The other self-indulgence of yesterday was a viewing of Sex and the City 2. I didn’t see this film in the theatre for a few reasons. First, I didn’t want to view it alone in a theatre because I am an active viewer in that I laugh very out loud, applaud, and tsk. In England this probably doesn’t matter because the British audience would never think to tell me to be quiet, just like they don’t confront the line jumper even though they have been waiting for 30 minutes to get to their current position and the jumper just can’t be bothered to walk to the end of the line. But I digress. Second, my husband would sit through the movie with me, but he would hate every minute of it and then I might have to sit through something like ‘Family Guy-the movie.’ Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy Stewie and Brian but I can barely make it through a 30minute episode, let alone a movie length feature. Third, the reviews were just awful and I didn’t want to spend over £30 for a potential bomb.
But here’s the thing. I loved it! And it makes me wonder, what were the reviewers expecting? It’s Sex and the City. It’s meant to be extravagant and escapist. That’s why we love it. I vaguely remember that the big issue was that it was an extravagant movie set in the Middle East when the audience was dealing with a world-wide recession and conflict in the Middle East and that the script failed to deal meaningfully with the issues of motherhood, job satisfaction, spousal satisfaction and Arab women’s lives presented in the film. Again, what were they expecting? It’s Sex and the City. As much as many women may identify with elements of each character and their shenanigans, they all realize it is a fantasy! It delivered exactly what it promised, decadence and fashion. An escape when things in the real world are a bit depressing. If I want a film that deals seriously with issues of recession, conflict in the Middle East, motherhood, job satisfaction, spousal satisfaction and issues of Arab women’s lives, I will seek out a documentary or independent film, not Sex and the City.
It makes me wonder about movie reviewers. These are people that should be well-versed in film genre and the abilities of particular players (actors, directors, etc.) Why would they ever expect Sex and the City to be a serious discussion of contemporary issues? A silly, or even witty, commentary maybe (even that might be a long shot), but serious? Not their style. I had similar feelings about two other movies this past season. Neither received great reviews and were labelled predictable and flat. After viewing them myself I wonder, again, what the reviewers were expecting. The first was Knight and Day. It was exactly what I expected, ridiculous action sequences, questionable one-liners, blonde reluctant side-kick that helps Maverick save the world. Exactly what I expected and as enjoyable as I expected. The second was The Switch. Jennifer Aniston rom-com. Rachel decides to have a baby and her witty male BFF tweaks the situation in his drunken jealously and everyone lives happily ever after. Exactly what I expected and was pleasantly surprised by Jason Bateman and Jeff Goldblum.
If you are expecting more from Sex and the City, a Cruise action flix or a Jennifer Aniston rom-com, perhaps your role as a movie reviewer in the free papers has gone to your head. Take a step back. I’m not asking for a five-star rating, just be realistic. It’s Carrie, Maverick and Rachel doing their thing, not necessarily a commentary on the plight of the common man.