Has there ever been a film for which a review is as pointless as it is for Sex and the City 2? The audience is ready made and will see it no matter what while those not interested will stay away so really this is an exercise in futility. Still, here we go.
After coming to his senses at the end of the first film, Big (Noth) married Carrie (SJP) and they’re now living in a catalogue – sorry, a homely home – in New York, downstairs from the apartment he bought (you know, the one with the really big walk-in wardrobe). This one has an even bigger and better walk-in wardrobe (something evinced by the audible gasp from the audience when the door was opened on it at the screening I attended. I know I’m not exactly the target market but this did give me my biggest laugh of the night – the gasp, not the wardrobe) and loads of beautiful furniture. But now, all Big wants to do is sit on the couch and watch old black-and-white movies. Carrie is a bit upset.
Meanwhile, lawyer Miranda (Nixon) has a new boss who doesn’t listen to her, Charlotte (Davis) is struggling with her two young children, one of whom cries (imagine that, a child who cries!) and PR Samantha (Cattrall) hasn’t changed except for taking more vitamin pills a day than there are actual vitamins. Then, for some spurious reason, Samantha gets invited to Abu Dhabi, but will only go if she can take her gal pals. Squee! So off they trot to the sand, and … that’s pretty much all you get on the plot front.
I was never a massive follower of the TV series, but when I did catch it I was always pleasantly surprised at how intelligent and insightful it was. And funny at times, even for a bloke. Sex and the City 2 is none of these things. What SATC has now become is a brand, a franchise, a lifestyle. It’s dressing up in posh frocks, sipping Cosmopolitans and being sassy (whatever the hell that means, I still haven’t ever been given a satisfactory definition, least of all by people who use the word). And as a brand it is hugely successful, there’s no denying that. Unfortunately, it has taken over the content and so instead of being sharp, witty and memorable it’s become childish, dull and forgettable.
The lack of plot doesn’t help – and when Carrie losing her passport is the dramatic high point of the film, there has to be something wrong. It’s also very slow moving – even the dialogue drags – and it’s far, far too long. And this is one of the main problems – what was perfect for TV simply doesn’t translate to the feature-length format. There aren’t even enough decent jokes for a 22-minute sitcom episode (I think I laughed twice), let alone nearly two-and-a-half hours, and when it’s not plain dreadful (“There’s loads to do in Abu Dhabi! Abu Dhabi-doo!”), it’s a dog dry humping a cushion or Samantha moisturising her mimsy.
What we’re left with is a holiday brochure and a fashion parade, which I’m sure will satisfy some viewers but is it really escapism? Maybe, but it certainly isn’t a proper film. It’s also pretty obnoxious in its portrayal of Muslim culture, but it’s only Samantha and she’s wonderful so it doesn’t matter, right? Before I leave you to go and see it (or not), I should also mention the appearance of Liza Minnelli at a gay wedding (the point of which is zero other than to camp things up). She looks incredible, and not in a good way – like a puppet on the strings of a demented puppeteer. It also looks like her face is being held together only by the makeup she has on. And finally, I wouldn’t be doing my duty as a man without mentioning Alice Eve as Charlotte’s bra-averse nanny. Gents, it’s not worth sitting through the whole thing for – but by golly, it comes close.