REVIEW: Sex and the City 2 [2010]

“Somewhere between wild sex and a baby”

Remember your wild thought of what Liza Minnelli would look like jiving and grooving while singing Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It)”? You know the dream that’s haunted you since Sasha Fierce’s hook took over the airwaves two short years ago—or was that a nightmare? Either way, boy did Sex and the City 2 burn the vision to my retinas just twenty or so minutes in. I’m not sure I ever really recovered from it. Sure there was tacky, ugly fabric swatch combinations somehow labeled ‘fashion’; there’s bra-less Alice Eve jumping around all willy-nilly; a half movie sojourn to Abu Dhabi where one can just imagine how four middle aged sexpots would interact with conservative burqa wearing Muslims and their illegal to arouse male-folk; as well as a weirdly entertaining karaoke evening of pure incomprehensible craziness. Was there even a story tying the random insanity being tossed about? Thank heavens I didn’t expect one and thank you Michael Patrick King for at least making me laugh.

Admittedly, I really enjoyed the first thirty or so minutes—those that actually occurred in the city this series alludes to with its name. There are some smooth camera tricks morphing these glamorous women to their god-awful 80s aesthetic and back to the not much better exorbitantly priced present day attire before arriving at the hilarious gay wedding between the girls’ BGFF duo that seemingly despised each other for six seasons, (or so I inferred from the dialogue being thrown about having only watched the first film). Swans, a chorus of men in white, and that darn Minnelli keep the laughs coming fast and hard, building me up to think I may just in fact have a good time with these girls until the simple fact that no story would be told awakened me from my daze. The fun was over before it began and wedded gay bliss turned into the trials and tribulations of Miss Carrie and Mr. Big. As if the rough and tumble journey towards their vows in Sex and the City weren’t enough, now we have the ambivalence of sharing a stagnant life and losing their necessary spark. Which is the perfect two-year anniversary gift for Carrie Bradshaw—vintage jewels or flatscreen tvs to watch black and white classics such as It Happened One Night, (an amazing film I might add)? Come on Chris Noth, even I know that …

But then I’m also the only person in the entire theatre to laugh at a flippant comment about Midnight Express when Kim Cattrall’s Samantha watches all her hormonal medication and creams confiscated at UAE customs. That cinematic reference elicits the kind of silence crickets revel in, yet the intelligently constructed phrase Abu Dhabi Doo garners fits of hysterics. Sometimes I worry for the state of America and others I look upon it with abject horror. And watching Sarah Jessica Parker’s Carrie, Kristin Davis’s Charlotte York—I still can’t believe the naïveté and absolute childlike innocence she exudes at all times, a definite departure to the rest until materialism rears its head—Cynthia Nixon’s Miranda, and especially Samantha roam Middle Eastern streets can be cringe-worthy because I can imagine most Americans acting as inappropriate and entitled as them. You are visiting a foreign country much different than your own, show some respect like Miranda desperately attempts to instill. If this film were anything but fluff entertainment, all four women would be hooded and on a closed circuit internet feed awaiting decapitation. It is amazing what they get away with, and a bit sad that we’ve decided to drag religious customs through the dirt for laughs—I don’t condone the political law enforcement of these Muslims, but some do wear the veil for God and not the chauvinistic men in power.

It is solely a conduit for inside storylines and callbacks aimed at extreme fans of the show, so I will look past the disgusting treatment towards the UAE, (they aren’t innocent either and I will chide them since you can’t expect to be a world travel destination rivaling European hotspots until you become more lenient towards our crass and unbridled nature). So often I heard gasps and whispers—“Oh, it’s the dress”—and then there were the cheers at seeing John Corbett’s name, “Aidan Shaw!” I have no misconceptions that true diehard fans won’t love this film. It is quite simply a vehicle to jam-pack in as much wardrobe, wealthy living, exotic locales, girl talk, and menopausal jokes as it can. There are no illusions that the utter lack of any real narrative besides the flimsily used, when pauses in seriously crazy events occur, question of whether marriage in a traditional sense still exists will not stop the movie from box office records or rapturous enjoyment and screams for more. Many instances did tickle my fancy, from the hummus and yam consumption, the butler [Paula] Abdul (Walton Nuñez), the glitz and “freshness” of Arab karaoke, as well as the out-of-the-blue cameo from Penélope Cruz. Throw in the likes of Max Ryan’s Rikard Spirit for all those older women in the audience too and let Nixon go at it like the insatiable sex machine she is.

For me, though, a guy that has no interest in the series except for how it resonates in the humanity of its characters, I yearned for a return to NYC. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the Arab locales and the Abu Dhabi hotel extravagance, it really is spectacular. But all that time is merely a release for these women, once again at a crossroads in their lives needing a vacation from the husbands, children, and occupational responsibilities back home. What worked for me were the relationship quarrels and stop-gaps between Carrie and Big, the mental breakdown in progress for Charlotte, the epiphany reached to flip Miranda’s work-crazed existence on its head, or the fear of wasting away the elder Samantha has constantly battled with. All their troubles overseas stems from their own stupid actions; mistakes avoidable if they look past the shiny sheen of new shoes, hot men, and constant wait service. At least Abu Dhabi had one redeeming quality to keep me invested until the inevitable charitable action that’s set-up very early—Raza Jaffrey’s Butler Guarau. He is the brightest spot in a film devoid of real luminescence besides the glittery opening titles and hyper-angular frames of the Empire State Building. If you want the true meaning of love and the sacrifice necessary to achieve it, look no further than Raza. It’s just a shame that Carrie almost missed the lesson.

Sex and the City 2 3/10 | ★

[1] (L-R) KRISTIN DAVIS as Charlotte York, SARAH JESSICA PARKER as Carrie Bradshaw, KIM CATTRALL as Samantha Jones and CYNTHIA NIXON as Miranda Hobbes in New Line Cinema’s comedy “SEX AND THE CITY 2,” a Warner Bros. Pictures release. Photo by Craig Blankenhorn
[2] (L-R) CHRIS NOTH as Mr. Big, TIM GUNN (in back) as himself, SARAH JESSICA PARKER as Carrie Bradshaw, WILLIE GARSON as Stanford Blatch and MARIO CANTONE as Anthony Marentino in New Line Cinema’s comedy “SEX AND THE CITY 2,” a Warner Bros. Pictures release. Photo by Craig Blankenhorn


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