entertainment

An open letter to Sarah Jessica Parker.

Dear Carrie Sarah Jessica Parker,

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No doubt you’ve been bummed by the avalanche of negative reviews for Sex & The City 2. As its co-producer and star, you’ve graciously presided over an incredible pop cultural phenomenon for more than a decade. That was always going to be a big weight to carry. Heavier even than several Birkins.

Each time you bring back Carrie, Charlotte, Miranda and Samantha for us, we excitedly show up for the reunion, carrying about 17 suitcases of  baggage. We are beside ourselves with hope and joy.

So many of us have projected so much onto SATC over the years and there have been acres written and debated about how it has redefined everything from singledom to feminism, fashion and sex.

It’s certainly portrayed all those things (and others including menopause, cancer, impotence, infertility, abortion, threesomes and vibrators) in ways mainstream media never did before. Bless you for doing that, SJP. And bless you for giving us a wildly successful franchise about women who aren’t 22 and appear to have their own breasts.

Yeah, I know, given all that baggage, it was always going to be bloody hard to pull off a film that would satisfy everyone.

Having invested so heavily and happily in the characters you gave us for all these years, our expectations have been ridiculously high with every new installment.

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Still, you managed to pull it off with the first film. Everyone loved it. Sex & The City 2? Not so much. I think we can agree on that. I left the cinema saying surprising words. Like ‘sucked’. And ‘absolute-shit’. And ‘I-wanted-to-punch-Carrie-in-the-face-with-all-that-incessant-princess-whining’.

Suffice to say, this seems to be a fairly widely held view of the film. We are disappointed. We feel almost betrayed.

Do you think this is because we were hungrier for the first one? Four years after the TV show ended (seemingly forever), it was an unexpected thrill to be reunited with you all in SATC1. You had a story to tell and it meant something.  It was about marriage, heartbreak, betrayal and sex but to me, it was really about friendship. Just like SATC always was.

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The moment from SATC1 that’s seared in my memory? The moment that made me cry? It was the look on Charlotte’s face when Big tried to approach you (I mean Carrie, oh stuff it) after ditching you at the altar and then realising he’d blown it. You were beside yourself with grief and Charlotte was ferocious in trying to protect you from Big hurting you more. It was magic.

So anyway. I’m banging on and we haven’t even discussed SATC2. Firstly, I’m glad I saw it. Even a disappointing SATC2 film is worth seeing, just so you can take part in the discussion. The mood in the cinema was certainly upbeat. We cheered as we heard the familiar tinkle of the theme song and again when Carrie came on screen. One woman actually gasped during the first close-up of your shoes. Gold. Literally.

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Two and a half hours later, as the closing credits rolled, the applause was muted, the deflation palpable. We all felt let down. A bit…dirty. Like the aftermath of a one-night-stand. Seemed like a good idea at the time until you realise it was a mistake and you have to find a cab and God forbid it’s daylight.

For those who haven’t seen it yet, I’m not going to spoil the plot, although that would be difficult because there isn’t one to spoil.

Sarah Jessica, why is there no plot?

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.As you stare down the barrel of SATC3, it’s clear you need some fresh script-writing eyes. Can I suggest you get Tina Fey on speed dial? Stat. It’s always a big risk to have the same person write, produce and direct a film (see: perspective) and with Michael Patrick King, it crashed and burned this time (even though it worked OK with SATC1). The plot was non-existant and the writing was abysmal. “We’re not in Kansas anymore” and “You’re on a camel in the Arabian dessert. If you’re not having a hot flash, you’re dead” are two of many awful lines that weren’t worthy of the characters forced to say them.

I saw Michael Patrick King explain in an interview that the decision to take the City out of SATC2 and turn it into some kind of insulting Middle Eastern cartoon was to get the characters away from their husbands, babies and jobs. Duh. Why did you DO this?. The way those characters navigated their relationships and jobs – and New York –  was the key to the SATC franchise. It was the heart of it.

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Transporting them away from their lives just shone a light on their annoying bits. I’d forgotten how much Carrie irritated me, even before the TV show ended. All that incessant, immature whining about true love and what it all means. This isn’t Twilight. Man up Carrie and also grow up. You’re 45. Not 15.

There were many uncomfortable moments in your movie, Sarah Jessica. Moments of gross cultural insensitivity, condescension and borderline racism. Moments of stupid slapstick hijinks that were better suited to Benny Hill or Scooby Doo. And many many moments of excruitiating self-absorbtion that made the average 2 year old seem altruistic.

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As for the fashion? There were a few killer frocks (Miranda at the wedding) but your professional relationship with Halston compromised Carrie’s usual quirky style (too many samey Halston frocks) and the rest of the time, everyone was wearing so many things at once, you looked like kids unleashed in the dress up box. I could make no sense of it at all, let alone be inspired.

I know there will be another movie and of course I’m going to turn up for it. Just spare us the ‘romp’ as you called it and go back to telling interesting stories about characters we love.

OK, your turn. Have you seen the film? What did you think?