“You are so the wrong person to review ‘Sex and the City 2,'” a female friend of mine said, before I had even seen the movie.
Here we go again.
To her mind, because I’m not a woman — or a “vagina-American,” as “The Daily Show’s” Samantha Bee once rather amusingly put it — I’m theoretically ill-equipped to understand the appeal of the “Sex and the City” franchise.
Never mind that I mostly enjoyed the HBO series and saw every episode. If you’re not a member of the target audience, based on this logic, don’t apply.
Actually, this issue crops up all the time, often in connection with projects aimed at a particular race (see reviews of the Tyler Perry movies) or age groups (I’m not an 11-year-old girl, so how could I possibly “get” anything airing on The Disney Channel?).
My response is that all a critic can do is judge material based on whether he or she thinks that it works — while taking into account, I’d suggest, what its objectives are and who it’s for. In that respect, Variety is unlike most consumer publications in that we also emphasize whether something appears destined to succeed commercially, which forces us to contemplate whether it will connect with the audience for which it’s intended. (The movie certainly didn’t connect with most critics, based on the early consensus on Metacritic.com.)
Even from a qualitative standpoint, though, I can admire a good children’s show, silly teen comedy, female-oriented romantic comedy, etc., if it’s done well. That said, given how subjective any criticism is and how niche-oriented much of entertainment has become, it’s fair to say that as a 40-something white guy, my reaction won’t necessarily be the same as those within the demographic most likely to watch a given movie or TV show, and that’s at least worth acknowledging.
As any such opinions are subjective, feel free to disagree. Just please don’t blame it on my estrogen levels.
Update: As expected, the movie opened well boxoffice-wise — an estimated $27.2 million for its first two days — despite mostly terrible reviews on rottentomatoes.com (and I’ll throw in Metacritic.com, which I prefer). Of those who did like it, many strike a tone similar to “Access Hollywood’s” Scott Mantz, basically acknowledging everything that’s wrong with the movie, and then urging people not to listen to the critics who panned it.
“Haters will continue to hate it, but it’s not
for them anyway,” he writes — assuming that the negativity is entirely motivated by preconceived notions, not the movie itself.
And apologists, apparently, will continue to proudly not apologize for it.