Wow, has “Sex and the City 2” taken a critical beating.
It’s not just the low ratings that are striking (on its opening day, the movie had a 14-percent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes). It’s also the personal nature of many of the reviews. Critics aren’t only taking the movie to task; they’re brutally chastising the four main characters themselves. As no one less than Roger Ebert wrote, “Some of these people make my skin crawl.”
Certainly Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker), Samantha (Kim Cattrall), Charlotte (Kristin Davis) and Miranda (Cynthia Nixon) – materialistic, wealthy, sexually frank Manhattanites - aren’t for everyone. I certainly can’t imagine being their friends and am doing everything in my power to prevent my young daughters from growing up to share their values.
But I still gave a positive review to the movie, because in between all the raunchy humor and shallow fashion worship, the picture pauses for authentic conversations among the women – well acted and smartly written considerations of things such as marriage, motherhood and friendship. The glitziness surrounding these four is false, but their honest discussions ring true, even if I don’t really care for the women sharing them.
After posting my review and beginning to read others, I was taken aback to realize how much hatred there is toward these women. Yes, these are only characters, but the occasion of “Sex and the City” seems to have emboldened many people - even normally compassionate ones - to ignore Jesus’ warning to “first take the plank out of your own eye.”
So I wonder: Is being judgmental OK in this case? Or are other issues – personal distaste, feelings of moral superiority, class resentment – fueling this fire? Is there any justifiable reason for defending the “Sex and the City” phenomenon, or am I - as Rotten Tomatoes would suggest - all alone?