With working mom Miranda (Cynthia Nixon) facing the glass ceiling, Charlotte (Kristin Davis) coping with motherhood, Samantha (Kim Cattrall) looking menopause in the eye and Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker) wondering just what it means to be a Mrs., it couldn't be a better time for the four to regroup on an all girls' vacation. So, when Samantha gets a job in Abu Dhabi, it's an all expenses paid time out in "Sex and the City 2."
Most guys never got the whole "Sex and the City" thing, which was largely about support via sisterhood. The series was great in its time. The first movie, which I admittedly overrated at the time, was a decent revisit. But with this sequel, writer/director Michael Patrick King ("Sex and the City") and producer Sarah Jessica Parker have squandered good will with bad taste by thinking they could transport this label-loving, sexually adventurous foursome to the Middle East to stir up Arab culture. "Sex and the City 2" may begin with a campy, kicky, 1930's musical-style gay wedding, but it ends with a hormone-deprived Samantha literally in the dust, underdressed and screaming about her sexual appetites while brandishing a strip of condoms at the Arab men who encircle her.
The girls regather at a Connecticut inn for the nuptials of former foes Stanford Blatch (Willie Garson) and event planner Anthony Marantino (Mario Cantone), who has let Stanford plan this one, complete with swans and a white top-hatted and tuxedo'ed gay choir. Liza Minelli officiates (as Miranda tells Samantha, with so much gay energy in one place, Liza just materializes). (While the old gal is still in good form, whoever thought she should cover Beyonce's "Single Ladies" should have their head examined. Ironically, the choir covers old standards which she could have soared with.) Carrie and Big (Chris Noth) end up in a room between Charlotte and Harry (Evan Handler), where there screaming youngest, Rose, penetrates the walls, and Samantha, whose screaming for the penetration of one of the 'brooms'' brothers is perhaps even louder. So far, so good.
Back in New York, Samantha, who is using Suzanne Sommers's book for her hormone regimen, receives a call from Smith Jerrod (Jason Lewis) saying she must be his date for the NYC premiere of his first film. Carrie cadges an invite to get Big out for some much needed 'sparkle.' She's been fretting over Big's desire to stay in more than go out, especially after he buys her a flat screen TV as a 2nd anniversary gift. It is at the premiere's after party that Samantha meets the film's producer, Shiekh Khalid, who invites her to come to Abu Dhabi, the 'new' Middle East, to possibly represent his decadent new hotel. And so the four, including Charlotte who has begun to worry about the advisability of leaving Harry with her braless nanny Erin (Alice Eve, "She's Out of My League"), set off with copious luggage on the Shiekh's own airlines which affords each of them an onboard suite. This is where the film begins to nose dive.
Thinking that their audience wants "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous" during an economic downturn, King and Parker turn the decadence meter to 12 and the taste meter to 2. The women each receive their own brand new car and butler (Samantha's is, of course, flamboyantly gay, which I'm sure is a common occurrence in this environment, but at least they didn't provide her with her own whore) and are given a suite that resembles a palace. They have separate wardrobes for waking up, breakfast, a.m. sightseeing, p.m. lounging, dinner and any other excuse. They wear heels in the dessert and tulle in the marketplace. The sensible clothing picked out by the butlers for a camel ride is as ridiculous as what they arrived in. Then there are the storylines.
The low key maternal shoring up between Miranda and Charlotte is fine, but Carrie's out to sabotage her love life yet again (she runs into Aidan (John Corbett) in the souk), and, far far worse, Samantha is turned into a sexually voracious hag (she gets one good line in 'Lawrence of my labia') who shows nothing but contempt for her guest country. Even worse, King devices an Eastern Western sisterhood subplot which features a group of burqa clad women coming to the foursome's rescue at a point when even they should be appalled. And that's before they disrobe to reveal their own designer duds and Suzanne Sommers' tomes! If cartoons of Mohammed have incited Jihad, "Sex and the City 2" may add nukes to the equation.
I expected to spend "Sex and the City 2's" entire 2+ hour running time wishing I were someplace else. Well, it's not that bad, but all's not well that ends so badly. At least Carrie shows some compassion on her way out of Abu Dhabi (she leaves a gracious tip to her butler, Guarau, who has offered some marital wisdom) and an appreciation for snuggling up with an old black and white movie once she's home. But honestly, must even Carrie and Big's takeout brandish a designer label?
Robin did not see this film.
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