Cast: Sarah Jessica Parker,Kim Cattrall,Cynthia Nixon,Kristin Davis,Chris North
Director: Michael Patrick King
A large part of the attraction of the cult TV series,’Sex and the City,which featured a gaggle of Manhattan girls on the lookout of nooky was in the way they got it. Or didnt. Carrie and Samantha and Miranda and Charlotte were young and carefree and smart and sassy and they were going to get laid,and didnt care who knew it. Apart from the sex,and there was a lot of it,there was some fun to be had,if you liked that sort of thing. These were girls who could step aside from their self-absorbed selves once in a while and laugh at themselves,or get into a girly huddle and cry at themselves. Plus,there were all those clothes. Sure,dressing up is shallow,but hey,looking good is very hard work,okay?
The first movie was intended to get the girls out of their TV avatar into a glossier,more expensive world,whose whole schtick was to show them getting older,mellower,and gasp,even ready for dreaded matrimony. Carrie loves Mr Big ( North),and ends with a wedding and a husband and an apartment with the biggest walk-in closet in New York. The movie was nowhere near as sharp as the series,but it managed to keep the franchise going : you could come away and sip at a Cosmo with a shrug and a smile.
The sequel,’Sex and the City 2,wipes any urges towards mirth. You watch in mounting disbelief as the disgruntled girls ( not women,never) come on to whinge about every single thing thats in their lives. Carries spouse wants to stay on the couch and watch movies. Shudder. Whatever happened to the ultra-exciting evenings out? Charlotte ( Davis) loves her two little girls but cant think of how anyone does it without help,for which shes willing to close her eyes to the antics of her bouncy bra-less nanny and agog husband. She also,get this,bakes cupcakes in a designer dress and breaks down in a closet when her daughter plants painted paws on her backside. Samantha ( Cattrall) is still as bold and brassy as ever as she heads towards post fifty-hood and menopause,and the fount of the least funny lines in all moviedom ( ‘that guy looks as if he is the Lawrence of my Labia : this is a joke?) Miranda ( Nixon) has a horrible boss who stalks her on her Blackberry during off-work hours,and refuses to hear her voice.
Its all supposed to take off when the girls head to Abu Dhabi,the latest hotspot in all Arabia ( ‘Dubai is so over,a guy dressed as a sheikh is made to say),there to disport themselves amongst the sun and sand and humped camels,in clothes as flimsy as the plot. Blatant consumerism is meant to paper over the lack of a story here come the Maybachs and princely suites which cost over 20,000 dollars per night,and personal slaves. Despite the overheated atmosphere,charged with near naked bulging men and the girls who are uncaring that they are in one of the most conservative spots on the planet,nothing really happens. The sex seems to have dried up. So has the fun.
Then whats the point of this whole tiresome enterprise which takes over 2.5 hours to get over? Even the most cynical attempt at keeping the fans coming back for more needs more than just peddling badly-done exotica. Parker looks terrible,a haggard caricature of her formal self : the others dress equally disastrously. Supposedly funny gags about Italians and Jews and Gay Grooms,all bundled together,are grating and obvious. The brands that were used successfully as self-aware weapons are simply blah labels : how long can you brandish your Blahniks and Birkins as identity badges?
And,the biggest sin of all,no one gets off.