Perhaps not being female or not being privy to the original HBO series seriously limits one’s ability to appreciate the adaptations of Sex and the City. Regardless, this critic came away feeling the same about the sequel as I did about the original screen version. This installment is set a couple of years after the end of their first adventure, and again revolves around the camaraderie, carnality and conspicuous consumption of the shallowest quartet of spoiled, matronly New Yorkers you ever could hope to meet.
The story is narrated by Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker) whose marriage to John James Preston (Chris Noth), aka Mr. Big, brought down the curtain on the previous episode. This time, the fun starts at the same-sex wedding of her relatively-elegant pal Stanford (Willie Garson) to a flamboyant queen (Mario Cantone) who crudely announces at the reception that he plans to cheat on his spouse.
Carrie’s three BFFs (Best Friends Forever) are also on hand, and we are soon treated to updates about the state of each of their lives. Despite being kept in the lap of luxury by her wealthy hubby, Carrie’s already jaded abut the state of their no longer exciting relationship. Meanwhile, high-powered attorney Miranda (Cynthia Nixon) is miserable at the law firm due to her chauvinist boss, and stay-at-home mom Charlotte (Kristin Davis) is being driven crazy by her two young daughters, despite having plenty of help from a live-in nanny (Alice Eve). And slutty Samantha has found the Fountain of Youth thanks to a daily regimen of vitamins and hormone therapies which enable the shameless cougar to continue to seduce a steady stream of younger men.
The scatterplot finally coalesces when Samantha’s PR work calls for her to fly to Abu Dhabi, an assignment she accepts only on the condition that her client (Art Malik) extends the “all expenses paid” invite to her girlfriends, too. By the time the filthy-rich oil sheik agrees, Miranda has quit her job, Charlotte has caught her husband flirting with the babysitter, and Carrie has temporarily moved back into her bachelorette pad, developments which conveniently serve to grease the skids for a girls-only overseas getaway.
Upon their arrival in the decadent, jet-set playground, the four find themselves limo’d to the penthouse in the exclusive Sahara Hotel where they are pampered by a bevy of deferential butlers. At this juncture, the movie morphs into a tasteless celebration of Western hedonism during which our heroines defiantly indulging themselves in activities almost deliberately intended to shock and offend the sensibilities of their Middle Eastern hosts. Let’s see, Samantha gets arrested for having sex on the beach, Carrie shares a kiss with an ex-boyfriend (John Corbett), and they all shop ‘til they drop in skimpy outfits while cattily belittling the modesty of the local females hidden under headscarves, veils and heat-seeking burkas.
A 2½ hour test of patience featuring four embarrassingly-entitled Ugly Americans agonizing over trivia and assorted soap opera drama that is, quite frankly, so patently superficial, you almost wish they’d be cursed with some real problems.
Fair (1 star)
Rated R for profanity, partial nudity and graphic sexuality.
Running time: 146 Minutes
Distributor: New Line Cinema
To see a trailer for Sex and the City 2, visit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X5-aOpznm44