Although I didn’t watch the television show, “Sex and the City,” I did see the original movie. It was obviously intended for a female audience but it was also fun and spirited. Unfortunately, the sequel is a disappointment as the spirit that these girls previously embodied is replaced with a more serious tone, and a clichéd and boring storyline.
The movie starts off with Carrie Bradshaw (played by Sarah Jessica Parker) reflecting on her long-term friendship with her three best friends (Charlotte, Miranda and Samantha). The four of them all arrive at a gay wedding of a friend of theirs. The wedding is flamboyant and over-the-top but does not seem to mean much to the married couple. One of the “brooms” informs the girls that his partner is free to cheat on him in the marriage. The person overseeing the ceremony is Liza Minnelli as herself. Liza goes on to deliver a fun, fluffy and entertaining musical performance. This, though, is the film’s highlight.
The story then goes on to focus on the lives of the four best friends in New York. Carrie is having difficulties in her marriage with Mr. Big (Chris Noth), who has settled into a routine of ordering in food and watching a lot of television, even when his wife’s talking to him. Charlotte (Kristin Davis) is raising her children with the help of a babysitter, but she starts getting nervous that her husband might be attracted to the nanny. Miranda (Cynthia Nixon) faces work difficulties and feels like her boss does not like or appreciate her. The over-sexualized Samantha (Kim Cattrall) is getting older and ferociously trying to prevent aging from occurring.
If these stories seem clichéd and boring, it’s because they are. For a show that was known for being fresh and new, the story-lines here are tired and old; done many times before.
After roughly half of the movie is over, the film takes off in another direction entirely. Samantha is invited on a trip to what is referred to as the “New Middle East” and she brings her three friends with her. The movie then focuses on four women who are known for their superficial lifestyles trying to fit in into a foreign land. Fortunately for the ladies, some of the women in this foreign land are just like them: obsessed with fashion, as we will find out later.
The plot spends a lot of time in Abu Dhabi where things get politically incorrect (for more on that aspect of the film, click here). Also, just to serve the storyline, thousands of miles from home Carrie improbably meets up with an old boyfriend (one obvious coincidence in a film full of them).
Ultimately, there were a few good moments and lines that made me chuckle. However, the vast majority of what passed for jokes are pretty awful. Also, even though she’s given little to work with, Cynthia Nixon does a fine job elevating her material in a way the others do not.
There are also a lot of awkward story-lines that quickly fizzled out. A bad review for Carrie’s new book; a couple questioning Carrie and Big’s decision not to have children; Miranda’s problems at work…. These subplots each gets no more than a couple of minutes air time and therefore are never fully realized or developed.
Admittedly, I’m not the primary audience for “Sex and the City 2.” Fans of the show may love this sequel and ask for a third one. (Gosh, I hope not.) However, for me, this was a disappointment that took the fun out of a group of girls who were previously known for it.