…’was anyone else assailed by a creeping sense of dread at the prospect of the second ‘Sex and the City’ film?’. Now, I bow to no woman (and certainly no man) in my love for Sex and the City. A razor-sharp column became a razor-sharp book which became a slightly-fuzzier-but-still-pretty-damn-great TV series. Not since Elizabeth Bennet has a fictional character so precisely captured how women like to see themselves as Carrie Bradshaw did (the quirky joie de vivre! the bruised but resilient romanticism! the quipping gay friends and great legs! – although, admittedly, the latter is only really hinted at in Jane Austen’s glorious opus). And, personally, I found it secretly (or, indeed, not so secretly) satisfying to hear baffled male complaints about the series (‘But all the male characters are just ciphers’ – yes, imagine a work of fiction reducing one’s gender to a series of tired stereotypes; must be annoying). For all its Blahnik-worshipping frivolity, there was something essentially true and decent about it; the way that rock-solid female friendship was at the very centre of it, the basic self-belief of all the characters, the way it dealt with life’s complexities – ageing, motherhood, loneliness, love – without ever presenting the characters as passive, or victims or cliches. For all the cynicism of the source material, it was probably the most idealistic programme on TV in its portrayal of female solidarity. I loved it to Cosmopolitan-quaffing bits.
So, in summer 2008, I met my friend Anita in Upper Street, both of us wearing our SATC tribute outfits, and scampered excitedly into the cinema for what was sure to be a night to remember. Alas, what disillusionment awaited. Reams of cyberspace have been filled with the myriad failings of the thing so I won’t dwell on them at length, but, for me, the sharpest disappointment was the way that the spirit of the programme had gone entirely astray. The salty dialogue had been replaced by psuedo-girly shrieking and a ‘diarrhea joke’, the friendship by bitchy competitiveness and the designer fashion had become a selling point in itself rather than, as it had been, a way for Carrie to express her questing search for identity and, through it, love (pretentious, moi?). Jennifer Hudson’s character, as has been noted far more authoratively elsewhere, was practically a Mammy, and the psuedo-meaningful moment when Carrie gave her a really ugly handbag deserves some kind of award for horridness. More succinctly; it sucked.
Alas, nothing I’ve yet heard about the second film, due to be released this year, gives me any comfort. The tastelessness of the foursome trooping to Marrakech on holiday (no doubt with poor Kim Cattrall having to gurn at some phallic bit of pottery in the souk) , the weariness of the much-vaunted recession plotline, the exhausting prospect of Chris Noth shoving himself into a Shatner-style girdle for 2 hours – I can barely be bothered to carp about it, much less drag myself to see it. To refer again to the blessed Austen – ‘That will do, my child. You have delighted us long enough’.