Sex and the City 2 appears to be exactly what women everywhere have been wanting for the past two years. After all, aren’t we all itching to know what Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte, and Miranda have been up to since the first film in the summer of 2008? Those with unbridled love for these four New York women won’t be disappointed, but if you are looking for a truly engaging plot or something that might surprise you, this sequel lacks the sparkle and wit of the original.
The film opens in typical fashion with the always-couture Carrie Bradshaw, played by Sarah Jessica Parker, in yet another stunning ensemble as she meets her three best girlfriends for a midday shopping excursion. We learn that they are wedding shopping for the Carrie’s gay best friend Stanford and Charlotte’s bff Anthony. We expect anything involving these four ladies to be lavish but this wedding is a spectacle beyond belief. From the ballad-singing choir and delicate white swans to Liza Minnelli-turned-minister, this movie could not have gotten any gayer if there were bedazzled drag queens in a Dolly Parton look-alike contest.
We soon realize that Carrie and Mr. Big (Chris Noth) do not have the perfect storybook marriage they had hoped for, but who really could have expected that after he dumped her at the altar in movie 1? But that’s neither here nor there. Carrie misses her party girl days of late dinners and film premiers while Big is content to spend his time in bed with the flat screen. When Samantha (Kim Catrall) offers the girls an all expenses paid trip to Abu Dhabi, it seems like the vacation that they all need, Carrie from her marriage, Charlotte from her kids, and Miranda from her chauvinist boss. Unfortunately, the minute the ladies leave the Big Apple, all of the magic stays behind.
Their Middle Easter holiday is nothing but a big fat cliché, but hey, at least the outfits match. We have come to expect fabulous fashion from Sex and the City and the wardrobe team certainly holds up their end of the bargain. From sunbathing by the hotel pool and visiting the town market to riding camels through the dessert, these girls know how to pick a look for the occasion.
In true Sex and the City tradition, each woman has her own unique coming-of-age moment. Charlotte (Kristin Davis) never wanted anything more than to be a mother, but realizes with her second child Rose that motherhood can have its downsides. Charlotte tries to put on a happy face, but in a charming scene with Miranda (Cynthia Nixon), the two share their horror stories of mommy hood over a few rounds of the signature cosmopolitan. Samantha sets out to single-handedly change the way women are viewed in the Middle East as she struts about, scantily-clad not to mention, after Rikard, a Danish architect and the object of her affections for this vacation at least. Ever the leading lady, Carrie experiences the greatest conflict as she shares a kiss with old flame Aiden and then proceeds to tell Big to clear her conscience.
Of course we end get a happy ending with Big forgiving Carrie’s indiscretion and giving the bedroom plasma screen the boot, Miranda quitting her high profile job in favor of a smaller firm that appreciates her, Charlotte realizing how much she loves her family, and Samantha—well Samantha being Samantha.
We do exactly what we wanted, a chance to catch up with four of our favorite girls. But as Sarah Jessica Parker once stated, “New York City is the fifth lady in our story.” Therefore, with Abu Dhabi as the primary setting, we lose a very special character, which somehow cheapens the entire experience. After all, what are we left with when Sex and the City loses “and the City”?