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Movie Review: 'Sex and the City 2'

Movie Review: 'Sex and the City 2'

Summary: The Sex and the City gals are back in a sequel, which takes them to Abu Dhabi where they juggle men, old relationships, menopause and fashion.

Published May 27, 2010

satc2Summary : The Sex and the City gals are back in a sequel, which takes them to Abu Dhabi where they juggle men, old relationships, menopause and fashion.

Review : It's just as easy to be disappointed with Sex and the City 2 as it is to enjoy it. While the series was packed with opulence that was as fantastical as an animated Disney movie, at its core, the stories of four single women in Manhattan still managed to resonate as real human connections. This is why the series won seven Emmys and garnered a following that transcended race and gender. So no matter how many times the film versions guts the souls out of the original characters, the series built a solid enough foundation -- audiences might see as many incarnations of Carrie Bradshaw as Freddy Krueger .

The main complaint with Sex and the City 2 is that it has gone too far with product placement, extravagance and clothes – and it has. The director, Michael Patrick King , must assume this is the type of escapism that their audience craves -- Sex and the City on designer steroids, plot is secondary.

Let's take a moment to discuss these clothes: I am no fashion guru, but four out of five of the outfits resembled a line of bad Barbie clothes -- the Abu Dhabi edition! This wasn't fashion-forward, it was fashion ass-backwards.

The extreme luxury went beyond the fashion. Cars, houses, airplanes, gourmet dishes, this is the way Marie Antoinette (the "Let them eat cake until they all starve!" chick) would’ve lived in 2010. The upper-class women of Sex and the City have now turned into billionaires. For a movie heavily geared toward women, it's a disservice to keep the characters so stereotypically superficial without depth. The Gloria Steinem s of the world are shaking their fists at an angry sky.

An example, in the first movie there was some growth in Samantha (Kim Cattrall -- by the way, she is 53 and her body could give any of these young gals a hot battle). She was in a relationship, not feeling appreciated, losing herself and missing the connection with her friends. She ended her relationship and found herself. This time around, Samantha went back to being the clichéd slut. While she has the best lines ("Lawrence of my labia!") and the movie would be a drip without her, her character went backward. And, of course, her last scene is getting banged out by a random man.

Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker ) is the heart of the film, but she is more of an annoying tick. Unlike the series, her conflicts are weak – “Big” watches too much television, she sees an ex-boyfriend and shares a kiss -- this turns into a dramatic two and a half hours. One might say, “Well, that’s just Carrie's style, a drama queen!” No, this is just bad writing. In the first film, Carrie's conflict was being stood up at the altar. Now the writers have sucked every possible plot line out of Miss Bradshaw and obviously not sure what to do with her.

Surprisingly, there is a some depth with Charlotte (Kristen Davis ) and Miranda (Cynthia Nixon ). The strongest dramatic moment in the entire film is their discussion on motherhood; beautifully written and acted, it's one of the few scenes where director Michael Patrick King shows who these beloved characters have become, but doesn't change who they are. They are still the gals you remember on HBO.

On the issue of the film being insulting to Muslims, there were some questionable moments. The girls running around in Muslim garb felt like an episode of Scooby Doo -- this could easily be taken as insulting. Or, Muslim women revealing American fashion under their niqab -- as if the fact that they aspire to be rich White women in America like Carrie Bradshaw is an exchange of cultural love. Even White women in America have trouble trying to be Carrie Bradshaw -- I know some who are in debt right now!

Thankfully, Miranda's logical character was there to correct the social insensitivity of mainly Samantha (Samantha being arrested is another comedic highlight). However, I am not Muslim and as an African American, there are times when I and other African Americans are insulted by Hollywood (the jive talkin' robots in Transformers is an example), yet no one gets it but us.

When it comes to being politically incorrect, the movie is wildly stereotypical. The Muslims are either millionaires or servants, the gays are Liza Minnelli -loving queens (her "Single Ladies" was amazing!) and the women are fashion-obsessed old girls trying to hold onto their youth in their 40s and 50s. I know it's fantasy, but is this the type of fantasy you want to escape to?

Nonetheless, you cannot look for a message in Sex and the City 2 because they are not messengers. Yes, the series was once witty, edgy and gave brilliant commentary on relationships, but those days are gone. It's like Whitney fans crying that she cannot sing like it's 1985. It's 2010 people -- those days are a wrap!

Overall, glamour porn with fashion that looks like Lady Gaga at a Wal-Mart shopping spree and a plot that is at times cinematic roadkill, but these are likable characters with actors who still have chemistry. The film is entertaining with glimpses of what made the series a hit; there are laughs, cute one-liners and eye candy for the audience. Sex and the City 2 did its job and because of that, I enjoyed it.

Sex and the City 2 is in theaters today.

Written by Clay Cane

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