Looking back at the archives from my review of 2008’s Sex and the City film, I came across this sentence: “the fact of the matter is that this review doesn’t matter.” Not exactly a ringing endorsement for my writing, but it’s still how I feel about this series. I bent over backwards to be fair to the first film, but the goodwill ends here. Sex and the City 2 is a significant downgrade to an already-questionable film. Diehard fans (accent diehard) will still find some material to enjoy, but for the rest of us this is a long, boring, unfunny, and surprisingly distasteful slog.
Coming up with a coherent plot synopsis is an exercise in futility. The film opens with the marriage of longtime characters Stanford (Willie Garson) and Anthony (Mario Cantone). It’s the first half-hour of the film and you could get plastered on cough medicine if you took a shot for each time a character says “gay marriage.” At the reception Samantha (Cattrall) scores an all-expense paid trip to Abu Dhabi, and says she won’t go unless all of her girls can. Carrie (Parker) is having relationship problems with Mr. Big (Noth), Charlotte (Davis) can’t take her screaming kids much longer (even though she has a full-time nanny), and Miranda is struggling with her professional life. Despite the flaky problems, they all make the trip, which mainly consists of mocking Arab laws and values.
Clocking in at nearly two-and-a-half hours and containing nothing resembling narrative cohesion, Sex and the City 2 is an endurance test of the highest order. While the women have always been rich and spoiled to an extent, the show always kept one foot in reality. That’s not the case here, as apparently we’re supposed to identify with Carrie when she chews out Big for buying her a flat screen TV instead of jewelry as an anniversary gift and the motivation behind the climactic chase sequence is not having to ride home in coach. Perhaps it’s the times, but by now the women just come off as spoiled, angry shrews that I can’t imagine anyone wanting to talk to, let alone be friends with.
The overacting on display does add some entertainment. It’s easy to pick on the women for being too old for this stuff at this point, but the caricature acting (especially by Davis) is as annoying as the DOA sexual puns. Since this is an obvious money grab, the acting is reflective of it. Strangely enough, a cameo by Alice Eve as the bra-less nanny garners about as many laughs as everything else, and it at least gives the guy something to look at.
At this point it’s virtually impossible to escape the cruel irony that Sex and the City, the show, ended when it did so that it wouldn’t become what this movie is. It’s a shallow, heartless cash-in that, given the original show’s quality, should be looked down upon by just about everyone except those who ask for nothing more than a movie with characters named Carrie, Charlote, Miranda, and Samantha. They are hollow parodies of what they once were, and hopefully this disastrous sequel marks the end once and for all.
Studio: New Line Cinema
Length: 146 Minutes
Rating: R for some strong sexual content and language.
Theatrical Release: May 28, 2010
Directed by: Michael Patrick King
Written by: Michael Patrick King. Based upon the characters from the book and the TV series created by Candace Bushnell & Darren Star.
Cast: Sarah Jessica Parker, Kristin Davis, Cynthia Nixon, Kim Cattrall, Chris Noth