The Flick Chicks

Judy Thorburn's Movie Reviews

Sex and the City 2

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Sex and the City 2

Take New York City out of Sex and the City and it just isn't the same. The Big Apple wasn't just the setting for the immensely popular,  iconic TV series and its initial big screen follow up.  New York is THE city of the title, and has always been a major factor, appearing as a character all its own, drawing in millions of avid fans. For Sex and the City 2, New York makes a cameo appearance before the four best gal pals and their storyline is quickly moved to the Middle East, a major mistake from the get go.

But, let me begin at the beginning. The new movie opens on an entertaining note two years after we left off, at the Connecticut gay wedding of Carrie's friends, Sanford (Willie Garson) and Anthony (Mario Cantone) that features   Liza Minelli (her aging face has turned weird but she still has great legs) backed by lookalike singer/dancers performing a cover of  Beyonce's Single Ladies. The gays at my screening were having a field day!

The story then quickly shifts to each of the gal pals who are having some sort of mid life crisis. Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker) though going on her second year of marriage to Big, aka John Preston (Chris Noth) is in a funk. She is nervous about the release of her latest book titled I Do, Do I?, a memoir on her first year of married life. Big, the adoring husband, prefers to stay at home, watch TV and old movies on the couch, while she prefers to go out to restaurant and parties. Though living in a spectacular, very expensive apartment with the man of her dreams and all the luxuries she could ever ask for, all is not well for Carrie on the home front.

Lawyer Miranda (Cynthia Nixon) hates being treated poorly by her boss, so she quits her job. Charlotte(Kristin Davis), a stay at home mom with two small daughters, one that cries incessantly, is having a meltdown over the stresses of motherhood as well as the attention given to  her  blonde, buxom and braless nanny (Alice Eve, star of the recent She's Out of My League).  And sex crazed Samantha (Kim Cattrall) obsessed with staying young, is a fan of Suzanne Somers anti aging diet book (talk about product placement!) and addicted to hormone cremes and pills to ward off the effects of menopause.

A chance to get away from it all comes when Samantha is offered an all expense paid trip to Abu Dabhi (but actually filmed in Morocco) and she arranges for her friends to come along. Everything about their trip is extravagant. Each of the girls get their own limousine to the palace, their own personal butler/valet, luxurious accommodations, and much more, none of which the average movie goer can relate to. In fact everything is so over the top, ridiculous, and unbelievable including the totally contrived appearance of Carrie's former fiance Aidan (John Corbett) whom she happens to bump into at a spice market. Needless to say, the flirtatious encounter leads to dinner and a regrettable kiss which adds additional conflict to Carrie's marital dilemma. Another plot device finds the liberated American women in a rather uncomfortable situation as a result of a run in with sexist male Muslim fundamentalists.

Even the fashions, which are usually eye popping gorgeous are, indeed, colorful, but for the most part ugly. Let me add there is no way these girls would be dressed in high fashion and spike heals, no less, while riding a camel in the desert. It is reported that Oscar-nominated costume designer Patricia Field worked with a budget of $10 million and yet these gaudy  monstrosities was the best she could come up with?  If that isn't bad enough, the  mix of bad lighting and horrendous makeup are not very complimentary, to say the least, for the fortysomething Sarah Jessica Parker and Kim Cattrall who is in her 50's. In unattractive closeups, Parker never looked more witch-like, and Cattrell's pasty white makeup has her looking like a ghostly clown, and an aging one at that.  You would think  that Parker, as the film's producer, would have made sure she was shown in the best of light. Go figure.  In any case, the men look downright hot and sexy.  Chris Noth and John Corbett are female eye candy.  And I would have liked to have seen more of Samantha's latest conquest played by gorgeous hunk, English actor Max Ryan who gets very little screen time. What a shame and a lost chance to really pump up Sex and the City's sex appeal.

Need I go on?   Might I add, all the great elements of Sex and The City that attracted me to the series is missing.  The clever banter between the female best buds is gone as is the racy double entendres, only to be replaced by awful puns and vulgarity that is more embarrassing than funny.  There is one good scene with Miranda and Charlotte having a heartfelt conversation about how hard it is to be a mother, but it isn't enough to save the film from being a major disappointment.

At a running time of 146 minutes, Sex and The City 2 is way too long. I found myself fidgeting in my seat waiting for it to be over. Writer/director Michael Patrick King needs to go back to the drawing board and come up with a more interesting and enjoyable storyline, if there are plans for yet another installment. Most importantly he has got to keep New York in the scenario. As the song goes, if you can't make it there, you can't make it anywhere. Enough said.

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