Review: 'Sex and the City 2'

Review: ‘Sex and the City 2’

(Intro to be read in Carrie Bradshaw’s voice-over): There I was, on my way to meet one of my gal pals for a early screening of Sex in the City 2. I’d pulled out my best pair of shoes from Target and paired it with my favorite perfectly worn blue jeans and a top from Forever 21. It was going to be a great night. The Cosmos would pour freely, and my friend and I were certainly in for a little female bonding while watching a fabulous film.

But I couldn’t help wondering while I drove toward the beckoning lights of downtown-do we really need a sequel to Sex and the City? After all, the first movie seemed to be the perfect little send-off for the fans.

Society has been resisting the opulent due to all the financial funk, and I couldn’t decide if this movie depicting the NYC foursome enjoying a decadent Middle Eastern vacation is what people want to see right now.

In the case of a sequel, is less more?

I don’t know much about Michael Patrick King, but that man knows how to indulge. Lavish set pieces, lush scenery, and colorful (though their beauty is highly debatable) costumes abound, and as pure escapism, the movie works. Once you start analyzing the plot and genuinely start to critique the movie, it absolutely falls apart, but I don’t think the target demographic for this movie will care.

Fans of the show who have been eagerly anticipating this film will not be disappointed. They know exactly what they are getting into, and I don’t think anyone expects to have their mind blown over this film. Let’s face it, this is the female equivalent of Transformers. It’s an event movie. and it has a built-in audience.

The movie opens with a completely over-the-top wedding. Since it just happens to be a gay wedding, every effort is made to ensure it is the most extravagant wedding ever, boasting swans, a men’s choir in top hats, and Liza Minnelli singing “Single Ladies.” It’s a pleasing opening, and it is a lot of fun to watch the spectacle.

Later, Samantha gets a call from her ex boy-toy Smith, telling her he wants her to accompany him to his latest red-carpet premiere, which was shot in the Middle East. After the premiere, Samantha meets the film investors, who are so impressed with the way she has cultivated Smith’s career that they want to fly her to Abu Dhabi on their dime so she can check out their growing mecca and possibly help them with publicity. Naturally, she brokers a deal that includes hauling her best friends Miranda, Charlotte, and Carrie.

Thus the Middle Eastern journey begins. Quite frankly, I enjoyed the hour leading up to this location a lot more than I did their time in Abu Dhabi. The first hour is very funny, but taking the girls to the Mideast I could have done without. Each of the girls realize that they go “crazy” in the middle east, and so do we.

One strength I think this movie has is that even though these women lead lavish lifestyles, they still succumb to the same problems every woman faces. I have never seen these characters more relatable.

Mild spoilers ahead. Carrie is sinking into the realization that her married life might not always be exciting and new, Samantha is facing menopause, Miranda is belittled and berated at work, and Charlotte buckles under the stress of mommy-hood. It is so refreshing that these women share problems that are universal to all women, and I was very impressed with Charlotte’s story line. It resonated deeply with me, and it was a dead-on portrayal of a mom with two toddlers losing her wits.

I think that this is exactly why women are drawn toward SATC. Even though you shop at Target and serve on the PTA, you can enjoy a certain sense of camaraderie with these girls, and in a way it makes you feel better knowing money doesn’t insulate you from real life.

On the downside, King (who also wrote the screenplay) is wildly inconsistent with the message he is sending to the audience. Half the time he pushes a “I am woman, hear me roar”, and is all about female empowerment.

But once the ladies land in Abu Dhabi, they completely lose their capacity for thought process, and do some really stupid things. Are we really to believe that Samantha, who is shrewd enough that she has clawed her way to owning one of the top PR firms in NYC, would risk her professional career because she was a little horny on the beach? I’m not buying that. She’s worked too hard to get where she is, there is no way she would be this stupid.

The men we’ve come to love are all here: Big, Steve, Harry, Smith, and Aidan. SATC 2 also introduces us to Max Ryan, who plays a cocky Danish architect. Where’s this guy been hiding? According to IMDB, he’s been hiding in a bunch of movies I’ve never seen. He is wildly appealing, and has the same type of cocky charisma that Harrison Ford had back in the day. More please.

Bottom line, SATC 2 is all over the place, with a staggering running time of 2 and 1/2 hours. However, if you enjoyed the first movie, you’ll enjoy the sequel. I found it to be a lot more fun than I anticipated, and I do believe less is more in the case of this movie. Lopping a full hour of the movie off would have done wonders.