Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Distastefully extravagant

Sex sequel makes consumerism fun again

Posted on Wed, May 26, 2010 at 4:00 AM

Sex and the City 2
Director: Michael Patrick King
Screenwriter: Michael Patrick King
Cast: Sarah Jessica Parker, Kristin Davis, Cynthia Nixon, Kim Cattrall, Chris Noth
Release Date: 2010-05-26
Rated: R
Genre: Film

Don’t make a spectacle? Go fuck yourself. This is Sex and the City 2, for crying out loud. Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte, and Samantha are back in the (absurd, designer) habit and making no apologies. They’re also having fun again.

Devotees will recall that the first film based on the HBO series of the same title was kind of a downer. Carrie got left at the altar by her on-again-off-again amour Mr. Big, Samantha broke up with longtime boyfriend Smith Jerrod, and Miranda’s husband Steve cheated on her. In short, it was sadder than a permanent stain on your favorite vintage skirt.

The sequel might be a truly silly consumerist fantasy, but at least the sisterhood is smiling again. And who wouldn’t want to grin at the sight of Liza Minnelli performing Beyonce’s “Single Ladies” at the gals’ gay best friends’ wedding? Carrie (Parker) — the best man — sports a tux and a sinister-looking lace “hat” she must have inherited from a Hans Christian Andersen villainess.

In SATC2, our girl — the romantic, the writer, the one who wears crazy things, that we might not be so afraid to wear slightly less crazy things — has settled into married life with Big only to find that things might be too settled. The man who used to keep her on her toes (Noth, doing his best Jack Nicholson) now lazes about, a homebody who enjoys The Deadliest Catch and ordering in.

So when the always brazen Samantha (Cattrall) scores an all-expenses-paid trip to Abu Dhabi — don’t even ask — for the couture coven, Carrie Prescott née Bradshaw lunges at the opportunity for adventure. Charlotte (Davis) needs a little girl-time, too — namely a break from hiding in the pantry from her crying children. And Miranda (Nixon) ... well Miranda’s patched things up with Steve, quit her soul-sucking job, and is basically loving life, which gives Nixon the chance to beam scrunch-nosed joy and fist-pump instead of looking constipated. Bring on the camels and harem pants.

In the “new” Middle East (Morocco posing as Abu Dhabi), the luxury doused on the oohing-and-aahing-and-squealing ladies is unabashedly, distastefully extravagant. Do they really need four cars to drive them from the airport to the hotel, or brand-new Dior duds to romp around the desert? No, but SATC2’s director-writer-producer Michael Patrick King is putting on a show. He also claims to have wanted to give economically challenged American women a vacation, so think about that when you watch these four women who aren’t you order around their personal manservants and serendipitously run into hot ex-boyfriends in spice markets.

Love the Sex and the City franchise with a fervor to match Carrie’s obsession with shoes or loathe it as much as Samantha hates children in restaurants, there’s no denying these bitches make an impression. (The first feature film, released in 2008, made a $150 million-plus impression, and Hollywood took notice.) Face it folks, you don’t need me to tell you what you’ll get when you go see this movie: an exquisitely costumed desert musical. •

Sex and the City 2

Writ. and dir. Michael Patrick King; writ. feat. Sarah Jessica Parker, Kristin Davis, Cynthia Nixon, Kim Cattrall, Chris Noth (R)

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