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Why a Crappy Sequel Chick Flick Hit is Better than a Flop

by Anne Thompson
May 28, 2010 12:34 PM
9 Comments
  • |
Thompson on Hollywood

Women will flock to see Sex and the City 2--no matter how dismissive its reviews--because they're starving for content aimed at them. (The pic grossed $14.2 million on Thursday.) They're fond of the four characters, and want to check out their over-the-top Patricia Field costumes. They may be disappointed.

As a fan of the HBO series who enjoyed the 2008 movie, I found Sex and City 2 to be shoddily shot and written. Its excessive shopping and consumption, while played for laughs, misreads the tenor of the time. I did not want to see these women (once celebrated as single girls in New York City) saddled with wrinkles, husbands or children, or on vacation in Abu Dhabi. (Hey, I thought Mamma Mia! was awful. But women all over the world ate it up. They didn't care if it was a mess.)

That said, male critics have piled onto this movie, much the way that they did on Twilight: New Moon. These films were not created for them. Writer Rebecca Keegan (@ThatRebecca) tweets: "Dear fanboys whining about SATC: U realize 90% of crap we sit thru is geared to your ids? Don some glitter + man up."

Thus I am rooting for Sex and the City 2 to succeed, because even a crappy sequel chick flick hit is better than a failure, which will only serve to set back the cause of making more movies aimed at women.

Check out online ticket seller Fandango's top five advance ticket sales for the weekend:

Fandango Five – Ticket Sales (as of 5/28/10 9:00 a.m. PT)

Movie Fandango User Rating % Fandango Sales

Sex and the City 2 “So-So” 73%

Shrek Forever After “Go” 9%

Prince of Persia “Go” 7%

The Twilight Saga: Eclipse “Must Go” 5%

Iron Man 2 “Go” 2%

9 Comments

  • JoeS | May 29, 2010 11:16 AMReply

    Anne - You more than most should realize that SEX 2 being a big hit only encourages more BAD movies being made, not more female aimed ones. SEX is a name brand that stands apart from other films with a female lead. Hollywood execs will only see the money being made by milking a franchise for more $$ - not one with female leads.
    Until women (and men, of course) start going in large numbers to GOOD films with strong female leads such as WAITRESS (a modest success but no blockbuster) or indies like FISH TANK or FROZEN RIVER, then SEX will only be an aberration - not, the precurser of more female driven flicks being green-lit.

  • rgm | May 29, 2010 10:51 AMReply

    Had the first unreal sequel flopped, no one would have been encouraged to make this even poorer one, which, as you noted, seems to denigrate all the really great New York City working womens' lives, travails and camaraderie that made the tv series so successful.

    Mama Mia was somewhat shoddily, and too quickly, made, but that movie closely followed its successful source. And it showcased Meryl Streep. Lots of women had real fun watching it despite the flaws -- and even laughed off Brosnan's embarrassing solo.

  • Alonso Duralde | May 29, 2010 7:39 AMReply

    Maybe I'm just hypersensitive because it's Saturday morning, but just once I would love to see an article of this ilk (on any number of subjects, not just movies) refer specifically to STRAIGHT men. All the gay guys I know have had this movie on their calendar for months. And so far, they pretty much all hate it, too.

  • milton | May 29, 2010 6:55 AMReply

    Claudia Puig, Ella Taylor, Dana Stevens, Stephanie Zacharek, Betsy Sharkey, Ann Hornaday and Lisa Schwartzbaum all absolutely savaged this movie. (Manohla Dargis, the only big-name female critic missing from that list, didn't review it.) Most of them seemed to find it insulting. And the same male critics who hated this movie tend to hate Michael Bay drivel and torture porn just as much. I'm not sure where gender inequality comes into play here at all.

    Not downplaying the need for more female critics, or more female-oriented films, but this just looks like a really awful movie. I don't want an awful chick flick to succeed anymore than I want an awful guy flick to succeed -- either way, it begets more awful movies, and in the chick flick case it increases the ghettoization of "women's pictures." And expecting anyone, no matter their gender, who watches and appreciates films for a living to give an awful movie their approval seems like an unreasonable request.

  • alan | May 29, 2010 6:23 AMReply

    agree -- a sucessful box office run is most important in most cases. quality of movie hardly matters. people want to eat popcorn and watch the picture.

    lots (and lots) of female critics have slashed satc2. it's not just the men

  • Joe Valdez | May 29, 2010 4:29 AMReply

    Loved that Twitter comment from @thatrebecca, Anne.

    In this debate over whether SATC2 is bollocks or bollocks that is being unjustly persecuted by men, I agree with Robert. Just as many slings and arrows came out for TRANSFORMERS and not quite as many for TWILIGHT.

    If men and women (over the age of 14) could agree on one thing, I'd like to think it would be that all of the movies being cranked out from these franchises have been insulting -- regardless of how much money they made -- and that we all deserve better.

  • Jacques Strappe | May 29, 2010 3:53 AMReply

    Speaking as a guy...I do get annoyed when Michael Bay schlock or torture porn succeeds. I don't root for them to make money because that means we'll see more junk like them. Crappy movies succeeding furthers the cause of crappy movies only, whomever they happen to be aimed at. When crappy movies fail, it forces producers to reconsider what they actually have to do to get a hit--even if it means attempting to improve the quality. But if terrible chick flicks have the most success, like this article seems to be implying, then you will see a perpetuation of such crappiness with no incentive to work towards quality.

    I have no feelings about Sex and the City one way or another, since I never saw the show. I do remember critics assailing Transformers quite a bit, and Saw always gets bashed, but kids and men don't listen to critics anymore than women do, so why should movie studios? They'll only consider listening if such movies flop commercially.

  • Julie | May 29, 2010 2:05 AMReply

    This says it all Thompson. (Too bad you never had the experience, like most of us had)

    http://www.thewrap.com/blog-entry/we-need-womens-reviews-sex-and-city-2-17863

  • ProgGrrl | May 29, 2010 2:05 AMReply

    I don't agree that women do not want to see (at least some of) these single girls get married, have kids, grow older, etc. That is part of the journey and why can't these ladies go there?

    Meanwhile, watching this latest chance for male film critics and bloggers to pile on one nasty and thinly veiled sexist comment after the next has been sad, sad, sad. Why don't these guys ever get as upset over the latest Michael Bay fiasco or torture p0rn flick? Ridiculous.

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