Another installment of the movie adaptation of HBO's popular series is set to hit silver screens all over the world on May 28th. The first one had our Gal Pals going south of the border to Mexico in search of romantic fulfillment.
This second version of "The Cougar Chronicles", as I would rename the series, has our intrepid and insatiable ladies escaping their mundane domestic lives in New York City in an attempt to spark up their love lives in, of all places....Abu Dhabi! That makes as much sense as filming SATC3 in The Vatican!
It is confusing to me why the producers and screenplay writers chose this Muslim Emirate as a venue where public displays of affection are illegal and cohabitation can get a person hard prison time. Recently in Dubai, a couple were arrested for kissing in a restaurant.
In reality, the only "Sex and the City" here is the many Chinese prostitutes that infest downtown tourist hotel bars. If I had a dollar for every time I have been groped in these places by Oriental "hostesses", my car would be paid off by now.
The local film commission even denied permission for the production company to film scenes on location in Abu Dhabi. Because of this, the Abu Dhabi scenes were filmed in Morocco including a fake Emirates Palace Hotel set, an Abu Dhabi landmark.
The Real Emirates Palace Hotel
One has to wonder why the makers of this movie did not just use Morocco as the ladies' destination in the film. Morocco has virtually the same landscape and culture, at least in Western eyes. Certainly our girls could find romance in the same country that is portrayed in what's considered one of the most romantic movies of all time, "Casablanca". You know, the classic one with Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman.
Dubai is recognized throughout the world as a glamorous location but Abu Dhabi, just 100 kilometers away, is off the radar screen for most movie goers. This film will be popular and the mention of Abu Dhabi will make it more of a household word. Tourism is bound to increase here as a result. Many thousands of love-starved middle aged women will see Abu Dhabi as a prime romantic location to fulfill their menopausal "Girls Gone Wild " fantasies. Abu Dhabi will finally be on the map as a desirable and trendy place to be.
The cynic in me says there were some investors that wanted Abu Dhabi as the movie venue for the publicity. Ironically, the film will probably not be shown in the local theaters due to the controversial subject. The title alone is a deal-killer here. The lost local revenues are a drop in the bucket.
What is important is the global exposure of a popular Hollywood movie and the chance to shift a little more attention away from the now tarnished city-state of Dubai to the up and coming Emirate and city of Abu Dhabi without offending local sensibilities. Very crafty, IMHO!