Once again, a Sex and the City feature film feels gruelingly lengthy, unable to smoothly adapt several half-hour episode plotlines into a single movie. This sequel does successfully carry on with the events of four middle-aged women heavily involved in relationships, partying and fashion, maintaining a reasonably faithful feel to the original TV show and to the popular characters. They’ve aged, yet it doesn’t show, and this new set of adventures and marital mishaps are more entertaining than the first film. But ultimately Sex and the City has never focused much on entertaining audiences outside of the target audience, relying more on recruiting viewers through reruns on television than genre-transcending ideas in the theater.
Two years have passed since Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker) finally bagged John “Mr. Big” Preston (Chris Noth), the man she was always meant to be with. Just as her friend Charlotte (Kristin Davis) must deal with her young daughter’s “terrible two’s”, Carrie must deal with her relationship taking a turn for the worse – Big likes to watch old black-and-white movies on TV and eat take-out food, which prevents Carrie from feeling like the free-wheeling, buoyant party girl she used to be. Meanwhile, Miranda (Cynthia Nixon) copes with a new boss that can’t handle an intelligent, powerful woman, and Samantha (Kim Cattrall) works a public relations angle that gets the fashionable foursome an all-expense-paid trip to Abu Dhabi.
The first half starts in reality, focusing on the stresses of children, marriage, jobs and aging, using each main character to demonstrate these life hurdles. The second half departs for the paradise portion of the Middle East, abandoning the real for pure fantasy. The problems with relationships continue, but they’re largely masked by the stunning beauty of Abu Dhabi and its resorts (although none of it was actually filmed there). It’s as if this portion is a publicity stunt for the United Arab Emirates in an attempt to garner a more pleasing outlook on the area. Perhaps some funding went into the film.
This second feature makes use of classic Sex and the City tricks, including the humorous transitions from loud sex to crying babies, slow-motion character introductions, lingering shots of clothing and shoes that audiences can cheer over, and even thinly veiled breasts being doused with water (a more censored version of Samantha’s expected nymphomaniac sex scenes). The rest is purely for the fans, from the karaoke segment to the traveling rugby team to an extravagant gay wedding (complete with swans) to a Danish architect gallivanting through sand dunes. Most of Sex and the City 2 is dialogue and relationship counseling in the form of unaffecting storylines, unconvincingly disguised as a movie. It’s simply too long for one sitting, and unlike the show, nothing too outrageous can occur since viewers have to be put at ease by the conclusion. Just like the first film, it would have worked better as several more episodes for another season of the HBO hit.
– The Massie Twins (GoneWithTheTwins.com)