Sex and the City 2: A Review
Walking into Sex and the City 2, you have to know your only going to get the shallow end of the swimming pool. The diving section was left behind when the long-running show was first adapted into a feature film two years ago. It might look like a Carrie and walk like a Carrie, but these characters have become caricatures of themselves—the complex motivations and deep development of the brilliant HBO vignettes replaced by diamonds, one-liners and contrived plot points.
Now, that’s not to say that the movie isn’t, on some level, a cheap, funny popcorn flick—but the nature of adapting the beast into a feature means we have to assume it has some inherent value to add to the beloved series. When watching both films, however, we get the distinct impression that there’s something blasphemous going on—that holy book of all six, long seasons, the bible, if you will, has been marred by two tasteless post-it notes, after thoughts in a ground-breaking television show that was known for its thoughtfulness. But we will give the sequel one thing: it was a hell of a lot more fun than the first movie.
Sex and the City, the movies and the show, is a fantasy. The fashion, the nightlife, the love interests—the value, of course, is in the escapism. Michael Patrick King is a great balloon of ideas, but he has since become untethered from the ground. We used to believe, at least superficially, that Carrie had some “money problems” and lived a somewhat normal life compared to her Park Avenue contemporaries. All four of the Sex and the City women have either married into wealth or achieved it themselves at this point, and the results have made them vapid, out of touch with reality and completely un-relatable to the every day women they supposedly champion.
After an admittedly fun and ridiculously over the top gay wedding (we won’t give away who this is for, but we’re sure you can guess), the movie starts its first half: New York. Charlotte has a hard time being a mother to two little girls even though she has a husband, a live-in nanny and no job. Miranda doesn’t have time for her kid because of her job. Samantha…well, Samantha has menopause. And Carrie is mad because on top of being completely charming (and looking like he dropped 10 pounds and 10 years from the last movie) Big likes to watch black and white movies and order take out—even though they did that (gasp!) two nights last week! Carrie’s issues especially feel so forced they wouldn’t have even made a good episode. They would be the episode you promptly forgot and never talked about again.
Luckily, these conflicts are left behind when the girls get an all expenses-paid PR trip to Abu Dhabi with Samantha. This is a lot better than the Mexican vacation in the first film, where Carrie was in some sort of Big-induced coma and didn’t come out into sunshine for three days. There’s some jokes to be had, some funny (Samantha’s gay butler), some not (a camel toe crack when riding, you guessed it, camels). Aidan shows up to provide some more made up problems for Carrie. There’s a lot of examination of the oppression of women and sex in Muslim culture—which we’ll leave for you to decide about.
Despite the horrific bourgeois moaning that’s been going on between Charlotte and Miranda, two of the characters seem to slightly resemble themselves: Carrie comes off supremely selfish and Samantha is hilarious. Finally, after about 30 minutes too long, the girls head back to New York, where things are wrapped up in nice pink bows. We’d be lying if we didn’t say we teared up in some of the sentimental scenes—sentiment and nostalgia are what this franchise does best. A shimmering keynote in the background and a glimpse of Carrie’s old apartment, and we melt.
Sex and the City 2 is, of course, a monster. It eats Christian Louboutins and money for breakfast. It will take over the box office—but not much else. For true fans know, as fun as 146 minutes (it was really, really long) of fantasy can be, these films lost the heart, and the brains, of the original show. And isn’t that what feminism’s all about?