The sequel to Sex and the City on the silver screen excels past the first film, unfortunately that film was a big steaming pile of awfulness, and while this films first act starts off on a fairly right foot it crumbles in it’s final after laboring and dragging through the middle.
The film picks up two years after the last film and all the ladies are in ultimately the same position as they were when we last left. All the marriages are still intact, kids are growing up, and the fashion is still a focal point. Though, a tiring marriage for Carrie, approaching menopause for Samantha, the terrible twos for Charlotte’s kid, and a job problem for Samantha all push them towards an all girl trip to Abu Dhabi that disconnects them from their problems and eliminates almost any chance of something interesting happen.
Now, Sex and the City is a fantasy world, I hope people are aware of this right. The Sex and the City films fit perfectly into the summer season because they are huge blockbuster fantasy films designed with women in mind. From the exuberant clothes, the extravagant trips, and (at least in the film versions) almost a complete shield from the consequences of their actions, Carrie in particular, and this film takes things even further than the last. 90% of the fans, maybe even higher, of this show and film will never be able to touch the lifestyle on display and it scares me that some people idolize these women lives. I am not telling someone not to strive and dream to be the most they can be, but it is a fantasy world these films exist in.
In fact, I think Michael Patrick King even tries to smack some sense into overzealous audience with a scene early in the film with a fan of Carrie that approaches her at a wedding and says that she is her. Carrie kind of shocks the woman when she quickly finds out that they are not the same and are in fact quite different in their aspirations as a woman. The scene mainly serves as a set up to the drama that plays out between Carrie and Big throughout the film, but I can’t help but imagine that King isn’t kind of telling people to blaze their own path and don’t aspire to be this character that is full of fantasy.
The film works early on when in New York, catching the same rhythm the show had and while not doing anything terribly new for the series the nostalgia was at least capturing some of what made the show work. It is when things get to Abu Dhabi that things start to come apart. At first it kind of just wallows while it tries to find a plot there but by taking the woman half way around the world the filmmakers neuter the film’s chances of creating any possible compelling or interesting moments surrounding their dramas. The film does a decent job of setting up some interesting issues for these four ladies but how are you supposed to address these issues if you remove them from everything that affects it? The film instead becomes a gaudy showcase of a life few will be able to ever live and takes these characters nowhere further in their lives.
Instead the film throws a contrived encounter with Carrie’s old flame and the drama surrounding it feels forced and there only for the sake of drama. The other appalling aspect of these scenes is the complete disrespect and FU attitude towards the Muslim faith. I mean, they are desecrating a religion in a search for jokes and when it all finally comes to a head it is ridiculously awful and probably offensive. Throw in an even worse girl power karaoke scene and a couple of silly moments involving their escape from Abu Dhabi and things just come crashing down.
In the end, Sex and the City 2 manages not to take itself nearly as seriously as its predecessor, for the better, but fails to really add anything to any of these characters stories. It feels like a long and dragged out greatest hits of the show and never captures the shows pathos or sense of humor. All the actresses deliver better work than the last film but don’t get to ever showcase any of their acting abilities. I am sure the women will eat it up again but I can’t imagine they will be capable of really defending it to be all that meaningful of a film or as a contributing piece to the shows cannon.
Sex and the City 2 is a D+