By Jennifer Merin
WeNews film critic
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
"Sex and the City 2," opening at the end of the month, is grabbing the limelight among this month's film releases. Carrie and crew take a girls-go-wild vacation to Abu Dhabi that, for political reasons, is really shot in Morocco.
(WOMENSENEWS)--Get set for even more tantalizing foreplay before we finally reach the spectacular late-month multinational release of "Sex and the City 2" on May 27. Between now and then you can count on an ongoing spring blizzard of media teases, with bits and snippets dropped about everything from plot twists to hat tricks, from fashion, makeup and hairstyle tips to illicit interludes.
To date, Warner Bros.' marketing team has been quite coy about revealing elements of this latest incarnation of Carrie and crew and I have not been able to preview it. Amid all this, suspense is inevitably building about whether this sequel can inspire anything like the massive public love affair with the first "Sex and the City."
What we know thus far about the story is that the quickly-approaching middle-age and already somewhat settled shopportunistic quartet takes off on a girls-go-wild vacation to Abu Dhabi--yes, Abu Dhabi--where Carrie, whose marriage to Mr. Big is in a slump, happens to bump into her ex-squeeze Aidan Shaw. That's all that's been revealed, but oh oh, and oh my--and all of that in Abu Dhabi.
For starters, join the club of skeptics who are wondering why the famously New York-centric hedonistic fashionistas would choose to jet off for a girly getaway in the capital of the United Arab Emirates. We all need a little escape, but are audiences--women and men--who are so stressed by this punishing recession ready to embrace these notoriously conspicuous consumers' foray into a famously oil-rich capital?
If you've been speculating that the film's clever and resourceful writer-director Patrick Michael King and his producers were lured to Abu Dhabi by oil-rich sheiks who've already demonstrated intent to buy into the glamorous, influential movie industry by founding the affluent Middle East International Film Festival, you're probably wrong.
Instead, it seems that the socially and politically conservative authorities of the United Arab Emirates banned the filming of this tale of liberal ladies in their country.
So when Carrie and crew step out of their Jimmy Choo shoes and away from the party-girl platform to embrace their wild-woman inner instincts and mount camels for desert rides, they're actually in Morocco, apparently a more indulgent host to U.S. cultural trends and those who represent them.
Even so, Abu Dhabi anticipates a tourist rush following the film's release. Such is the influence of the Sex-and-the-City franchise.
The first movie was marketed in 2008 to the "women's niche audience" and achieved huge box office success. "Sex and the City" earned $55.7 million on opening weekend, making it the fifth largest R-rated opener ever. To date, it has grossed more than $400 million dollars worldwide.
For some, the success of "Sex and the City" was hailed as a benchmark for women in film. Those of us in a dissenting camp thought differently. We enjoyed the show and were pleased to know that a film starring women could make money and generate a massive, built-in audience for further adventures. But the cartoonish gals' consumerist preoccupations hardly seemed to represent real women's concerns or interests. It was about female escapism, not affirmation.
The upcoming movie may stir a bit more dissent.
In this film, the quartet seems so oblivious to any real-world external concerns that there's substantial Internet chat suggesting fans may be less enchanted this time around.
Meanwhile, several films of particular interest to women release earlier in the month and genuinely warrant our attention and support.