review for Sex and the City 2 on AllMovie

Sex and the City 2 (2010)
by Alaina O'Connor review

Sex and the City is one of those pop-culture icons that just won't die, and for good reason -- it gives women permission to be single in their thirties and fabulous in their forties, and whether it's the fashion, the sex, or the glamorous lifestyle of these characters, Sex and the City is the ultimate fantasy. It's been two years since the first film, and the ladies are comfortably settled into their domestic lives, but when they realize that it's not all bliss, that's when complications and doubt creep in.

In Sex and the City 2, Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker) and Big's (Chris Noth) marriage has become boring and predictable -- who knew Big was a closet couch potato? Charlotte (Kristin Davis) has finally gotten everything she wanted, but feels overwhelmed by the pressure to be "perfect," Miranda (Cynthia Nixon) feels like her voice isn't being heard at her boy's club of a job, and Samantha (Kim Cattrall) goes through menopause and desperately tries to slow down the march of time by ingesting an ungodly amount of hormones and supplements. The ladies approach their breaking points, so when Samantha is offered a free trip to Abu Dhabi, they agree to tag along for some much-needed fun and relaxation at a luxury desert oasis.

With the sequel, the story shifts from sex to marriage, which can be pretty boring to watch, so to compensate for this inevitability, writer/director Michael Patrick King (who served as executive producer of the show) attempts to mix things up and starts by throwing in an over-the-top gay wedding complete with swans, choir boys, and Liza Minnelli! Next, he sends the girls on vacation and, really, their adventure in Abu Dhabi is where the film takes an impulsive turn into madcap-ville. In one outrageous antic after another, the women challenge and offend religious fundamentalists, bond with niqab-wearing women who are secretly wearing Dolce & Gabbana's spring collection underneath, and clumsily ride camels in the desert while being fed figs by their Arab servants. Finally, he brings them all home and life resumes as normal, and you sort of wonder what it was all for anyway. King's attempts backfire, and instead of making things interesting he's peppered the script with gay jokes and cultural musings bordering on offensive, and turned the ladies into caricatures of themselves.

The thing that made the show such a success was the women navigating the choppy waters of dating, relationships, and sex, but since the first movie all of the women have pretty much settled down -- save for Samantha, who'll forever be single and proud -- and like Carrie's relationship with Big, the franchise has lost some of its sparkle. Still, the glue that holds it all together is the unshakeable friendship that these women have with one another. This theme comes through loud and clear, and despite all the wackiness that ensues you still care about the characters...and the fashion...and the glamour. So, aspiring fashionistas, self-proclaimed cougars, and anyone who wants to spend an afternoon with their girlfriends will flock to this film and love every minute.