Monday, June 2, 2008

"Sex and the City" criticism

I went to see Sex and the City last Saturday, in Kampala, as you can see at my other blog. It had been panned big time by the NY Times, but that's what there was to see, so we went. I liked it a lot, actually. So I came back and looked up the critics consensus at Rotten Tomatoes. (And, yes, I am going crazy with the link thing having finally figured out how it works.)

I thought the criticism was far more interesting than the movie itself. It seemed to fall almost equally into three categories: Group A thought it was fine if far short of the best thing they'd ever seen. Group B said, "If you like the series, you'll like the film, so what are you talking to me for?" Group C hated it. HATED IT. Loathed. Detested. Abhorred. In short, they didn't much care for it.

But I got the sense that they didn't so much hate the film as much as they hated the people and hated what they did. It's hard for me to gauge. I mean, I liked the film, but the reason I liked the film is because I know those characters and even when I don't like them, what they did in the movie made perfect sense for who they were and how they live in that fantasy world that is Sex and the City.

There were critics who wrote that they hated it because they didn't know any real woman remotely like these. I'm not sure I do either, but these particular women seem real to me anyway. There were critics who wrote that they hated it because of the exasperating consumerism it promotes, the product placements for every designer under the sun. I could understand their point but to be honest, I noticed the product placement for Burger King in Iron Man more than for Oscar de la Renta here. Some critics hated it for sidelining the men. Well, a) too bad for the men, but you've already got four main characters and b) I found Big's emotional behavior quite believable.

There's a part of me that thinks I should hate, loathe, detest this movie and all it stands for, too. But I don't. I'm not a movie critic. I got invested enough in these people to care, so much so that I wanted to jump into the movie and bop 'em with one of their ugly as sin handbags. It's a movie. I enjoyed it. Maybe in ten years I'll look back and say, "What were we thinking?" But I'm sure in ten years we'll also have a better sense of what our fantasies were all about.

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