I have to hand it to the first Sex and the City movie; I didn't much care for it but at least it felt connected to the series. In Michael Patrick King's dreadful sequel that's all about the Benjamins a woman can spend at Bergdorf Goodman's, there's nothing even the slightest bit reminiscent to the award-winning, critically acclaimed six seasons of the series that has touched the lives of so many women and men around the globe.
As King reveals in the WB production notes for the film, since women made the previous film an “event movie,” he decided to make the sequel an even bigger event that he likens to a party and it is very much a party on Ecstasy, for lack of a better cliché.
Equal parts Studio 54 – complete with a cameo by Liza Minnelli who proves she can still shake her moneymaker to Beyonce no less – and Lawrence of Arabia, as the women accompany Samantha on her PR destination to a top-of-the-line vacation resort with comped $22,000 a night rooms, the movie plays like it's the love-gone-strange child of David Lean and Liberace.
To put it another way, female sexual empowerment equals Abu Dhabi like Carrie Bradshaw equals Costco so it's tres bizarre (not tres chic) to see the quartet of New Yorkers travel 6,500 miles from the Big Apple to a land where the women are veiled, regardless of how much couture they're hiding underneath their traditional garments.
And while it foolishly attempts to be PC about the “New Middle East,” once Samantha proves that she's incapable of being anything but the same seductress with an insatiable appetite for sex and runs afoul of the law, the film quickly devolves into a rather ugly portrayal of the Muslim culture as no middle finger is spared until she can go back to getting down in public in the land of the free... where nobody seems to point out, it's still illegal to shag in the open.
Riddled with cliches about married life, the women all face their own challenges in the sequel but aside from the troubles Charlotte endures while juggling a child suffering from a very terrible case of the terrible twos and insecurity about her braless Irish nanny (Alice Eve), everything is superficial and as half-baked as the boxes of takeout that Carrie is tired of eating at home with Big (gasp) two nights a week!
While the women were always driven by the almighty search for the right accessory, seen in the light of the recession, everything experienced seems like an unrelatable fantasy so over-the-top ridiculous that instead of making the film feel like a fond revisit to a series we cherished, instead this parade of gluttony will not only cause involuntary eye-rolls but also make you feel a bit bad for having stuck with Carrie and her ahem “girls” this long.
Filled with out-of-character decisions as sex and romance nonfiction author Carrie nearly has a nervous breakdown over a kiss with her ex and Miranda finally stands up to a chauvinistic boss (off camera!) and tacky excess, it's like they took all of the fashion shoots from the first movie and decided to just run with it for the length of two hours and twenty-six minutes.
While there's no stopping the box office power this baby will definitely have at least until the Cosmos wear off, it's time for Carrie Bradshaw to take down the disco ball, do the walk of shame home and call the whole thing off before the films begin damaging the legacy of the intelligent series that placed female strength over female karaoke.
Text ©2010, Film Intuition, LLC; All Rights Reserved. http://www.filmintuition.com Unauthorized Reproduction or Publication Elsewhere is Strictly Prohibited and in violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
FTC Disclosure: Per standard professional practice, I attended a free press screening of this title in order to evaluate it for my readers, which had no impact whatsoever on whether or not it received a favorable or unfavorable critique (as you can see).