I couldn’t help but wonder…what the f**k were they thinking?!

I went to a funeral on Saturday night. A memorial service for my old friends Charlotte, Samantha, Miranda and Carrie.

I saw Sex and the City 2.

Now, before I go any further, I have to say that (unlike Nat) I love love loved the series (which I realise will eliminate our male readership in one fell swoop). But this isn’t a diatribe against the show or the characters, it’s simply a lament that they couldn’t just stick a fork in it after the mediocre last feature film, and have done with it.

Instead, the UAE Tourist Board gave the four girls a substantial sum of money to star in a very long TV commercial for Abu Dhabi. Well, that can be the only explanation, for there is certainly no real plot to speak of. If it was a sun headline it would be Sex and the Shitty.

Aside from being a tedious cinema ad for the UAE, SATC2 is a carnival of vulgarity, with the girls prancing about like they’re royalty, servants waiting on them while they cackle about the oddity of burqas. I know there was a glimpse of this in the last film, but I was struck by how the girls are now so hideously materialistic and wealth obsessed. When did it become necessary for the girls to be these rich bitches? That’s not what we bought into in the series. We bought into four honest, down to earth girls making their way in the big apple, and riding roughshod through the dating jungle. We did not subscribe to these charmless, whiney, spoiled brats. This film gives the whole thing a bad name, and presents the whole SATC enterprise as the thing most men misconstrue it as – shallow, crude… and worst of all, desperate.

I remember saying to my friends before seeing it – ‘well, it looks crap
from the trailer, but hey, it’s all about just spending another two
hours in the company of the girls, isn’t it?’ Wrong.

Other oddities:

– Towards the opening, reflecting on when she first came to New York, Carrie utters the words ‘I like to think of it as B.C. ‘Before Carrie.’ She was never this arrogant before, surely? But this line is forgivable because it is then followed up with four funny fashion flashbacks of the girls dressed head to toe in Eightees. These four seconds are the film’s highlight. It is downhill from there.

– Charlotte can’t cope being a full time mum, even with a nanny. I need this explained. I know being a parent looks really hard, but she doesn’t have a full time job, so why does she have a nanny? From this, there follows the singular funny line in the whole film. When Carrie says ‘yes, there should be a law against having fit nannies. The Jude Law.’

– Elsewhere, the dialogue as a whole is so limp and anaemic that you wonder if the writer was asleep when he wrote it. Also, the acting is so self-conscious that at times you think the cast may as well have not bothered to be off-book; it’s so clear that they are reading lines from a script.

– At times, during the trailer for Abu Dhabi – we see glimpses that Michael Patrick King fancies himself as a documentary maker. He seems to want to make a feminist point about life under the veil, and how oppressed women in the middle east are. This may be true, but it’s delivered in such a heavy-handed way that it just winds up utterly offensive, crass and simplistic. These scenes are more Horror than Rom Com. I was covering my eyes through some of it – especially when Sam starts throwing condoms everywhere.

As for Samantha, you just want to scream at her – grow old gracefully, won’t you! The line ‘Lawrence of my labia’ should have been funny, were it not that I wanted to stab her in the face by then, puncturing her pillow face and squirting botox everywhere.

Redeeming feature? It’s good, in places, on the notion of how no two marriages are the same – and that these days, people can make up their own rules regarding fidelity, children and co-habitation. There is one line which holds true and is something I’ve sometimes thought – that as much as friends can comment, you can never really look at a relationship and profess to have a clue what it’s like inside that inner circle. That’s the only insight worth taking away. But that could have taken twenty minutes to get across. Remove the entire Middle (east) section, and you might end up with one almost mediocre episode. But as it is, it’s just like watching a horrible car crash in really slow motion. I would have walked out, were I not glued to my seat with morbid fascination.

If you’re a fan of the series and it’s not too late for you, I say don’t go. If you want to remember the girls with some dignity, just sit down and watch 2 1/2 hours of boxset instead. If you don’t believe me, read this. I read it before but wanted to judge for myself. Big mistake.

Apologies for the harshness, but I just can’t help thinking Michael Patrick Bling had a responsibility to the squillions of women who grew up with these girls and hung on their every word, and he’s just catastrophically let them all down.

Ironically, towards the end of the film, Carrie waxes lyrical about ‘the terrible twos’ – in reference to
marriage and babies. Did they not take heed of this when writing the
sequel?

In answer to Miranda’s awful pun-joke ‘Abu Dhabi Do!’,  ABU DHABI DON’T.

RIP, Carrie et.al.

D & AD and the Yellow Haired Trophies

Thanks D & AD, for a great evening last wednesday.

Hats off to the organisers for deciding to jetison the awards do formula of having an overpaid comedian present the awards in between quips about what a silly industry advertising is (as you sometimes get when Simon Amstell, Stephen Mangan, Edith Bowman et.al. are at the mic).

Instead they chose two people who knew the work and cared about the work – Neville Brody and Timothy Lindsay, both of whom did a great job.

So that decision was a genuine improvement. But it was undone by another less progressive decision.

‘We might not have a comedian to hand over the pencils to the winners, but don’t worry’ said Tim, ‘we’ve still got a bit of glamour for you’. Shortly after, they wheeled in a tall blonde in a black dress, to er, transport the yellow pencils all of the one metre journey from behind the curtain to the presenter. There was then a succession of blondes to convey each award  to the stage (whether it was the same model each time, or there were multiple blondes, I can’t recall).

Now I may have been O.D.ing on Caitlin Moran at the moment, so my apologies if this comes over as a feminist rant, but…

REALLY?

Did we really need a trophy blonde to carry in the pencils? It felt like something out of Madmen. Only, the first season, back when Peggy was still making Don’s coffee and playing piano like a dog.

Nothing against blondes here (I am one, in fact). But what was weird was the way she was there to ‘add glamour’ as opposed to anything more cerebral.

This, combined with the fact that only a handful of women went up all night to collect awards (the under-representation of women in adland is a whole other rant for another day), and it all felt a bit weird and old-fashioned. What was worse was that she didn’t even award them to the winners! She just handed them to Neville and Tim. So they could then hand them to the winners. So she was essentially a well-dressed conveyor belt.

Perhaps all they needed instead was some natty Ikea shelving hidden under the lecturn, so they could pick them up before handing them to the winners?

Or, here’s a better suggestion from Nat:

Why not give this conveyor belt honour to some up and coming creatives, or to this year’s D & AD student award nominees? Give tomorrow’s Hegarties and Tagholms the honour of shaking the hand of the winners of today.  Maybe it’s a little cheesy (or reminiscent of the Olympic ceremony) but isn’t nurturing tomorrow’s talent what D & AD is all about? As opposed to helping women fulfil their arm candy potential, I mean.

Now, has anyone got a lighter? I’m just off to burn my bra.

 

 

Everyone’s Going to Die: Not your average Rom Com

A few weeks ago, we were lucky to go to a screening at Framestore for the new Jones’ Feature. One of new production company @MadamFilms‘ director duos.

We loved it. It was beautifullly shot, has some gorgeously well observed scenes (my personal favourite the bit where he tries to open little tiny milk sachets). And has more than a little feeling of Lost in Translation and Like Crazy feel about it.

It’s out on limited release but you can always watch the trailer here.