So it was in this spirit of open-mindedness that I went to a viewing of Your Sister's Sister. It looked like the kind of pretentious guff that often pisses me off. From the movie poster, I was expecting a trio of kooky, navel gazing twats. Which is kind of what I got, although I didn't expect to enjoy their company quite so much for the 90 minutes I shared with them. Okay, so it wasn't the best film I've seen lately but it was genuinely engaging, if a little baggy towards the end. Worth a look when it hits cinemas on June 29th, especially if arty, indie romances are your thing.
However, the film that really got me questioning my taste was Sex and the City 2. I watched the first Sex and the City movie at the cinema, and being only one of a handful of reluctant men in the screening, it was an unusual movie going experience. The women in the audience clearly loved every second of it. It was hilarious witnessing every gasp, cackle and lecherous yell. A very mediocre, if admittedly enjoyable, film was elevated to one my most memorable cinematic outings.
I was a little apprehensive about watching Sex and the City 2, despite my enjoyment of the first film. After all, I was watching it on DVD with my girlfriend, rather than in a packed auditorium surrounded by crazed females, also it seemed to have been considered by critics and fans alike as far inferior. How wrong they all are; Sex and the City 2 is brilliant! It's a rare treat these days to have a film that is unintentionally funny and has so little awareness of how ridiculous it is, the most obvious companion piece being 2008's Rambo. It's unbelievably crass and laughable in so many ways; I just don't know where to start. Actually, yes I do; the unapologetic worship of wealth is truly nauseating. Not only that, but there's not even the slightest attempt to assimilate the numerous instances of product placement into the alleged plot. Outside of the Third Reich, the four women at the centre of the film are truly the worst people imaginable. They just swan around in their opulent, vacuous lives, blissfully unaware that their wretched existence is only possible if others go without.
But we shouldn't forget that all the girls do have problems of their own to contend with. Yes, Carrie has to deal with the distress of being given a massive flatscreen television as a gift, rather than a piece of jewellery. Good job she has another apartment to go to when she just needs a little time to look at shoes and reflect on what a terrible life she has. Charlotte is really in a pickle, despite having a live in nanny, occasionally she is left for small amounts of time with the children on her own; the poor dear just can't cope and when some mucky handprints land on a vintage skirt she has to cower in a walk-in larder sobbing. Later in the film Charlotte and Miranda raise their cocktails in salute to the mothers who somehow manage without hired 'help'. Miranda herself is being undervalued at work, something a lot of women can relate to I imagine. Most however do not have the luxury of quitting their job on a whim without taking a knock to their lifestyle. Samantha is going through the menopause; luckily she has enough pills and products to apparently circumvent it. It just seems that these poor souls need a break...
When it became apparent they were all off on a holiday to the United Arab Emirates, I knew the true beauty of the movie was yet to show itself. The arrogant disregard and mockery of an entire country's (admittedly rubbish) religious and cultural values is shocking, yet hilarious. Scumbalina hit the nail on the head when she said it was basically Team America: World Police, but much funnier despite the lack of knowing. Following several troublesome instances with the conservative authorities, one scene sees a flesh baring Samantha scrabbling around the pavement trying to pick up condoms that have fallen out of her handbag, whilst a crowd of disapproving men look on. In a punk rock gesture she ends up waving the condoms in their faces whilst sticking her fingers up and shouting about how much she loves fucking. Before she can be taken away in handcuffs, the girls are whisked away by a mysterious woman in a burka. They are lead into a room full of other women in burkas. But wait a minute, the drab black cloth is removed to reveal the colourful highlights from that year's fashion collections; women are the same all the world round after all! Go sisters, shed your shackles of oppression - you have nothing to gain but this year's designer goods.
Much like Rambo, Sex and the City 2 is not content with just being horribly inappropriate and generally vile, it has to try and impart a serious message. This just makes the whole thing even more amusing. There is a lot of pseudo feminist banter and I suppose on a very superficial level, it delivers. After all these are more or less confident, strong, independent successful characters. I just feel women are being sold a little short here. One scene that made me laugh out loud was when Carrie met up with an old flame and he complimented her by telling her that she wasn't like other women (thank God!), as if she had somekind of three dimensional personality. Come on, however self obsessed you are, there must be more to life than cocktails, clothes and accessories.
I suppose Sex and the City 2 can be chalked up as a guilty pleasure, perhaps a little like pulling the wings off flies, or punching children.