Sex and the City 2
The last time we saw this foursome—Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker), Samantha (Kim Cattrall), Miranda (Cynthia Nixon), and Charlotte (Kristin Davis)—they seemed settled. Carrie finally married Mr. Big (Chris Noth) after their ten-year on-again-off-again love affair. Charlotte finally got her babies. Miranda forgave Steve's infidelity and they mended their marriage. And Samantha realized monogamy, even with her beloved Smith, just wasn't her thing—and that she desperately needed to get her independent self back to NYC. Because of that settled-ness, I was curious about where they'd take us with this next installment in the SATC franchise.
So here we are two years later. Carrie and Big are trying to keep the sparkle in their marriage. Charlotte is elated but utterly exhausted as a mom of two young girls. Miranda is still struggling to balance family and work, now with a new boss who seems to hate her. And Samantha is fighting off menopause with a barrage of pills, creams, and wonder drugs.
For those who have followed these characters for years, these plot lines make perfect sense—and seem like good fodder for the life questions these women grapple with together, while letting us sit in on the discussion. Unfortunately, instead of really wrestling with these issues, the women merely escape them, traveling to Abu Dhabi on a work trip with Samantha. And instead of unfolding the next chapters in these characters' lives, it seems that writer/director Michael Patrick King and company are more intent on one-upping the last movie.
In the first SATC movie, we had Carrie and Big's (almost) New York Public Library wedding. In SATC2, we get Stanford and Anthony's Big Fat Gay Wedding, complete with Liza Minnelli officiating the ceremony and singing a rousing but rather uncomfortable version of "All the Single Ladies." The first movie had the girls traveling to Mexico together for Carrie's un-honeymoon. Here they travel to Abu Dhabi on Samantha's work trip for an opulent, all-expenses-paid, exotic getaway. The first movie had mini fashion shows of Carrie's wedding dress magazine photo shoot and nostalgic cleaning out of her closet with the girls. Now we have over-the-top desert chic. And instead of just celebrating the power of female friendship, which the first movie did rather endearingly, SATC2 celebrates the "power" of womankind (more on that "power" later), complete with Samantha flipping off some Muslim clerics.
Those who simply want a fun chick flick will likely be fine with all this. Consider it an estrogen-rich two-hour escape for you and your girlfriends. But for those of us who appreciated the TV series' and the first movie's ability to transcend the fashion and sex and touch on the deeper issues of culture and womanhood and relationships, this SATC installment is a disappointment. It's like sitting down to dinner with an old friend only to have her start singing show tunes or staging a fashion show of all her best ensembles. All while you're thinking, Please just calm down so we can settle into some rich conversation already!