It may well indeed be the most anticipated film of the summer, but aside from its fab foursome, cameo appearances and uber gay sensibility, “Sex and the City 2” is sadly, heartbreakingly neither fresh nor funny.
Picking up two years after the first film, “Sex 2” opens with our Big Apple gals dealing with new sets of personal and private issues. Charlotte (Kristin Davis) has two kids who demand more attention than she expects, and Miranda (Cynthia Nixon) is back with Steve (David Eigenberg) but having a problem with a male co-worker at her law firm.
Samantha (Kim Cattrall) is trying to turn back time with hormones and a daily arsenal of pills. Meanwhile, Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker) and Big (Chris Noth) seem to have lost the sparkle that brought them together. She wants to go out regularly while he is content to stay home and watch TV.
When Samantha is invited to Abu Dhabi for a PR gig, she gathers up the foursome for quality girl time. Aside from Charlotte feeling like Harry (Evan Handler) is having an affair with his braless nanny back home and Samantha temporarily losing her sex drive only to find it again in spades, nothing really happens in Abu Dhabi – until Carrie runs into ex Aidan (John Corbett) and agrees to have dinner with him.
In the movie’s defense, Parker has mentioned that this film was intended to be a lark, especially after the emotional draining aspects of the first film when Big stood up Carrie at the altar and Steve cheated on Miranda. Unfortunately, the sequel is shapeless and silly, bearing little resemblance to the HBO show that made us care.
The beauty of the series is how sharp and humorous the writers could make a 25 minute episode. (Read our Top 10 defining moments from the TV show.)
Like the first film, this is way overlong – clocking in at a ridiculous two and a half hours. Too much of the first half centers on the Carrie–Big drama, with Carrie coming across as a nag and Big acting anti-social and selfish.
When the film moves to Abu Dhabi, it wakes up somewhat. But the fast-flying jokes never really click, and “Sex and the City 2” resorts to stereotypes. The low point is a visit to an Abu Dhabi bar, where the foursome sing a karaoke version of “I Am Woman” (second photo).
It’s a chick flick moment that will have even gay men reaching for the Maalox.
And when all else fails – throw in more costume changes! Or a bikini clad swim team! Or a joke about Samantha’s labia!
As publicized, “Sex and the City 2” is gay alright. Former enemies Anthony and Stanford (Mario Cantone and Willie Garson) get married, and the ceremony has a hunky chorus and homos aplenty. Liza Minnelli is one of the wedding entertainers – and her singing “Single Ladies” with two look-alike backup singers is simultaneously one of the campiest and most frightening things you will ever see. Two of the other characters in the film turn out to be gay as well.
As always, the four women make great company, but the film doesn’t do all of them favors. Cattrall, in particular, spends the last half of the film practically in one-note heat.
After her agony in the first film, Nixon’s Miranda finally gets to have some fun, and the best scene finds Miranda and Charlotte having a heart-to-heart with cocktails flowing over how tough motherhood can be. It’s one of the rare moments of truth in “Sex and the City 2.”
Aside from Big and Aidan, the men are largely negligible here. Even Stanford and Anthony disappear, along with Steve, Harry and Smith Jerrod (Jason Lewis).
Alas, Gilles Marini isn’t around this time to flash an uncut penis, but Samantha’s new fixation is Rikard (Max Ryan), an Aussie man seen at one point thumping heartily into her (Noah Mills; check out our photos).
Miley Cryus, Penelope Cruz and a certain reality TV star also appear, ever so briefly.
We really really wanted to like the movie of course, but if Michael Patrick King thinks this is what we want to see in a “Sex and the City” film, he’s badly mistaken. This one’s for diehards only.
“Sex and the City 2” is now in theaters.
Jim Farmer is an Atlanta-based freelance writer and public relations professional specializing in film promotions. He is the director of the annual Out On Film, Atlanta’s gay and lesbian film festival, and has been a theater and pop-culture critic for more than a dozen years.