SEX AND THE CITY 2
Starring Sarah Jessica Parker, Kristin Davis, Cynthia Nixon, Kim Cattrall
Directed by Michael Patrick King
In retrospect, the magic of the first Sex and the City movie was that it provided a welcome reprieve from a Sex-less life. Fans of the HBO TV series bid adieu to the glamour and glitz of Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker), Miranda (Cynthia Nixon), Charlotte (Kristin Davis), and Samantha (Kim Cattrall) in 2006, and had to rely on syndicated reruns and the DVD box set to get a dose of the four women who made such an indelible impact on our culture. As mixed as reviews of the first SATC movie were, fans couldn’t deny that it felt good to be back in the company of the fictional foursome.
Sadly, this sequel feels less like a reunion with old friends, more like an exercise in the art of the quick cash grab, with writer-director Michael Patrick King sacrificing a strong narrative for what feels like a scattershot collection of writing-room whims. Liza Minelli? The Middle East? Menopause? Sure, why not?
The core four are severely shortchanged here, seemingly just so King could transplant the Big Apple girls (read: free) to Abu Dhabi (read: repressed), under the guise of a work trip for Samantha. It’s an interesting premise, but one King doesn’t care to explore in any meaningful way, instead using it as a 90-minute tent pole that sags under the weight of a 150-minute movie.
Meanwhile, Carrie and Charlotte are affected by the “terrible twos”: Carrie’s negotiating the tricky art of settling down into married life, while Charlotte’s toddler, Rose, cries all the time, calmed only by Mommy and the nanny, a bra-less Irish blonde. Samantha battles menopause, and Miranda faces work issues, but their stories are sacrificed for sheik-related shenanigans. They ride camels. They offend by flaunting their sexuality. And, of course, they end up wearing burqas, with all the finesse and maturity of the Scooby Gang.
The clothes, mostly hideous here but always as much a character as New York City itself, ultimately serve as the sartorial barometer for the film’s success — for every genuinely good outfit, there’s a moment that hits that unique SATC mark, the familiar combination of heart, humour, and honesty. But I couldn’t help but wonder: Is a bad visit with old friends better than no visit at all? —Andrea Warner