***Spoilers ahead! Don’t blame me, I warned you 🙂
The first Sex And The City movie was released briefly in Dubai, under a different name. Most of us expats, and undoubtedly a fair few Muslim ladies in the area were aware that the film poster with its big black scribbles over the word ‘sex’ had been tampered with, but I don’t think any of us expected every single scene bearing an inch of flesh to be slashed from the movie. The end result of ‘Friends And The City’, so I’m told, was an hour (ish) of random footage, pasted together with the good stuff cut out. And it turns out, when you cut the sex from the city, all you really have is four women moaning, for all the wrong reasons.
Thank God for the Dee-Wee-Dee man, who sold us a dodgy copy of the original, in full, that’d been recorded elsewhere. We huddled in a friend’s flat last year like naughty delinquents and got our fix the illegal way… which makes it even more bizarre to me that the sequel, ‘Sex And The City 2’ is set in the Middle East.
OK, so Abu Dhabi didn’t actually let them film there; new movie-making hub Morocco stepped up. But Abu Dhabi agreed to let them use their name when Dubai told them to get stuffed. Or did they?
At first I thought, were they that desperate for money during the dreaded GFC that they let their ‘no sex’ values slide when it came to the movie business… or did they just not read the script before shooting started? I looked it up. Turns out, Abu Dhabi officials did read the script. They also told them to get stuffed. But the Hollywood bigwigs/bigots decided to film it anyway. The end result is a whole lotta angry and undoubtedly upset people in the United Arab Emirates. Way to go America!
Maybe I’m being extra sensitive because I’ve lived in Dubai, but I have to say, the scene where Samantha grabs a man’s erection in front of an Arabic couple eating dinner… er… what the fcuk?? And when she drops a stash of condoms in the middle of a bustling souk, gets “let off” for snogging a bloke on a beach, and makes fun of ‘Paula’, aka a gay Arabic staff member called Abdul… GASP! I’m all for escapism, but if she were a real woman behaving like that over there, she’d be locked up in jail with her “Lawrence of my labia” nothing but a distant dream.
Elsewhere in the movie, as Samantha’s busy insulting Muslim culture, Carrie’s pashing her ex, Aiden – a kiss which in contrast to Samantha’s experience, goes entirely unreported. Samantha’s the aging, single slut who used to be sexy, so it’s fine for her to be degraded throughout the movie, of course. When it comes to Carrie, who’s married, we’re more concerned about defending her whiny ingratitude over a couch and a TV; both gifts from an exasperated Mr Big, who’s trying to do the right thing but just isn’t buying her enough jewellery. Insensitive swine!
In fact, unlike Samantha, who loses her pride, dignity and mind thanks to having her hormone pills confiscated at customs, married Carrie loses nothing more than her passport, which a friendly Arab man gives back to her at the end, along with some brand new shoes. Aaaah. Oh, and when she gets back to NYC, faithful Big has decided that in order to keep her eyes from wandering again, he’ll sell his TV and buy her a diamond after all. Double aaaaah. (How much did that TV cost?!!)
Disgusting isn’t it. If that’s being happily married, forget it. I want diamonds AND flat screen TVs.
The movie does focus on the exciting opulence of Abu Dhabi and the caring nature of its people, which isn’t far off the mark, I suppose. But if you’re going to get all deep and analytical about it, this movie is a pretty insulting fantasy, even with conservative Miranda reminding Samantha to cover up at all times (probably an afterthought for her character).
I used to be a massive fan of the show but in spite of Hollywood covering its back, via Miranda’ in the off-chance someone will cause a fuss, not only do our fab four now look like aging Western clothes-horses on the outside, they now appear as racist, patronising morons on the inside, too. They’ll have to make a third movie just to redeem themselves, I reckon. Even the Dee-Wee-Man, who smuggled our first slice of Sex into our Muslim City is probably thinking twice about doing the same with this one. It’s such a shame that by taking Carrie, Miranda, Samantha and Charlotte out of New York City, the only thing we’re shown is that all the money and glamour in the world can’t buy class.
(Did I mention a pained looking Liza Minella dances to Beyonce in nothing but a shirt and boots in this movie? For some reason, my conscious is still trying to block that bit out).