Sex And The City 2

Sex And The City 2


Reviewed by: Paul A J Hamilton

Well, the first film was terrible, but I'm nothing if not open-minded. Maybe the sequel can be the franchise's Wrath Of Khan. After all, it's got Kim Cattrall in it, and she's basically the same as Kirstie Alley, right?

Alas, Sex And The City 2 is as bad as I feared, and worse. Michael Patrick King writes and directs this inevitable return to the trough, having learned nothing from his initial foray two years ago. All the faults of the first movie are present and correct, only this time there's even less content to distract from them.

Copy picture

It's two years on from the events of the first movie, although you wouldn't know it from looking at the characters, who have not developed in any way. Carrie is still, according to the screenwriter, "the indefinable one". When the man charged with bringing life to our main protagonist has nothing to say about her, that's your first warning. Apart from her, we still have The Brunette One, The Redhead Workaholic and The Slutty Blonde One, after the first movie, I considered her as The Blonde One Who Has Sex A Lot, but now she's lost even the subtlety and nuance of personality that such a delicate phrase would imply.

Outwith the four heroines' self-absorbed bubbles of overprivileged Manhattanite ennui, time is clearly moving on, since the two gay characters from the series are having a big gay wedding. Everyone, including Carrie, refers to it as a big gay wedding for ten solid minutes before Carrie decides to shout at dream husband Mr Big for calling it a gay wedding. Meanwhile, after two years of wedded bliss, Big admits that he'd like to watch television sometimes. Also, occasionally he buys her a present that isn't jewellery. As a result, according to Carrie, the marriage is over.

Distraction occurs when The Slutty Blonde One is invited to Abu Dhabi on a business trip, and drags the girls along. We're now an hour into the film, and this is where the plot starts. Rolling desert vistas ensue, of the kind that were better photographed in the more lacklustre 1970s Bond films. It will be another 30 minutes before the social commentary kicks in, when our protagonists realise that - gasp - some women in the Middle East wear veils according to local custom. Since the first film evidently created a feminist utopia in the Western Hemisphere, Michael Patrick King now sets his sights on fixing the rest of the world. Fortunately for him, his arrogance is matched by his characters, who take on the job. Frustrated by the lack of free love in countries other than hers, The Slutty Blonde One stands in the marketplace throwing condoms at the locals and screeching, "I AM A WOMAN! I HAVE SEX!"

The rest of the script is pretty redundant. Those seven words encapsulate everything that Kim Cattrall was permitted to work with for the entire film.

Our girls are forced to wear burqas to escape from a crowd of rioting men. This is supposed to be funny. Drama is shoehorned in there by the assertion that our heroines must get to the airport in time or they won't be allowed to fly in first class. Meanwhile, feminist emancipation erupts in the Middle East, when it's revealed that the women who lend them the burqas are wearing Christian Dior's spring collection underneath. This is a real thing that actually happens in real life. Michael Patrick King must have read about it somewhere and decided that he could extrude an entire two-and-a-half-hour screenplay from this single fact. The moral is supposed to be that, underneath the cultural trappings, women are women all over the world. Sadly, what the film actually says is that, underneath the cultural trappings, women all over the world are just as shallow, vapid, superficial, and vacuous as Carrie and her three two-dimensional harpies.

Over the course of this interminable 146-minute ululation, fans of the series are thrown a couple of frickin bones. In particular, Liza Minnelli shows up to officiate the big gay wedding at the beginning, and then performs an audience-pleasing cover of Beyoncé's All The Single Ladies. And some of the scenes of the girls enjoying themselves in decadent Arabia might be watchable for anyone who still has any residual fondness for the characters that wasn't destroyed by the first movie. These bits are five minutes long in total and probably available on YouTube. It's not worth spending three hours wading through the mire for the occasional moment of weak humour.

However, we are treated to at least 30 minutes of a subplot involving The Slutty Blonde One, who celebrated her 50th birthday at the end of the last film and is now, we are reminded, in her fifties. I now know more than any human person should ever know about Samantha's quinquagenarian vadge and the 46 hormone supplements she uses to keep it moist. I'm off now to kill my brain with beer.

On the other hand, the soundtrack is pretty good. That is to say, it's pretty good if you like that sort of thing. Which, um, I don't obviously. Well, it would have been good in about 1998. And tellingly, one of the best songs plays over the end credits, my enjoyment of which may have been influenced by the relief that the film was finally over.

Half a star for the soundtrack alone.

Reviewed on: 06 Jun 2010
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The four friends face life's crises and head for Abu Dhabi.
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Director: Michael Patrick King

Writer: Michael Patrick King, Candace Bushnell, Darren Star

Starring: Sarah Jessica Parker, Kristin Davis, Cynthia Nixon, Kim Cattrall, Minglie Chen, Chris Noth, David Eigenberg, Evan Handler, Alexandra Fong, Parker Fong, Mario Cantone, Willie Garson, Noah Mills, Liza Minnelli, Billy Stritch

Year: 2010

Runtime: 146 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: US


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