MOVIE OF THE WEEK #1 (5/27/10) SEX AND THE CITY 2
KEY CAST MEMBERS: Sarah Jessica Parker, Cynthia Nixon, Kristin Davis, Kim Cattrall, Chris Noth, John Corbett, Jason Lewis, David Eigenberg, Evan Handler, Willie Garson, Mario Cantone and a bunch of clothes you probably can't afford!
WRITER: Michael Patrick King with Candace Bushnell (characters) and Darren Star (series creator)
DIRECTOR: Michael Patrick King
WEB SITE: http://www.sexandthecitymovie.com/
THE PLOT: Uh, since I'm still recovering from the hangover of this movie, I think the plot (if this movie has one) goes a little something like this ... Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker) is married to Big (Chris Noth), but married life isn't full of bliss as she imagined as she awaits for the publication of I Do, Do I? her latest book on her first 2 years of being hitched. Samantha (Kim Cattrall) is now in her 50s ... But that doesn't mean she's going to age gracefully - and she's got all the medications to help her fight doing so.
Miranda (Cynthia Nixon) has a boss (Ron White - yes, Ron White!) that doesn't respect her, so that's making it hard on her at work despite her rekindled relationship with Steve (David Eisenberg) ... And Charlotte (Kristin Davis) has two crying children who only seem to respond to their new Irish nanny (Alice Eve). Given her propensity for not wearing a bra, though, Charlotte is worried her husband Harry (Evan Handler) might stray ...
However, once Samantha's old flame Smith Jerrod (Jason Lewis) surfaces, Samantha's ways of getting what she wants do, too - and that results in the fab four taking what they feel is a much-needed trip to Abu Dhabi ... What results is a revelatory trip for all involved.
Especially once Carrie runs into a former flame (John Corbett) when she is least expecting it.
THE TAKE: OK, let's get this out of the way, shall we?  I know I'm not the film's target audience being a heterosexual African American man;  I did watch some of the TV series (including the well done Paris finale) and  I saw the first SATC movie and enjoyed it more than my friend (who shall remain nameless to protect her identity!) did and last but certainly not least. Also,  a man wrote and directed this movie (Michael Patrick King). Now, with all that out of the way, if you want to simply believe that this movie is going to make for a fun girl's night out, will be great regardless of what I say and/or I have no clue what I am talking about, stop here.
Seriously, this is your last chance to turn back.
OK, I'm only going to warn you one last time ...
Still going to keep reading? OK, you asked for it!
This movie more often than not is a blasé, boring exercise in excess that's about as stylish as a slapping a Coach or Dooney & Burke logo on a band-aid and considering it high couture. Having had a full 24 hours to digest what I saw, I'm going to simply try to explain why this movie, despite all its legions of fans who will likely prefer to tear my head off verbally than actually understand my points, is bad (because it really, really is).
Other than the chance for our four main characters to get together, there really is no main central driving force to give the movie any heart. Sure, their respective relationships are maturing; sadly, Carrie and Co. are not. If anything, they seem to be regressing for the most part throughout 2, coming off as spoiled, often clueless and dare I say it, unpleasant to be around (or in this case, watch). Yes, I know that Sex and the City has always been about indulgence, but the level of opulence displayed in this movie is beyond ridiculous with a real sense of entitlement coming through. (Remember ladies, bigger is not always better.)
This wouldn't be so bad if the characters seemed to be facing real problems other than superficial ones they are creating themselves. While Charlotte is fretting about a braless nanny, Miranda is upset because her boss doesn't value her voice (welcome to the real world, sister!). Meanwhile, Samantha is fighting nature so she can keep on having a bunch of sex and Carrie wants "sparkle" in her and Big's relationship, while neither she nor he takes any real time to examine what may be causing them real distress. Whereas the move could have looked at a couple of real relationship issues here - the problem of maintaining one's independence while functioning as a couple, how to keep the spark in a marriage, etc. The first movie did this; this one just opts for tired clichés like distance making the heart grow fonder.
Comedy wise, there are a few moments where the characters try and succeed to deliver on the humor - but they are often distracted with a quick cop out moment of clarity or worse yet, a tawdry, cheap or more often than not tired one-liner, usually in the form of Samantha making some sort of sexual joke. And much like a lot of Samantha's sexual escapades, the jokes come off tawdry and cheap.
Now, I'm sure at this point some of you are saying "Well, isn't the fashion at least good?" In two words, not really. I'm no Anna Wintour, but I know bad when I see it - and if Tim Gunn hadn't made his misplaced cameo at Anthony's and Stanford's wedding and stuck around to see some of the outfits, he would likely agree. (Don't get me started on that whole sequence; my gay friend that attended the preview screening found it offensive; I just thought it was ridiculously excessive for the sake of it but I'm sure others will disagree.) Not to be a mean girl (get the joke?), but there's nothing 'fetch' about anything they are wearing - especially when another cameo makes fun of the fact that one of the characters is too old to be wearing what she is wearing!
The gay wedding sequence (and since all the characters both straight and gay kept calling it a 'gay wedding' for comedy's sake, I'm calling it that, too) is the least of the film's offensive concerns. That (dis)honor would go to the movies handling of the culture clash that happens once the girls arrive in the Middle East. In case you're wondering with my first name, I am not Muslim, not that should matter. However, King and company better hope the folks over at New Line Cinema (the film's distributor) have a really good PR department or they might be in for a devil of a time fending off criticism for the depictions of the Middle East and Muslim culture, despite Miranda's repeated attempts to prevent it and the kindness Carrie shows to her butler (Raza Jaffrey) at the girls' hotel. There is one specific scene I would like to discuss to illustrate my point, but that's a MAJOR spoiler, and I don't do spoilers.
So let's recap - is Sex and the City 2 lacking in heart, emotion, story, humor and at the same time heavy on the ridiculous (even for these characters), entertainment (it's 2 hours and 20 minutes long give or take a minute and it feels even longer watching it), fails to break any new ground or advance the characters in any fashion we haven't seen before? Yes - and that should make you said 'no' when it comes time to decide whether or not to purchase a ticket to see it. This movie is especially the chick flick version of Ocean's Twelve/Thirteen; whereas the original stuck to its core, this one loses its way by falling for the old "bigger and bolder" formula and failing miserably at every turn.
In chatting via Facebook with another female friend of mine about how I was struggling to eloquently explain why this movie was bad, she said something poetic: "Hasn't Sex and the City run its course? It was great ... But must it go on and on?"
No. It really must not. Like a lot of good things in life, this one has run its course.
RATING (OUT OF FOUR POSSIBLE BUCKETS OF POPCORN):