As far as I can tell, the New York Times’ Manohla Dargis thought that “Sex and the City 2” wasn’t very good (agreed), that the first movie wasn’t much better (agreed), and that the series also had its share of flaws in later seasons (also agreed).
And yet, somehow, she appears to come to the conclusion that critics who trashed the movie were unfair to it.
In a sense, what she’s done is the flip side of a point I tried to articulate in my review, which is that fans would essentially forgive the movie for its shortcomings because they were so predisposed to like it. “Sex and the City 2,” meet “Transformers 2,” in other words.
It seems to me, though, that Dargis can’t have it both ways. She can’t say the movie is a stinker and then insist that factors beyond its control — including the financial crisis, which has put a different spin on designer-obsessed consumption; and cultural concerns about insensitivity toward Muslims — are responsible for why people badmouthed it.
Nor does her argument, such as it is, recognize the many women who went to see “SATC2” with the highest of hopes and came away disappointed. Then again, a 2 1/2-hour romantic comedy without a real plot — I mean, the big issue is she wants to go out to dinner, and he wants to order in? — can easily do that to you.
Given such basic objections to the movie, Dargis closes her piece with what sounds like empty feminist indignation: “Too bad the women weren’t guys and went to Las Vegas, where they could
have indulged in the kind of critically sanctioned masculine political
incorrectness that made ‘The Hangover’ such a darling.”
But “The Hangover” was funny, and thus satisfying. It’s subjective, of course, but for most critics, “Sex and the City 2” isn’t. In that respect, at least, the film is a rather unfortunate example of equality: A movie aimed at women can be just as stupid and awful — and still be moderately successful — as most of the movies aimed at men.