Carrie Bradshaw and company return in the much-anticipated sequel, Sex and the City 2, which takes the aging girls on a prowl through the Middle East. In addition to a swarm of standard "bad" reviews, however, the comedy — set in Abu Dhabi, but forced to film in Morocco because of local sensitivities — has been berated by critics for "anti-Muslim" sentiments. While Warner Bros. claim the film is not "political," detractors say its giddy advocacy of skimpy clothing, in particular, shows a blatant disregard for conservative Islamic culture. Is the movie actively anti-Muslim, or just culturally tone-deaf? (Watch the trailer for Sex and the City 2)
Sex and the City 2 is clearly anti-Muslim: This foolish film "completely" disrespects "the Middle East, its people, its religion and its culture," says Wajahat Ali in Salon. It "ignorantly and inaccurately" paints Abu Dhabi as an "oppressive dungeon populated by intolerant men who cannot comprehend cleavage or bare shoulders," and does so "in a wacky cultural vacuum blissfully unaware of its own arrogance and prejudices." Needless to say, this is a terrible film.
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It's bad, but not all bad: Yes, Sex and the City 2 is "blatantly anti-Muslim," says Stephen Farber in The Hollywood Reporter. But it's also "proudly feminist," which is a respectable agenda given the "puritanical and misogynistic culture of the Middle East." So while I understand why the film's "scathing portrayal of Muslim society" could "confound liberal viewers," I still find "something bracing about the film's saucy political incorrectness."
Did you really expect enlightenment? The film may be insensitive to Muslims, says Hadley Freeman in the Daily Mail, but, considering the show's poor record of handling "non-Caucasians," is it any surprise? The first film introduced a black character, who, "cravenly grateful for Carrie's designer cast-offs," ultimately returns to the south where, presumably, "black people belong." Sex and the City is certainly guilty of cultural insensitivity. But we're equally guilty of over-high expectations.
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