New York’s best-dressed gal pals suffer mid-life crises and sand in their Manolos in their second romantic romp across the big screen, “Sex and the City 2,” a fashionably funny, playfully naughty and sometimes too-cute sequel to the sequel to HBO’s hit comedy series.
It’s been two years since we last followed the Manhattan misadventures of these smart, independent, fashion-fanatic women, and they’re still going through changes while remaining fast friends, constantly commiserating, counseling and consoling one another through all of their trials and tribulations.
Carrie Bradshaw (a radiant Sarah Jessica Parker), the once-eternal single girl, now finds herself struggling with the new role of wife, having finally landed Mr. Big (Chris Noth), the man she’s been pursuing most of her adult life. Uncertain about what to do after saying “I do,” the bestselling author writes a book, “I Do, Do I?”, lampooning all the accepted notions of traditional marriage. It not only causes tensions at home but gets panned by her favorite magazine, The New Yorker.
Meanwhile, confirmed career woman Miranda Hobbes (Cynthia Nixon), partner at a major New York law firm after years of hard work, has hit the glass ceiling she never thought she’d encounter, at odds with a chauvinistic boss who finally pushes her to the breaking point. She still has a happy home life with hubby Steve (David Eigenberg), but Miranda has always defined herself as a lawyer, and being jobless has stripped her of her identity.
Sweet and conventional Charlotte York-Goldenblatt (Kristin Davis), on the other hand, has striven to create the perfect family picture that’s now blurred by the overwhelming challenges of motherhood and the necessity of hiring a young nanny (Alice Eve) who’s perfect with her little girl — but may also be too much of a temptation for Charlotte’s husband Harry (Evan Handler).
And single sexual huntress Samantha Jones (vivacious charmer Kim Cattrall) is finally wrestling with the first symptoms of menopause, the reality of aging and whether her days and nights of liberated lifestyle are numbered.
For all four, it’s time to get away with the girls. And what better place to put their problems in perspective than in the exotic desert environs of Abu Dhabi — where confused Carrie’s dilemma is further complicated when she runs into an old flame … Aidan (John Corbett).
Series executive producer and chief writer Michael Patrick King again directs from his own screenplay, dishing up all the elements “SATC” fans have come to crave, from classy clothes to soapy romantic entanglements, peppered with plenty of comedy (the gay wedding featuring Liza Minnelli and an all-male top-hatted choir singing “If Ever I Would Leave You” is not to be missed), some tear-jerking drama and a healthy dose of steamy sex.
It’s all designed with the female in mind and should please its intended audience immensely, as long as no one minds that these characters veer between substance and superficiality and even a bit of sappiness in depicting the feminine condition. The principal players’ karaoke rendition of “I Am Woman” is a definite low point.
But the chemistry in this ensemble still bubbles as refreshingly as a cosmopolitan, with standout turns from Parker and Nixon, and Cattrall still heating the proceedings at a fiery 53. And, once again, the most appealing aspect of this sexually liberated, high-fashion free-for-all franchise is its heartwarming look at the true-blue nature of female friendship. The whole world should take a lesson.
– Gene Triplett
2 ½ stars
Starring: Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, Cynthia Nixon, Kristin Davis, Chris Noth, John Corbett.
(Some strong sexual content and language)