• Fri, Jun 4 2010

‘Sex and the City’ vs ‘Get Him to the Greek’: Double Standard Much?

Sarah Jessica Parker image via WENN

I’ve spent a ridiculous amount of time over the past week trying to sort through the hate-fest surrounding Sex and the City 2. Like Emily Nussbaum, I hadn’t actually planned to see the fucking thing; I heard a lot of bad buzz months before and assumed I’d give it a miss. But the fiftieth time I read about how horrifying Samantha’s vagina-talk was or how Carrie should just STFU about her marriage issues already, I was there. And you know what? It was awesome. Not in a “this is a GREAT, SERIOUS FILM” kind of way, but in a cathartic, campy, girlfriendy way. Blowjob jokes! Sequined gay choruses! “Single Ladies!” Male nudity! Mothers admitting motherhood kinda sucks! I was down for all of it, and so were the other 99% of the audience, most of whom brought their own vaginas to the party (and their phones, which they REFUSE to fucking turn off, but that’s another rant altogether). Yeah, SATC2 is ham-handed. Get over it. It’s a fucking summer movie.

But, big deal. I was almost over my indignance at the hyperbolically awful reviews when I noticed the big ass-kiss that Get Him to the Greek, out today, is getting from the very same bunch of scribes. Now, I love me some Russell Brand. I really do. But I have seen this movie, and it is shit. And not only is it shit, it’s tired, reductive, stereotypical, misogynist shit. With a few funny scenes interspersed. I do not hold Russell responsible for this travesty; Aldous Snow was an amazing character in Forgiving Sarah Marshall and what was he supposed to do, NOT star in the sequel written specifically for him?

Just for fun, let’s play a game I like call “Appalling/Cool,” in which we compare and contrast the treatment given these two raunchy buddy comedies.

It’s appalling when…
Wealthy Manhattan women live it up with lavish hotel suites, personal manservants and chauffeured Maybachs. A.O. Scott, New York Times: “The ugly smell of unexamined privilege hangs over this film like the smoke from cheap incense.”
But it’s cool when…
Wealthy male rock stars treat people – not to mention hotel rooms – like crap. Christy Lemire, Associated Press: “Aldous is self-centered, arrogant and condescending. People are disposable to him, and he’s incapable of being loyal. He’s also flat-out brilliant.”

It’s appalling when…
Women don’t act their age. Ella Taylor, Village Voice: “Sadistic close-ups of faces too old for their fuck-me junior attire and problems 15 years too young.”
But it’s cool when…
Guys don’t. Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune: “It is also creatively diverse in exploring the ways boy-men — a misbehaving rock star on drugs, and his star-struck, increasingly addled handler — will be boy-men.”

It’s appalling when…
Samantha and her buds objectify men. Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times: “And crotches, have we got crotches for you….They meet the Australian world cup team, for example, which seems to have left its cups at home. And then there’s the intriguing stranger Samantha meets at the hotel, whose zipper-straining arousal evokes the fury of an offended Arab guest and his wife.”
But it’s cool when…
Aldous uses female groupies like Kleenex. A.O. Scott: “It is basically a ribald road picture, with…not much for women to do that allows them to be funny in their own right. They are around to be ogled and exploited, and also sometimes to provide emotional sustenance, a duality that makes this movie both a hymn to, and a subversion of, the ideal of heterosexual monogamy.”

Russell Brand image via PNP/WENN.com

It’s appalling when…
Female bonding happens across cultures. Lindy West, The Stranger: “Muslim women: Under those craaaaaaay-zy robes, they’re just as vapid and obsessed with physical beauty and meaningless material concerns as us! Feminism! Fuck yeah!”
But it’s cool when…
Groupie-fucking happens across cultures. Andrew O’Hehir, Salon: “Booze, drugs, trashy nightclubs, unscheduled visits to Vegas and floozies of various nationalities.”

It’s appalling when…
Kim Cattrall mimes fellatio with a hookah pipe. Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle: “Get real, folks. If a man wants a woman who’ll behave in public like a 20-year-old prostitute, he’ll find an actual 20-year-old prostitute.”
But it’s cool when…
Jonah Hill has sex on a toilet and puts drugs up his ass. Andrew O’Hehir: “I don’t remember any films by Ernst Lubitsch or Preston Sturges that involved splashy toilet-cubicle sex scenes, or gags involving someone stashing a balloon full of heroin in his “bottom-hole”…But ask yourself honestly: If jokes like that had been conceivable back then, wouldn’t Sturges have used them?”

It’s appalling when…
Samantha puts hormone cream on her vag. Lindy West: “The answer is… fine. Samantha’s vagina is doing fine. She rubs yams on it, okay? She takes 48 vagina vitamins a day. It accepts unlimited male penises with the greatest of ease. Now let us never speak of it again.”
But it’s cool when…
Even more stuff goes up Jonah Hill’s ass. Robert Wilonsky, Village Voice: “You’ll find instead an out-of-control Puff Daddy who…. later demands Aaron have sex with a woman who will eventually rape him with her spare dildo. It’s a whole different flavor of coming-of-age movie.”

It’s appalling when…
Men are used in throwaway supporting roles. Andrew O’Hehir: “The only reason it isn’t offensive to straight men is that there aren’t any; Big is something else, a shambling, half-dead ghoul enslaved to a demonic harridan.”
But it’s cool when…
Women are. A.O. Scott: “Get Him to the Greek” wears its hypocrisy lightly, even as it confines Ms. Moss, so soulful and complicated in “Mad Men,” to the duties of being the foil of a foil.”

It’s appalling when…
A summer chick flick isn’t Oscar bait. Mick LaSalle: “A ham-fisted assertion of feminist credentials in the most self-conscious and trivializing of ways…It shouldn’t come back until one of these characters has something serious to deal with and the filmmaker has something to say about it.”
But it’s cool when…
A summer bromance is just kinda OK. Ty Burr, Boston Globe: “If the movie’s all too predictable in its broad outlines, it’s scurrilously funny in the details, and it pushes its two leads and one of its supporting actors in entertainingly fresh directions. For early June, that’s enough.”

You know what I’ve had enough of?

Fucking movie critics.

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  • Brooke Moreland

    Thank you for writing this! I totally agree. SATC2 was awesome. I mean, come on. It just was. Thanks for writing all of the stuff I was thinking, but was too lazy to actually express.

  • Jennifer Wright

    Okay, I guess the reason that I fully expect to love Get Him To The Greek and hated SATC2 is because SATC2 seemed like a pathetic, scary caricature of a nuanced, smart show I loved. I’m not really expecting anything other than wacky hijinks and bawdy jokes from the character who sang “Inside of You” in Forgetting Sarah Marshall (which is a hilarious movie, but which I don’t associate with my high school years in a ridiculously senimental way the way I do Sex and the City.)