Every now and then, a movie comes around that receives nearly universal derision and spawns a wealth of delightfully vicious, brutal film criticism (Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen comes to mind). This week, that film is Sex and the City 2, whose creatively written reviews seem like they’re much more fun to read than the leaden 2.5-hour film is to watch. Sure, nothing will stop this movie from making over $70 million this weekend, but the wordsmithery demonstrated in the pieces below almost make Sex and the City 2’s success worth it.
Hit the jump for some of my favorite takedowns. Feel free to share your own thoughts about the film in the comments. Also, e-mail me at slashfilmcast(AT)gmail(DOT)com if you’d like to share any other reviews you’ve particularly enjoyed. If I like them too, I’ll update this post.
Author: Roger Ebert
Site/Outlet: Chicago Sun-Times
The movie’s visual style is arthritic. Director Michael Patrick King covers the sitcom dialogue by dutifully cutting back and forth to whoever is speaking. A sample of Carrie’s realistic dialogue in a marital argument: “You knew when I married you I was more Coco Chanel than coq au vin.” Carrie also narrates the film, providing useful guidelines for those challenged by its intricacies. Sample: “Later that day, Big and I arrived home.”
Author: A.O. Scott
Site/Outlet: The New York Times
Yes, it’s supposed to be fun. And over the years audiences have had the kind of fun that comes from easy immersion in someone else’s career, someone else’s sex life, someone else’s clothes. But “Sex and the City 2” is about someone else’s boredom, someone else’s vacation and ultimately someone else’s desire to exploit that vicarious pleasure for profit. Which isn’t much fun at all.
Author: Andrew O’Hehir
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. Instead of that, we get something that’s truly sadistic: the SATC girls as haggard specters, haunted by their freewheeling ’90s past and stupefied by the demands of work, marriage and/or motherhood. This bloated, incoherent movie mimics an SATC episode in structure — vague social relevance at the beginning and the end, conspicuous consumption in the middle — with virtually none of the wit or panache, and seems devoted to destroying our affection for these characters.
Author: Lindy West
Site/Outlet: The Stranger
Sex and the City 2 makes Phyllis Schlafly look like Andrea Dworkin. Or that super-masculine version of Cynthia Nixon that Cynthia Nixon dates. Or, like, Ralph Nader (wait, bad example—Schlafly totally does look like Ralph Nader in a granny wig). SATC2 takes everything that I hold dear as a woman and as a human—working hard, contributing to society, not being an entitled cunt like it’s my job—and rapes it to death with a stiletto that costs more than my car. It is 146 minutes long, which means that I entered the theater in the bloom of youth and emerged with a family of field mice living in my long, white mustache. This is an entirely inappropriate length for what is essentially a home video of gay men playing with giant Barbie dolls.
Author: Rex Reed
Site/Outlet: New York Observer
The only thing memorable about Sex and the City 2 is the number two part, which describes it totally, if you get my drift. Everything else in this deadly, brainless exercise in pointless tedium is dedicated to the screeching audacity of delusional self-importance that convinces these people the whole world is waiting desperately to watch two hours and 25 minutes of platform heels, fake orgasms and preposterous clothes. It is to movies what fried dough is to nutrition.
Author: David Edelstein
Site/Outlet: New York Magazine
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. Then Liza Minnelli shows up to perform a gay marriage. Heralded (and hooted at) as the embodiment of camp unreality, she looks more human—nervous but happy to belong somewhere—than the four leads…
Amy Odell, of nymag.com’s The Cut, accompanied me to the screening and was kind enough to whisper that a particular dress of Carrie’s cost 50 grand. But what’s the point of spending that much when the cinematographer, John Thomas, lights Sarah Jessica Parker to bring out the leatheriness of her skin? How did he manage to mummify the lovely Cynthia Nixon? Kim Cattrall, fresh off her witty, subtle work in The Ghost Writer, is costumed to look like a cross between (late) Mae West and (dead) Bea Arthur. Kristin Davis gets by (just) pulling little-girl faces, probably for the last time.
Update: Here are some more! Thanks to Steve and /Film commenter Chigurh Frosted for sending these in.
Title: Sex and the City 2 is ugly on the inside
Author: Andrew O’Hagan
Site/Outlet: Evening Standard
I wanted to walk out of this film. It is certainly the most disgusting thing I have seen this year. In a time of economic slump, a time that might make us contemplate certain shortcomings, here is a film steeped in late Nineties, you-are-what-you-buy selfishness.
These characters are aliens, at one giant remove from everyday life, and the producers should not compliment themselves with the notion that Sex and the City 2 provides “escapism” in difficult times. We know about escapism and this is the opposite: it spits in the face of struggle and difference, and asserts a repulsive red-rope mentality when confronted with any life, or part of life, that stands outside Carrie Bradshaw’s wind-tunnel miasma of selfish needs. Yuck. This could be the most stupid, the most racist, the most polluting and women-hating film of the year, with a variety of ugliness that no number of facial procedures could begin to address.
Title: Why Sex and the City 2 is a science fiction movie
Author: Cyriaque Lamar
When viewed as a rom-com, Sex and the City 2 is terrible and crappy and a horrific inversion of everything the show once was. But when viewed as a science fiction film, SATC2 is subversive, stylish and chilling. Like The Island from Lost, we may never know The City’s true identity — Is it a VR computer program? A malevolent interdimensional god? Satan?
Author: Matthew Zoller Seitz
At the same time, though, much like “Transformers 2” (hmmm, “Sex” director Michael Patrick King as the gay camp version of Michael Bay — or is that a redundancy?), “Sex and the City 2” is more than harmless escapism. It’s an accidental candid snapshot of the sick, dying heart of America, a film so pleased with its vacuous, trashy, art-free extravagance that its poster should be taped to the dingy walls of terrorist sleeper agents worldwide. More depressing and alarming than the movies themselves is the notion that a certain culture, a certain mindset, birthed it, without a pang of remorse or even apparent self-awareness, much less self-criticism. Ladies and gentlemen, this is why they hate us.
Author: Peter Bradshow
Site/Outlet: The Guardian
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As 10 minutes turned into half an hour and then into an hour, and we were still in Abu Dhabi, with the foursome landed with having to gaze in wonderment and squeak with excitement at naff hotel fixtures and fittings, I sensed a claustrophobic panic growing at the screening I attended. Like Martin Sheen waking from his uneasy slumber in Apocalypse Now and thinking: “Shit, I’m still in Saigon,” various members of the audience would emerge from their periodic reveries and mumble out loud: “Shit, Carrie and her friends and by that token we the audience are still in Abu Dhabi.” I once watched Béla Tarr’s Sátántangó, the legendary, gloomy black-and-white Hungarian film that lasts for seven and a half hours. Compared to the Abu Dhabi section of Sex and the City 2, Sátántangó zips past like an episode of Spongebob Squarepants.