D/W: Michael Patrick King. DP: John Thomas. Starring: Sarah Jessica Parker/Kristen Davis/Cynthia Nixon/Kim Cattrall/Chris Noth/John Corbett/Maz Ryan/Raza Jaffrey/Evan Handler/Willie Garson/Mario Contone/Alice Eve/Liza Minelli. (NOTE: Based on the characters by Candace Bushnell and television series by Darren Star.)
The second sequel to hit cinemas this summer returns audiences to a certain city that houses and accessorizes a certain group of sexy single ladies. Although not altogether single anymore, these women are surely still stuck on each other. And sadly so.
The second film in the now Sex and the City franchise, drops audiences right back into Manhattan, but only to take its stars somewhere else. That somewhere else happens to be Abu Dabi, India. The capital of the United Arab Emirates, the film was actually shot in Morocco with Abu Dabi clearly not consulted in the making on the film. Obviously an excuse to shoot in a lavish set, the locale somehow overtakes and debilitates the film’s story. A story that is so thin and simple everyone in the audience will walk out wondering what exactly what the purpose was of what they just saw.
Ultimately, the theme of Sex and the City 2 seems to be orientated around the concept of coping. How will Carrie (Parker) cope with the evolution of her marriage? Will her and Big/John Preston (Noth) be able to cope through life with just the two of them? Can Samantha (Cattrall) cope with menopause? Can Miranda (Nixon) cope with standing up for herself and facing the consequences? Will Charlotte (Davis) be able to cope with motherhood? Of course, as these characters stories have continued they have each open new chapters in their lives. Moving past their initial days on the Sex and the City series. Yet shouldn’t their organic sense of feminism stay the same?
For some reason, maybe since Sex and the City 2‘s storyline is so thin, the women and their friendships come off as caricatures. Each falling into habits and a space that seems only derivative of the show. Added to this is a sad amount of offensive humor that should make anyone in the audience blush and shake their head. In this era where education, knowledge, and communication is at our door step it is shameful to not actually take the time to learn about religions, cultures, and parts of the world that aren’t our own. Especially when these ignorant ideas are to be broadcast to others. This also goes for the use of the American women in the film (in addition to the depiction of the Arab women). I could go on and on here, but I cannot even validate spending time unpacking the amount of offenses here. But I can say that these offenses make it impossible to enjoy and be entertained by the Sex and the City 2. Even as the fashionable fluff the film attempts to be.
But, what is primarily disappointing about this film is that it retails very little of the core themes of the 2008 HBO series. Sex and the City was celebrated as a (finally) a television series focused on not only women, but also women leading their own singular and career driven lives. The four main characters struggled with modern notions of success, romance, sex, and marriage (including children). And although the show was a great exploration into the scales of female friendship, it also was truly able to destabilize common assumptions about gender, socialized roles of women, and of course, sex. Sadly though, this sequel suffered what half of the first film suffered (and even some parts of the series). Sex and the City 2 runs amok with all the opportunities the franchise and producer/actor Parker has at her fingertips. Churning out a fashion clogged, one-liner written, and strikingly (and stereotypically) offensive film. Which is even more surprising as writer/director King helmed both films and was an executive producer and sometimes director on the series. Begging me to wonder. What would Carrie really think of all this?