Sex & the City 2

Yes. I know. It’s a fluff piece/chick flick. This is one of the reasons I watched it online instead of paying to see it. But you know something? It wasn’t as soul-shatteringly awful as some made it sound. It’s the kind of film that needs to be accepted on it’s own terms. It’s not trying to be cerebral high art or breathtaking drama. It’s a summer movie designed as veg-out entertainment, and at that level it succeeds.

Several critics have slammed the film as islamophobic, which to some degree may be valid, and I also agree that it was definitely not essential to set this film in Abu Dhabi, but there’s also another side to this, revealed by the four Arab female characters in who lend Samantha, Charlotte, Carrie, and Miranda their clothing to escape an angry group of conservative men whom Samantha has antagonized by waving the condoms from her thug-overturned handbag in their faces.  (You had to be there). This act of kindness on the part of the strangers, who happen to be Muslim women, shows that there are in fact, Muslims who embrace aspects of American fashion/culture, and that to the extent that it is possible to individualize and westernize Islam, there are those willing to do so.

A female co-worker made a very excellent point about gender with respect to how this film is being criticized.  Why are similar films which depict a group of bumbling guys having ridiculous adventures less severely criticized than this one? Remember The Hangover? Hot Tub Time Machine?

Will the upcoming film Grown Ups get the same almost universal panning? It will probably get some, but I wonder whether the dislike will be as intense as it has been for Sex and the City 2?

Lighten up people. If you’re not in the mood for a fluff piece, don’t go to see one, if you are, don’t expect to be intellectually challenged.

Examiner – post by Scott Wampler – although he doesn’t praise this film by any means, he, too wonders at the intense animosity leveled at it.

Daily Mail – interesting assessment of the hoopla

Wichita Eagle – a fair assessment of the film

Amanda Mull’s -defense of the film

Manohla Dargis’ – defense in the NY Times

Nurse Jackie-Season 2 Finale

Last things first; since that seems the easiest way to try to sum up this episode and season. Kevin and Dr. Eleanor O’hara both know that Jackie’s been lying to them and using drugs. Jackie angrily denies these accusations and runs upstairs into the bathroom. She then stared into the mirror and fantasizes about being alone on a beach. Next, she says, “my name is Jackie and I’m an addict” with pained, bloodshot eyes. Finally, she says “blow me.” and laughs. In season one’s finale, viewers saw Jackie on the floor of a storage room after taking drugs, fantasizing about Kevin and her daughters laughing and united. In a way it reminds of the scene from the comedy Date Night, in which Phil (Steve Carrell) accuses Claire (Tina Fey) of fantasizing about being with other men. She calmly replies that her fantasies are her being alone in a hotel room sipping soda without having to worry about husband or children.(Any surprise she drove off and left Kevin walking in the street after he stormed out of the truck in fury?) Jackie’s childish flight to the bathroom underscored her desire to escape, with the “grown-ups”  Kevin & Dr. O’hara wanting her to own responsibility for her actions. This was followed by the current season, which had her struggling to hold her relationship with her children together while continuing to lie and use drugs. Could season three mean that she will struggle to hold herself together as she uses drugs, lies, and tries to wean herself away from them? Probably.

She will at least have to get her back examined to find out what’s really wrong with it…

As suspected, Mr. Bill Martin was searching for Jackie in order to reclaim his stash of drugs, which she’d taken from him two episodes prior. Seeing Jackie pinned against the wall as Bill threatened her, Thor intervened by tackling him to the ground and knocking him out. Will that be the last of him? Maybe, maybe not. It seems too quick and easy a solution on a show that loves to pile on the problems…

The audience finally learned why Dr. O’hara always seemed to be around whenever Jackie was working – Dr. O’hara checked the nurse’s schedule and aligned her schedule with Jackie’s. This,of course, begs the question of whether or not Dr. Cooper does the same thing. It would also be interesting to see a third or fourth doctor next season. On the administrative side, isn’t there anyone else in charge of that hospital besides Grace Akalitus? Doesn’t she have a  boss?

One of the good things about this finale is that almost all of Jackie’s lies are exposed – except for her affair with Eddie (a season 3 bombshell?). Another was to see Jackie’s nurturing side come out when Sam came to work too drunk to stand. (Is it only when someone needs help desperately that she’s kind to them? How much of herself did she see in Sam’s behavior?). The bad – what are all those bills from? (She’s been drugging for years,  had free access to drugs while Eddie was there and even when the Pill-O-Matix was installed, and she now has Bill’s $12,000 stash so how did she rack up so many drug bills so quickly? It looked like several months worth.) There’s been relatively little shown of Jackie actually consuming the drugs in each episode. If the writers want to depict drug addiction, let the audience know just how many drugs she’s taking, and which ones, and where she might be hiding them.

Getting back to generational patterns with respect to Jackie’s behavior, Fiona and Grace are respectively like Kevin and Jackie in some key respects. Fiona is easy-going and upbeat like Kevin, and Grace is anxious, and secretive like Jackie. (I don’t think it was an accident that both Jackie and Grace retreated to the bathroom in various episodes to indulge in self-destructive behavior). Did Jackie push her mother away just like Grace has attempted to do to Jackie? If alive, what grandmother wouldn’t want to see such precious little girls?  It would deepen the audience’s understanding of the characters, and make the show more interesting, not to mention realistic, if the writers were to expand Jackie’s universe a bit by bringing in her parents, siblings, childhood friends, and so on. It doesn’t make sense to introduce us to Kevin’s old girlfriend, and consistently mention that his sister is with Fiona and Grace, when Kevin has half Jackie’s screen time.

Other characters got a chance to shine this season. This season has seen Zooey develop a bit more self-confidence and maturity and a relationship with EMT worker Lenny.  It has also shown us a very socially inept Dr. Fitch Cooper, whose behavior raises questions about his upbringing. He reacted very strongly to the notion that a man could ever hit a woman under any circumstances, which begs the question of what prompted this response. We know that he was raised by two lesbian mothers, but we don’t know what else he witnessed in childhood. Is there some reason he thinks he should tell the full unvarnished truth at inappropriate moments? Getting punched in the nose twice should  give him pause for thought, yes, be we have to wonder what’s behind some of his off-center behavior…Finally, Dr. O’hara’s bisexuality was revealed and her affairs with Sam and Sarah ended nearly as abruptly as they began.  We still don’t know where her wealth comes from or why she has so many relationship troubles, but hopefully, more will be revealed in season 3.

Linda Wallem & Liz Brixius discuss the finale:

Summary 1

Summary 2

Summary 3

A Nurse’s Assessment of the Show

Nurse Jackie, Season Finale Countdown…

In the past few episodes, we’ve seen Jackie lying to Dr. O’hara about Kevin’s acceptance of her generous offer to pay for Fiona’s education. What will Jackie spend the money on instead? Those bills in Jackie’s locker provide some clue…Drugs? Yup.

Eddie Walzer returning to All Saints’ Hospital? It does seem a bit too predictable and convenient, doesn’t it? I liked having him start his own business in the same neighborhood and dating the younger, prettier, Georgia while throwing it in Jackie’s face. I feel sorry for Georgia who’s unaware of the emotional crosscurrents and involvements between Eddie and Jackie.

We know that Kevin knows about Jackie accepting the money – and based on the trailers for next week’s show – he’s spoken with Dr. O’hara and knows that Jackie’s a drug addict. We also know that some handsome stranger came to the hospital looking for Jackie; presumably to thank her for saving his life, but somehow that seems far too simple and straightforward for this show…Here’s what we don’t know: Does he want his stash back? Will he threaten and/or help expose Jackie? How will Kevin handle all the lies and the drug addiction by the end of the finale? Will he move out and file for divorce, and take the kids with him?

This show, and particularly this season, has shown us just how wounded healers truly are. Although most of the dysfunction centers around and emanates from Jackie (little surprise as the titular character), there have been more than ample signs that all is not well in the lives of Dr. Eleanor O’hara, Dr. Cooper,  and Dr. Eddie Walzer. Grace Akalitus’ character has been softened up a bit this season, which makes me think we may see her tackle personal issues next season.

Interestingly enough, the more Jackie seems to fall apart, the closer she wants to be to her family. When are we going to learn more about her own family upbringing??? Come on, writers!

LaTimes– Critic’s Notebook assessment of Jackie Peyton as a drug addicted character.

All things Nurse Jackie

How do YOU think it will or should end??