I’m a middle-aged, heterosexual white man. So if you’re talking demographics, I don’t appear on the target audience for Sex and the City. To me, the most important thing it’s doing this weekend is that it’s showing on 8 of the 31 cinema screens within normal travelling distance for me, so there’s no [REC] 2 playing anywhere near me, and I had to catch Lebanon last week before it got shunted off. (And if you like claustrophobic war movies, you should catch it too, but I digress.)
But I became aware of Sex and the City by osmosis; in the same way that I know all of the words to most early Take That and New Kids on the Block songs, through having to hear them from my sister’s bedroom when growing up, my wife has three of the box sets of the series and watched regularly on late night comedy channels. And while it didn’t appeal to me, it wasn’t hard to see why it appealed to so many others.
I did go with her to see the original movie at the cinema, under my philosophy that I will see anything she want to. And I thought it was a 4/10 movie. My main issues were twofold; it seemed to continue the trend from the end of the series of undermining the core philosophy of the characters, making them into simpering cyphers rather than the strong role models they once were, and also that it was 152 minutes. That’s the equivalent of almost seven and a half episodes, like going to watch a box set at the cinema. And it was stretched far too long.
On hearing that the sequel is only seven minutes shorter, my fears began to rise, so imagine my joy when my wife announced that she was going on a girly film night and that I was spared this one. That’s that, I thought. And then I started to see the press reaction.
From Roger Ebert, who seems to have mounted a one man hate campaign via his Twitter feed, to the reviews currently damning this across the country, it seems that everyone has now got it in for the four girls. And judging from some of the synopses, there seem to have been more mistakes this time, ranging from the ill-advised trip to Abu Dhabi and some associated cultural cock-ups, to the further betrayal of what was at the core of the series.
But as my wife said to me, she’s still going to see it. Bad reviews are one thing; this movie is now receiving a level of vitriol in some quarters normally reserved for the likes of Battlefield: Earth and Paul WS Anderson movies. There feels a danger of the girls benefitting from the sympathy vote if this carries on. And with a quarter of the screens alone near me, there’s plenty of room for that sympathy.
And I can’t but help feel sorry for it either. No one sets out to make a bad movie (surely?), and if this encourages people back to the cinema, I can only hope, in my somewhat sad and naive way that it encourages them to give other, more positive movies a try, for cinema should be there to be enjoyed. I just hope that, if this is a step too far, it’s the last one, and that we don’t end up subjected to the sight of four old ladies in sparkly dressing gowns, gamely gumming away in Sex and the City 14: The Desperation Continues. Have a little dignity, ladies, won’t you?