REVIEW: Sex and the City 2 (2010)

Summary: A sequel to the 2008 film based on the HBO series, SATC2 finds the four friends finally maturing and getting bored with the happily ever afters they got in the first film. So they take a trip to Abu Dhabi, to get away from it all.

Thoughts: Dish Network users got free HBO this weekend, so I went through and recorded a bunch of movies. Combined with having all of the Starz channels free for a year, we have a lot of movies on our DVR. I decided to review each of them, instead of just the ones I see in theaters.

I watched most of the Sex and the City series with my wife a while back. I found most of it disturbing to my young mind, but the dialog was usually pretty clever. Then we watched the first movie as the series didn’t really end so much as just stop. The problem was the first movie was completely forgettable. I couldn’t tell you anything about what happened in the first movie.

The problem with the second movie is that not only is it forgettable, its boring. You really feel that the characters are bored with their lives because you, the viewer, are just as bored as they are. Even when they all ignore their problems to go to Abu Dhabi (funnily, the real Abu Dhabi wouldn’t let them film there), you’re bored watching them hang out at the hotel and ride camels. A lot of the movie is spent with the characters finally starting to mature. It’s been 12 years, it’s about time. The problem with watching characters spending a whole movie maturing is that it’s boring. The first movie was an OK coda to the series (that I remember), but this one just takes that coda and stretches it out.

It’s completely unnecessary, lacks any charm the series ever had (clever dialog is replaced by terrible puns like “It’s against the law: Jude Law!”), and I’m afraid to say it, kind of racist. The always-right Americans go to the Middle East, don’t respect any of the customs of the country, get arrested, and come out the heroes because the women of the Middle East really long to be consumers of terrible New York fashion like the girls. I’m not sure what message that is sending out, but I don’t think its the one they wanted.

Overall: Boring, uncomfortable, kind of ruins the pretty good series.

REVIEW: Sex and the City (2008)

Summary: The HBO series continues in a movie that is pretty much the same thing as the show.

Thoughts: Basically, if you like the TV show, you’ll enjoy the movie. Jessica and I watched the whole series on DVD a few years back, so we had to see the movie to see what was up 4 years after the series finale. Turns out that everyone is up to the same tricks. If you’ve never seen the show, it tries to give you a run down of who these characters are supposed to be, but even if you can follow the plot without seeing the series, the most emotional moments will be big “so what” moments for you. The point is that these characters have 10 years of history, and here we are seeing them try to get their happily ever afters. If you’ve never seen them before, you won’t care.

To put it in a way more of you would understand, it’s like having a “Ross and Rachel Get Married and Chandler and Monica Get Pregnant” Friends movie in theaters, and you go without ever having seen Friends. Would you understand what a big deal that would be? That’s pretty much exactly what the Sex and the City movie is, but with more nudity and swearing.

Overall: Good for those who’ve seen the series.

Technical Complaint: This movie was filmed in Super 35, which is basically using regular 35mm film because it’s cheaper. This means that the original image is 4:3 (standard TV shape). Because they wanted the movie in 16:9 (high definition TV shape), they crop the top and bottom off of the film and print it stretched out to another reel of 35mm film and the movie theater’s projector unstretches it. The problem is that the editor for SatC instead of cropping some from the top and some from the bottom cropped all of it from the bottom, which meant that all of the shots were set way too high and you could see the boom mic in several of the scenes. Someone, somewhere made a huge cropping mistake and somehow it got printed on film. Every copy from the New York premiere to the 1:10 Saturday afternoon Bedford showing has this problem. It’s absolutely ridiculous.

I just emailed New Line Cinemas about it. We’ll see what excuse they give us.