Movie Review: Sex and the City 2
Rating: R (language, some strong sexual content)
Length: 146 minutes
Release Date: May 27, 2010
Directed by: Michael Patrick King
Stars: 2 out of 5
The landmark television show "Sex and the City" was like nothing else on television when it first aired in the 1990s. It became insanely popular and went out on its own terms, with several of the main characters hanging up their bachelorette statuses to settle into domestic bliss. In the first movie based on the show, also called "Sex and the City," one girl was left at the altar and the others had big relationship troubles. It was a huge hit, so it shouldn't come as a surprise that writer and producer Michael Patrick King serves up more of the same relationship problems in "Sex and the City 2."
The film starts off with all the ladies seemingly happy in their new domestic lives. Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker) is still in the newlywed phase of her marriage to Big (Chris Noth); Miranda (Cynthia Nixon) has reconciled with husband Steve (David Eigenberg); Charlotte (Kristin Davis) is now the mom of two little girls with husband Harry (Evan Handler); and Samantha (Kim Cattrall) is the only holdout, loving her life as a single woman. Slowly, each character begins to show the cracks they are trying to hide, which leads to several heart-to-heart talks between the ladies, who are now so busy with work and families that they rarely get to see each other.
One day Samantha, who works in public relations, is invited to Abu Dhabi to see if a new client would be a good fit for her business. It is a week-long trip with all expenses paid, and she can bring guests with her. Miranda is free after just quitting her lawyer job because her boss is a misogynist, and she would like a break from her husband and son. Charlotte clearly needs a vacation, since one of her daughters can't seem to stop crying, and the other is going through a mischievous phase. Carrie wants an adventure because her marriage isn't as exciting as she thought it would be, and her husband suggested they live apart two days a week. They decide to book the trip, and everything goes well at first. That is, until Samantha accidentally starts trouble, turning it into a possible international incident with dire consequences. The ladies must work together to get Samantha out of trouble and out of the country in one piece.
Though the lives of the ladies have changed drastically since the end of the TV show, some things, like the fashion, have not. The film had no less than five costume designers working overtime to give the four leads the same posh, stylish magazine look that fans expect. The fashion is one constant in the film because everyone's career and private life are changing. Carrie started out as a newspaper columnist and is now a novelist, Charlotte was a museum curator but is now a stay-at-home mom, and Miranda is now unemployed. Samantha is perhaps the one constant besides the fashion. She tried monogamy in the first film, only to return to her old ways.
The film is a big departure from the television show in other ways besides the careers, not the least of which is that the girls don't spend nearly as much time together. Their innuendo-filled conversations were one of the hallmarks of the television shows, but they only rarely make appearances here. Writer and producer King seems to realize that a series, whether it is on TV or on film, has to evolve and change in order to survive. The "Sex and the City" franchise could not go on if the ladies didn't have big changes in their lives and had ample leisure time to hang out over brunch all the time.
King introduces a lot of those changes but does it in a way that stays true to the characters. Carrie is a good person but succumbs to her selfishness at times, while Charlotte continues to wear her rose-colored glasses, even as her husband pays too much attention to their young, braless nanny. Samantha is facing menopause head-on, using all of the tools at her disposal to hide it instead of embracing it. The result is that even with sweeping changes, the ladies are still themselves, albeit with a lot more on their plates. Therefore, they are still relatable but to a much wider audience. This gives the series new life and ensures that if a third film in the franchise is ever made, it will be a hit with more than just women who watched the original show.