Thursday, May 27, 2010
Review: "Sex and the City 2"
"Sex and the City 2" stumbles right out of the gate, teetering on too-tall heels with a title that, in addition to being unimaginative, can't even boast accuracy: The gals don't spend much time at all in New York City, hotfooting it instead to the desert for an Arabian adventure.
I guess "Sex and Another City" doesn't have quite the same ring.
There are some fun moments as Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte and Miranda traipse around Abu Dhabi, buying up cheap shoes at the bazaars and setting turbans on fire with their brazen flouting of Islamic codes of conduct. And it's nice to see Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, Kristin Davis and Cynthia Nixon, respectively, back in the familiar roles that they've come to wear with tailored precision.
But the sequel to the movie version of the beloved television series just doesn't have the fresh zing of two years ago. It feels like ... well, old clothes: Put on in a rush for comfort and convenience, rather than carefully pressed and matched to make an impression.
The ladies still look fabulous, but the script is stuck in the spin cycle.
Matching real time, two years have passed since expert single gal Carrie finally tied the knot with dream man Mr. Big (Chris Noth).
They're still madly in love, but the passing of time and fear of turning into a couple of dull old marrieds has Carrie fretting. Her nerves jump into high gear when she gives him a vintage Rolex for their anniversary, and his gift is ... a flatscreen in the bedroom.
At least there's another massively over-the-top wedding to kick off the party: This time it's the knotting of gay gal pals Stanford and Anthony in glam-tastic festivities that include Liza Minnelli reprising Beyonce's "All the Single Ladies," right down to the strutting dance moves.
It's so wrong, it feels kinda right.
Charlotte is frustrated with raising two high-maintenance daughters, and her new braless wonder of a nanny raises worries about a potential affair with her hubby Harry. Miranda's got her own domestic pressures, plus a new boss at work who makes her want to quit.
Samantha thinks she has the solution to their "mid-wife crisis" in an all-expenses-paid trip to Abu Dhabi, shining jewel of the "New Middle East," at the behest of a rich sheik. Things go well at first, with camel rides and a foursome of handsome butlers to wait on them hand and foot.
But then Carrie runs into an old flame, and Samantha's hot flashes -- her menopause-defying drugs were confiscated at customs -- threaten to overheat the natives.
Writer/director Michael Patrick King ladles on plenty of what "Sex" fans want: Bitchy dialogue, loads of hot young studs improbably slavering for women twice their age, and high-fashion clothes by the metric ton.
The cast and crew can't be blamed, but the characters' obsession with fashion and status quickly wears thin given our lean economy. King's camera lingers over Maybach limos, black diamond rings and opulent furniture with a voyeurism that, in a time of foreclosures and recession gardens, borders on pornographic.
I think what's missing most from "Sex and the City 2" is the Big Apple itself. The TV show had great characters, but was also quintessentially New York in its high-wire vibe. Taking the act on the road drains it of a primary flavor.
There's still a good time to be had hanging out with these city girls. But if there's a third date, let's make it Manhattan.
2.5 stars out of four