Sex and the City 2 picks up two years after the first, with the wedding of Stanford (Willie Garson) and Anthony (Mario Cantone), Carrie’s and Charlotte’s gay best friends. Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker) and John “Mr. Big” Preston (Chris Noth) are keeping their marriage strong, Charlotte York is being driven crazy by her kids, Miranda Hobbes is being disrespected by her male boss (a criminally underused Ron White), and Samantha Jones is fighting menopause tooth and nail. Events continue from there to, of all places, Abu Dhabi, but the “plot” is more or less a series of excuses for the girls to have fun, deal with their issues, and dress fabulously.
Said lack of plot, however, helps contribute to the movie’s runtime of 700 years. Seriously, at two and a half hours, this thing drags — much like the first. The movie, also like the entire series, is poorly written. Many of the crises and arguments are dealt with ham-fistedly, the transitions are forced, Carrie’s voiceovers are inane and obvious, and cheap puns abound.
The acting isn’t perfect either. The girls come through largely OK, but Noth struggles with any look beyond smarmy, and as Charlotte’s Irish babysitter, Alice Eve affects an accent that will make you grind your teeth. The characters’ assorted flaws are endearing at first but grating after a while, and there are enough girly-girl moments to make any guy’s testicles retreat into his lower abdomen, such as when Samantha applies medicinal cream to her private parts or when Liza Minnelli belts out “All the Single Ladies.”
Which is all fine, if only the movie’s girl-power vibe rang true. Carrie is praised as a free spirit for not wanting kids and for writing her own wedding vows. Move over, Rosa Parks. And all of the girl-talk about men being afraid of women who have power is sooo 1985 and seems like nothing more than pandering to the latest generation of wannabe female powerbrokers.
But there’s still enough to like about the film. The girls have a lot of dynamic scenes together, old faces make surprising appearances, and the director includes plenty of shots of the girls walking in slow motion, dressed in fab outfits. (And many female attendees at a recent screening were decked out in equally spicy duds.)
Like the series itself, the movie is, at heart, about friends supporting one another and having a good time in spite of their problems or differences. Girl or guy, we can all relate. l