Sex and the City 2 Directed by: Michael Patrick King Cast: Sarah Jessica Parker, Kristin Davis, Cynthia Nixon, Kim Cattrall, Chris Noth Running Time: 2 hrs 20 mins Rating: R Release Date: June 27, 2010
PLOT: Carrie (Parker) and the girls are back in the city, but now Carrie feels like her relationship with Big (Noth) is losing its sparkle. Samantha (Cattrall) gets an all-expenses paid trip to Abu Dhabi United Arab Emirates, and the girls are off on a luxurious vacation.
WHO'S IT FOR? Fans of the TV show. I think this film does a better job of honoring the HBO series than the first movie. For me, the first movie was a rehashing of former problems whereas this film is a focus on new ones.
EXPECTATIONS: Low. Again, not a fan of the first film. Plus, you throw in a running time of almost two and a half hours ... ouch. Luckily, my wife (who feels the same about the first movie) was able to join for this one, so I was hoping she could at least get a kick out of it.
Sarah Jessica Parker as Carrie Bradshaw: Let's move past the horse-face jokes quickly OK? Neigh? Well, alright then. This time around Carrie and Big really dive into what a lot of people can feel in a relationship. It's the concept between, "we don't have to try anymore" vs. "let's hold on to the sparkle." Big wants to order in, Carrie wants to go out. It's a simple relationship argument, but I feel this movie gets it totally right. Once again, I found myself carrying about Carrie. Score: 7
Kristin Davis as Charlotte York: She has two moments that don't annoy me. Otherwise, she's even more of the "overbearing mother who gives out way too much scolding advice to her friends, but can't take it herself" than usual. And yes, that's her official nickname. So let's focus on those two moments ... 1) in the pantry, trying to pull herself together while dealing with screaming kids. Great acting, she totally sold it. 2) The "take a sip" scene, where she finally talks about her feelings with friends. The sad part is, there should be a third on this list, but she couldn't sell the super easy "camel toe" joke in this movie. Score: 4
Cynthia Nixon as Miranda Hobbes: Fun Miranda is back! In the first film she felt like a terrible buzz kill. Obviously they were aware of this, and gave her a reason to be happy again. She's the nerd of the group and very necessary to move things along. Otherwise, I feel like we could have been sitting by the pool the entire time in Abu Dhabi. Score: 7
Kim Cattrall as Samantha Jones: First of all, I love a proud, sexual, aging woman as much as the next guy, but this character of Samantha Jones has jumped the shark for me. This routine of accidentally setting her up for a sexual joke has run its course. Going through menopause with hummus and yams is funny in small doses, putting her in such a sexually conservative country is funny in small doses. But unfortunately nothing this character does is a "small dose." Lines like "it's a gift" when she's identifying straight people ... I'm done with that. Score: 3
Chris Noth as Mr. Big: He doesn't get to travel with the ladies, but there is still plenty of time with him. He's taken on a kind-of retired Cary Grant type character for me. Again, every moment between him and Carrie felt like a real couple. Plus, it was a nice nod to see him in the back of the car, waiting for Carrie up at her apartment. Score: 6
Rest of Cast: Otherwise, known as "the other men." David Eigenberg as Steve Brady and Evan Handler as Harry Goldenblatt are near no-shows. Which is too bad, because who doesn't love Steve's voice? The gay wedding will be talked about quite a bit since Liza Minnelli is involved. When I did catch a bit of the preview, I was convinced Aidan (John Corbett) being involved would feel totally forced and out of place. I was wrong. It worked. Score: 5
TALKING: Man, they really push lines in this film. Whenever the girls get together, it's like they're in competition to come up with the cheesiest things to say. It would be fine if they said it once, but it's really obvious when director and writer Michael Patrick King is trying to coin a new terms like "inter-friend-tion," "Lawrence of my labia," and "mid-wife crisis." The drama between Carrie and Big, the "take a sip" moment between Charlotte and Miranda feel real. The other stuff, not so much. Score: 5
SIGHTS: It's not fashion-forward. It's bizarro-fashion. Then again, to me fashion is something you would want to wear. So let's not get into that here. Instead, let's talk about the one-hour infomercial for Abu Dhabi. Are you sold? Look, for $22,000 a night most of us aren't going to be booking our tickets, but I didn't mind the trip there. It was a chance to see this world. I just didn't need to be there for so long. And I especially didn't need the passport problem. The gay wedding in the beginning was absolutely too much, but it was supposed to be and the characters were aware of it as well. What's odd is that King's direction feels sloppy, like he's a first-timer. Wacky music and over-the-top antics like with the girls packing quickly, or having to wear Indian garb in the streets feels completely out of place for the film. Score: 6
SOUNDS: "Single Ladies" can be retired for a little while now, right? The oddest music moment, and perhaps oddest moment of the entire movie is the "I Am Woman" karaoke singing. All the girls get up on stage and belt out the entire song. The whole thing. I think maybe "super freak" fans will appreciate it, but otherwise ... ouch. That was painful. Why do I say "super freak" fans? I'm talking about the women who live vicariously through these four women, and feel these women speak to them, that they are the only women that truly matter. Those freaks will appreciate the song. As far as the movie's score, when they were in Abu Dhabi, didn't it kind of sound like left over music from an Indiana Jones movie? Anyone? Anyone? Score: 4
BEST SCENE: It's a couple of scenes combined, but it was refreshing to see Carrie's big problem (I won't totally spell it out, but you'll know it when you see it) in the movie immediately be discussed with her girlfriends and then with Big. I was worried we'd be stuck another hour waiting for that to become public knowledge.
ENDING: I'm pretty darned satisfied with the end involving Carrie. No big leaps in plausibility were made. On a side note, I didn't need the nanny's resolution though. Charlotte should be comfortable on her own accord, not because the nanny is off the market.
QUESTIONS: Why not just make this a movie that is 1 hour and 45 mins? Cut out large chunks of Charlotte and Samantha's problems. Shorten the stay in Abu Bhadi a little bit as well. Keep the focus on Carrie and Big.
REWATCHABILITY: It's so long. And huge parts feel totally unnecessary. If they send me a Blu-ray, I would simply buzz through my favorite parts or not bother at all.
If you're not a fan of the show ... And you've come this far, I have two things to say. 1. Thanks for reading. 2. Why the hell are you reading? The only people who should consider sitting down to watch this movie are die-hard fans of the TV show. I watched every show, in order, with my wife, shortly after the time the series ended. I really liked the first couple of seasons, and then I felt it faltered the last couple. I feel a connection to these characters and because of that, I am willing to give two hours and 20 minutes to them. But don't get me wrong. These aren't movies, they're events. They are chances to see your old TV friends doing something new. And for the really big fans, anything "new" is worth it, even though this shtick is getting old. "Did somebody say dick?" -- No Samantha, no they didn't! So guys, don't let the lady talk you into this one if you haven't been a long for the ride the entire time. With that said, it definitely has better parts than the first film. Carrie and Big feel more like an evolution of the couple I watched on the TV show as opposed to what I was stuck with in the first film. The problem is, while this movie feels like a better, longer episode than the first film, it still doesn't compare to the best TV moments. When the women are singing "I Am Woman," it almost feels like they are doing it "for" the die-hard fans. Like, they are living on, giving us an adventure and wearing amazing clothes because we can't. But here's the thing, I don't want or need to hang out with this characters anymore, because they are becoming caricatures. If they just would have shortened the film, and punched up the jokes that feel more like a re-run than something fresh, this could have been a much better film and a look in to the life of a woman who's not like any other woman.
FINAL SCORE: 5/10