2.5 stars rounded up to 3 because of my past affection for the series.
Jun 1, 2010
As with the first Sex and the City film, Sex and the City II is more or less "review-proof." The films are made for fans that are already well-immersed in the characters from the TV series, and these fans are just as interested in seeing what everyone is up to and what they're wearing as they are in a coherent plot or deeper meanings. For fans of SATC, more is more.
So I guess this makes SATC2 a big success. It's nearly two and a half hours long. It features more costume changes than ever, and it takes its decadence to a whole new level. Yet the franchise is starting to feel forced and flaccid. Seeing SATC2 was like visiting a favorite old restaurant and realizing that the dish you used to love just isn't quite the same anymore. The ingredients are all there, but they haven't been prepared quite right or with any loving attention.
Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker) is still married to "Big" (Chris Noth), and it's been about 2 years. He wants to start settling in to a quieter, domestic life (he enjoys cuddling on the sofa watching old B&W movies) but she wants to continue to lead an active, late-night social life. She throws the equivalent of a hissy-fit, and poor Big just can't seem to do anything to make her happy. For the first time, Big is more sympathetic than whinny Carrie. Carrie has always been a difficult character to like, because even though she is big-hearted and witty and sparkly...she's also always been the most damagingly selfish girl of the bunch.
Miranda (Cynthia Nixon) is having trouble being appreciated at work. Charlotte (Kristen Davis) is feeling overwhelmed by a particularly terrible two-year-old, and threatened by a particularly buxom nanny. Samantha (Kim Cattrall) is grappling with menopause.
So when the opportunity arises for "the girls" to get away from it all for a bit by taking a trip to Abu Dhabi (all expenses paid at a luxury resort that makes any luxury suite we've ever seen in a Las Vegas movie look like a dump)...off they go in a swirl of silk and cotton. Minor complications ensue as each works out their issues while wearing some ridiculous costumes. (I think it must be a law now that Miranda cannot be allowed to wear anything even remotely flattering.)
Time for disclosure. I'm a 46 year old man...not exactly the normal target audience. But my wife and I watched the series together...and to be honest, I've always enjoyed it. While it's hardly my favorite show of all time, I didn't have to have my arm twisted to see the films either. So perhaps my reactions are skewed. But I get the appeal of SATC. I've enjoyed the sharp writing, the interesting characters and the feeling of NYC being a true character too. So, how did SATC2 fall short? First of all, sending them to Abu Dhabi absolutely felt more than a little like the series was "jumping the shark." Although many amusing things happen, it's as though "The City" held no more inspiration for the filmmakers. In the first film, the girls escape to Mexico...but it feels wrong. They are having a difficult time and being away from the city adds to that sense of dis-ease...and makes those scenes successful. Going to the desert feels a little like the season when Lucy Ricardo and company went to Europe...a transparent effort to keep up the ante. Heck, SATC2 even has a major wedding scene that takes place in Connecticut.
Also, Carrie is more annoying than usual. Can't she see how perplexed and hurt she has left Big? Charlotte's problems seem quite petty (her two-year-old cries all the time like an infant...those aren't the terrible twos...if my two year old carried on that way, I'd take her to the hospital)...and they feel like they were written by a man who doesn't understand domesticity and child-rearing. The best they could come up with was a sexy Irish nanny who doesn't wear a bra and making Charlotte fearful that her husband would stray. Like anyone who knows the show believes Harry would do that! Miranda quits her job...and that's about it. Never has she been given a more minor role than in this film. She is hardly one-quarter of the action...perhaps one-tenth. And Samantha's antics seem more desperate. And that sort of sums up the film. These actresses...all lovely...are now being asked to act and behave much younger than they are. And the cracks show. It's not just that the layers of pancake makeup can't hide the lines around Parker's eyes...it's that there is simply no way that women with the experiences these four have had would act in the ways they do. They've always been outrageous, yes. But they now frequently lean towards being cartoonish.
The series now feels caught in another generation. To me, the best example comes early on. Everyone is attending a gay wedding, and guess who performs the civil ceremony? Liza Minelli! That's fairly random, but worth a laugh. Later, she performs (and we're asked to believe that she would do this) at the reception, by singing and dancing Single Ladies for Beyonce...replicating the signature choreography from the video. Too bad this joke has already been thoroughly played out...the football players on Glee already did it. The female chipmunks in the latest Alvin and the Chipmunks film did it. And even Beyonce herself spoofed it with the male members of Saturday Night Live. So including this bit in the film feels like a grab for hipness by a filmmaker caught in the `90s but trying to seem "up on what the kids are doing these days."
In the end, I think the film simply doesn't speak to anything real anymore. I'd still go see another sequel, because I have enough goodwill for the original series...but they'd better step up their game and refocus on what really makes the series work on more than a superficial level. Because with SATC2, "superficial" was all we got.
SEX AND THE CITY 2 Written and Directed by Michael Patrick King Starring Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, Kristin Davis and Cynthia Nixon Carrie Bradshaw: That’s the thing about tradition; when you’re not looking, it just sneaks in. When I first discovered the “Sex and the City” television series, I saw it as a tiny, little gift from heaven. This series about adult women looking for love and refusing to settle for … more
I read some of the critical reviews and the one theme that seemed prevelent is that this movie is 2 and a half hours and seems like you can't wait for it to end. I never felt that way about this film and actually enjoyed the movie up until the very end. Even the wedding at the beginning was a lot of fun with Carrie being forced to wear a tuxedo because she is the best "man" at Stan's wedding to Mario Cantone. Our question gets answered that … more
I don't make it to the movie theater often- generally wait for DVDs to come out on Redbox. Sex and the City 2, however, was theater-worthy for me. The movie itself could have certainly been better as I found the storyline somewhat lacking in substance. At times, it seemed more of a fashion show than a feature film celebrating one of the all time best shows in television history. But ultimately, I went to the theater to see my girls, Carrie, Charlotte, Samantha and Miranda, and to … more
I've always been fairly fond of the TV series, and therefore highly intrigued when the first movie came out. Not deeply disappointed by the first film, I actually found myself semi excited to see the second. My excitement soon turned to sheer disappointment after about ten minutes in. Although I can honestly say that the marriages and relationships of each of the ladies were kind of interesting, and I did enjoy how each relationship was different and unique, the actual plot and story line failed. … more
This one tells me marriage is a lot of work although one can occasionally escapes to the Middle East IF you can afford a suite that's costing some $22,000 a night! I did enjoy the movie despite it all; it is afterall just a movie :-) I probably wouldn't be going to Abu Dhabi anytime soon but it's interesting to see the city as it now is. For those who love to travel, it's worth watching this movie, especially if you get it on DVD!
With the possible exceptions of my reviews for "Fanboys" and "Mamma Mia!," I don't think anything I've written has been as universally despised as my 2008 review for "Sex and the City," a film I described as, "one of the longest two-and-a-half hours I've spent at the movies this year, and that's mostly because it didn't need to be two-and-a-half hours." I went on to say that it was, "as over-inflated as the characters themselves, some of the most annoying, artificial, selfish women ever conceived … more
"Sex and the City 2" On and On and On Amos Lassen Let me start by saying that I loved "Sex and the City" when it was on TV. I do not love the movies, however. Be that as it may, I am going to review this film without letting my dislike show (ha!). It has been two years since Carrie Bradshaw finally bagged John "Mr. Big" Preston, the man she was always meant to be with. Just as her friend Charlotte must deal with her young daughter's … more
I read some of the critical reviews and the one theme that seemed prevelent is that this movie is 2 and a half hours and seems like you can't wait for it to end. I never felt that way about this film and actually enjoyed the movie up until the very end. Even the wedding at the beginning was a lot of fun with Carrie being forced to wear a tuxedo because she is the best "man" at Stan's wedding to Mario Cantone. Our question gets answered that we thought they hated each other … more
The four glitziest ladies ever to hit Manhattan as a single force--Carrie, Samantha, Miranda, and Charlotte--are back, fabulous as ever, inSex and the City 2. They may be older, and even a little wiser, but the pulls of love, lust, careers, and a pair of well-turned stilettos are still the focus of this Fab Four. As the women gamely face the prospect of aging--children, menopause, glass ceilings, and, in Carrie's opinion a fate worse than death--domesticity--they still manage to sparkle with the banter and great outfits that made the HBO series and the first film such hits.Sex and the City 2opens with Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker), Samantha (Kim Cattrall), Miranda (Cynthia Nixon), and Charlotte (Kristin Davis) at the wedding of two of the foursome's favorite gay male friends, Stanford (Willie Garson) and Anthony (Mario Cantone). The wedding itself pulls out all the stops--in the true spirit ofSex and the City--and is one of the highlights of the film. From the no-holds-barred décor, including live swans, to the gay men's chorus singing show tunes while the guests arrive, the event is on the far side of over the top. As the guests settle into their seats, Miranda whispers, "Could this weddingbeany gayer?" and as if on command, out comes Liza Minnelli, playing herself, to officiate. (Minnelli's performance is unexpectedly splendid, and her "wedding song" will wow all her fans--gay, straight, married, single.) Yet beneath the luscious ...