There are some review snippets that likely won’t end up as movie poster taglines:
“an affront to Muslims” – USA Today
“breathtaking cultural insensitivity” – Washington Post
“cinematic Viagra for Western cultural imperialists”- Salon.com
Of all the criticisms that could likely be launched against Warner Bros.’ new “Sex and the City 2” movie, the media have latched onto the film’s reported depictions of misogynist policies in Muslim nations.
It was USA Today that called the movie “an affront to Muslims.” 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.”
Many reviews are quick to defend Muslim culture, or at least Abu Dhabi, which does seem a less-than-compelling example of a society out-of-touch with modern notions of gender equality. (Some reviews do take on the other questionable material including the sleaze and rampant materialism, but the media loved the first big-screen adaptation of the HBO series.)
The criticisms of “Sex and the City 2” as “blatantly anti-Muslim,” as The Hollywood Reporter described it, may be perfectly valid. But where were these defenders of the faith when moviemakers attacked other religions?
At the risk of appearing to compare “Sex and the City 2” with a comedic masterpiece, take the 2004 DVD release of Monty Python’s 1979 “Life of Brian,” a vicious satire of the Gospel stories.
The Washington Post found it “hard to believe that it was such a controversial film when it first came out.” Reviewer Ann Hornaday, the same person who accused “Sex and the City 2” of “cultural insensitivity” couldn’t understand how Christians would find it offensive to feature a Christ-figure, joined by a chorus of the crucified, singing, “Always look on the bright side of life.”
Or how about “Saved!,” a less-beloved anti-Christian movie released in 2004? The film, which depicts the lives of several Christian-school students as they deal – poorly – with an unplanned pregnancy, was far from offensive to Salon.com. The review complained that it was “conspicuously lacking both guts and well-sharpened teeth.”
The media double standard for entertainment is clear. Satirize – or just flat-out attack – Christianity and receive a resounding “encore!” or, at worst, a “try harder next time. Depict Muslim culture in a negative light in a film ostensibly about feminism and female empowerment, and prepare for two big thumbs down.
It’s a good thing “Sex and the City 2” director King didn’t try to depict Muhammad.