anti-Western, anti-Semitic, prudish wives of emirate Sheikhs and merchants are Fifth Avenue’s biggest customers? Sorry, chicks, but haute couture doesn’t mean you’re not an Islamo-Nazi. It just means you’re a rich one.
Like I said, this movie takes a couple of digs at Abu Dhabi and Muslims after almost two hours of glamorizing both and denigrating American women as sex-crazed nutjobs. And that’s not enough. It also didn’t make it watching this utter monstrosity. (Sorry, but watching Muslim Arabs singing Foreigner’s “It Feels Like the First Time” at a karaoke bar ain’t my idea of fun.)
Sitting through all the bad jokes, crotch-cams, naked men’s butts, crying melodrama, and other vulgar stupidity (not to mention bad Arabic pronunciation) isn’t my idea of how to spend ten bucks and nearly three hours. I’ve said it before–when I reviewed the first “Sex and the City” movie: these four women are dirty guys in ugly, aging women’s bodies covered in expensive bad clothes.
If I wanted to see the real thing, I’d watch “The Hangover.”
Watch the trailer . . .
Tags: Abu Dhabi, Arab, Arab world, Carrie, Carrie Bradshaw, Charlotte, Charlotte York, Cynthia Nixon, gay wedding, Goldenblatt, Islam, Kim Cattrall, kissing, Kristin Davis, Middle East, Miranda Hobbes, Morocco, movie, movie review, Muslim, Samantha, Samantha Jones, Sarah Jess-equine Parker, Sarah Jessica Parker, SATC, SATC 2, SATC2, sex, Sex & the City 2, Sex and the City 2, Sheikh Khalid, The New Middle East, United Arab Emirates