When a supposedly light-hearted movie about four Manhattan fashionistas visiting the Middle East is called "an affront to Muslims" (USA Today) with "breathtaking cultural insensitivity" (Washington Post) and the "cinematic Viagra for Western cultural imperialists" (Salon.com), you know that you're in trouble.
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to some of the horrific movie reviews for Sex and the City 2.
In Sex and the City 2, the four main characters visit the United Arab Emirates, a cenematic detour some critics say is loaded with steroptypes about the Middle East.
First of all, my wife loves her some SATC (the acronym for the series brand) and I audibly groan whenever I walk by the television whilst she is watching the show. Having said that, I have dreaded the return of the movie sequel for months because I absolutely knew that she would ultimately drag me to see it since she has always been kind enough to 'take one for the team' whenever I watch my Boston Celtics in the NBA Playoffs every year.
Dealing with the substance and cultural underpinnings of the film, the scathing movie reviews speak volumes about this latest SATC sequel and its culturally tone-deaf writers.
USA Today movie reviewer Claudia Puig wrote that director Michael Patrick King, "is out of his league attempting to comment on the inequitable treatment of Muslim women. He ends up mocking religious beliefs and making Carrie and her friends appear insensitive."
Criticisms of Sex and the City 2 went so far as to call the movie "blatantly anti-Muslim," as the Hollywood Reporter described it recently.
For four urban over-entitled debutantes who spend more money on their Manolo Blahnik shoes than I did on my Mitsubishi Endeavor, it seems as though Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte and Samantha have even outdone themselves this time.
According to a Salon.com review of the movie written by a playwright friend of mine, "These incredibly shallow mock-feminists can't even bother to have one decent conversation with a Muslim woman. In fact, Abu Dhabi is just peachy when it's a fantasy land where they ride around in limos and get comped an extravagantly vulgar $22,000 hotel suite... only when that materialism is taken away do they worry, in only the most superficial way, about sexual hypocrisy and women's oppression."
This modern sequel may be insensitive to Muslims, says Hadley Freeman in the Daily Mail, but considering the show's poor record of handling "non-Caucasians" in the past, should this be a surprise to any person of color today?
As Hadley points out, the first SATC introduced a black character (Jennifer Hudson), who "cravenly grateful for Carrie's designer cast-offs," ultimately returns to the south where, presumably, "black people belong."
Sex and the City 2 is certainly guilty of cultural insensitivity. Instead of trying to go way above their pay grade and substantively tackle issues of global gender equity issues and international relations, maybe these four over-entitled superficial (and ridunkulously rich) Manhattan-ites should stick to sipping their caffeinated Appletinis and whining about who is on the cover of Vogue this month.
Arsalan Iftikhar is an international human rights lawyer, founder of TheMuslimGuy.com and a regular weekly contributor to the Barbershop segment of Tell Me More.