Thursday, 20 May 2010

Here come the girls

When the first Sex and the City movie came out, the movie industry was left scratching its head about how they didn't see this one coming. Here was a movie aimed at women, based on a TV-show, about a fickle footwear-fetishist dithering over whether or not to get married, and it made over $400 million dollars at the global box office.

After a performance like that, it's safe to say that expectations for the sequel are higher than the heels on one of Sarah Jessica Parker's ridiculous shoes. The buzz has been building for months, with the film being pitched as ideal counter-programming for World Cup widows, and gays with nothing better to do for a couple of hours.

The movie's trailer gave audiences a pretty comprehensive peek into what the movie has to offer - lots of female bonding over pink drinks, Carrie and her pals dressing like a group of clowns who charge by the hour, and a whole lot of camel toe. I'm not being disgusting there, they actually go to Dubai and ride camels.

Well, the movie might be set in Dubai but it was filmed in Morocco, which was a little more welcoming to a film about four sexually promiscuous Cosmo-quaffers. Put off by the UAE's somewhat conservative views on women and alcohol consumption, director Michael Patrick King thought that the North African country would be a more workable location, sensitively describing it as "Muslim light".

Not that we should expect a thorough examination of the role of women in contemporary Muslim culture from a film in which Carrie describes the girls' Middle-Eastern jaunt as being "just like Jasmine [the Disney princess from Aladdin] but with cocktails." Judging by the sneak peaks released so far, Sex and the City 2 looks set to make Carry On Up The Khyber seem like the height of anthropological veracity.

Maybe I'm being a little harsh here. After all, this is a film about sex, shopping and slingbacks. Audiences will be far more interested in seeing how extreme the fab foursome's outfits can get without one of them being sectioned. There's a reason why the film's costume budget has been rumoured to be as much as $10 million.

More importantly, the real question on fans' minds is whether or not Carrie will succumb to hunky carpenter Aiden's charms and cheat on husband Mr. Big. The trailer tries hard to give nothing away, but eagle-eyed viewers have noticed that there are other clues pointing towards Carrie's penchant for infidelity.

Carrie's ever-present Macbook is as central to her character as a closet full of Manolos. OK, I never said this was deep. And from the pilot episode, right through to the last movie, we've always seen our heroine sitting in the window, tapping out her thoughts in the glow of little white Apple. But not anymore.

She's done the dirty on her beloved laptop, and picked up an HP instead. Which I'm sure has everything to do with consistent character development, and nothing to do with the fact the PC giant signed a massive product placement deal with the film's producers.

Even the Guardian has weighed in on this important subject, with Zoe Williams arguing that "Macs were invented for [people like Carrie], people without IT support, with no skills or office training, with very little likelihood of ever accruing any knowledge or expertise, with no backbone or basic housekeeping procedures."

More importantly, the Macbook is the Louis Vuitton holdall of the computer world. Depicting Carrie working on a generic laptop is like expecting her to go swinging down the street in a pair of Hi-Tec trainers, with a Lidl carrier bag over her arm.

This is one franchise that owes Mac a little loyalty. After all, it must have taken a whole warehouse full of them to muster the necessary computing power needed to generate the poster artwork for the new sequel.

Testament to the power of Photoshop, the posters have been rightly slated for making the girls look about as realistic as Jessica Rabbit. In particular, Kim Catrall is completely unrecognisable, almost as though she's undergone an experimental facial treatment using a PedEgg and a bottle of Tipp-Ex.

So much for the female empowerment and sisterhood that the series always prided itself on.

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