Director: Michael Patrick King
Cast: Sarah Jessica Parker, Kristin Davis, Cynthia Nixon, Kim Cattrall
Seeing a film alone is never a good sign, especially a film about celebrating one of the greatest friendship groups in popular culture, but I was more than happy to be in the company of my good friends Carrie, Charlotte, Miranda and Samantha again, on the big screen. After the seemingly conclusive happy-ever-after of the first film, I was excited to be see everyone's favourite quartet deal with marriage, babies and growing older. But within 10 minutes, I felt that I, like millions of other women, had been outgrown as a friend, ousted unceremoniously from the girls' circle and replaced with a shallow desire to take my money instead.
The title sequence effectively sets the tone for the rest of the film; glitzy, glamourous, and without any obvious soul. Once more, Michael Patrick King has attempted to drag an episode format into an overlong feature. It had a certain success in the first film. But where that had a clearly defined story arc, this relies on one-liners (most of which were in the trailers), and a rapid assortment of potential plots thrown in to punctuate Carrie's life, which are then randomly discarded. Considering a large portion of the Abu Dhabi sequence was the girls singing 'I Am Woman' in a karaoke bar, the decision to discard any storylines about female empowerment is hard to fathom - why exactly did Miranda choose to leave her dream career after years of hard work?
But I forget, the first film was the serious one. This one is just an entertaining romp for a group of pre-menopausal women to help them forget their troubles. And it's here, on the romp taking place on the other side of the world in a luxury hotel, that the film verges from the cliched to the crass, and the screenplay really hits the skids. The girls are quite literally on the offensive, crushing the Middle Eastern culture beneath their giant carbon footprint as they drive around in huge limos, claiming Louboutins on the hotel expenses, and debating wearing a Halston turban as a mark of respect.
Combined with a truly ridiculous scene where the girls all don burkas to slip unnoticed through the Souk - better reserved for some dodgy Steve Martin film - the visit to Abu Dhabi is just an excuse for the film's team, particularly Patricia Field and her credit-crunch defying staff, to rub decadence in the face of the real world.
There are flashes of potential brilliance before the sequinned, over-accesorised burka is drawn back across any sensitivity the film pretended to possess. But I lost any sympathy I had for Carrie when I saw her complaining about her married life while changing couture gowns to walk around her 22,000 dollars-a-night hotel room. And don't get me started on the stereotypical Irish bra-less nanny (played by Alice Eve, the actress I felt most sorry for). Do the writers think die-hard fans will be won over by pointless celebrity cameos? (Liza Minelli? Dancing to Beyonce? Please.)
Distractions aside, these ladies no longer understand, or fit into, the real world. Sex and the City 2 is nothing more than a two hour gimmick.
Perfectly summed up by Samantha flailing around in the Abu Dhabi souk to pick up her condoms in front of holy elders. Whatever happened to ageing gracefully? Clearly I'll just have to wait to find out.