Fans of "Sex and the City" should think twice if they assume this will be a tidy continuation of the first movie - or an extension of the fantastic TV series. The release of "Sex and the City 2" on DVD found this reviewer hoping to embrace the opportunity to see where the much loved characters' story arc's are taking them as they ease into their 40's and 50's. Yet, just as the series "thirtysomething" had a self-imposed time sensitivity that limited it's chance to conclude these arcs, "Sex and the City" should have taken a bow and ended on a high note after six tightly written seasons and the relatively acceptable big screen follow-up.
Through a number of casual "round table discussions" I've had with fans of the series who watch it again and again, I've concluded that this film missed all the marks for a number of reasons:
1. The City - where is it? Due to the restaurants, condos, parks, boutiques and streetscapes that were given to us each episode, we love New York even if we've never been there . Instead, we're given a two hour travelogue for United Arab Emirates - an exotice locale, but one that is most definitely out of reach for the average viewer. The opulence may well have been on the mark - but New York opulence can never get old... let the girls roam through the post credit-crisis Big Apple and show us the city we've grown to love in this new economic reality... we can handle seeing the scars.
2. The Sex - well with the exception of Samantha... they're all married, so not much to see here. And that was the point of the show wasn't it? Add that reality to the girls being in a foreign land that feigns on public affection... well you get the point. While this hair-brained idea might have worked well around the writing table, the reality didn't play out well on-screen. In fact, it just made the whole "sex" thing in UAE uncomfortable for everyone, viewers included.
3. The Girls - do these girls talk to each other more than once every 2 months? It seems as if they aren't communicating outside of their Sunday brunches. They have iPhones/Blackberrys and the like - why the surprised look when one drops a bomb to the other over brunch?
4. The Guys - men are bad, we get it Michael Patrick King. Except for the Indian butlers in UAE, they're cool. And why was Smith Jerrod's screen time so minimal, I was hoping for something more considering the weight his character had in the series.
5. Due Dilligence - this may require a SPOILER ALERT - but if Samantha is being given a carte blanche trip to UAE with all her friends, you'd think her host would lay down a few ground rules ON CAMERA so that when she breaks one of them later in the film, we are led to believe this has been discussed, and there is a legitimate reason for her red carpet to be pulled out from under her. It seemed trite the way it was presented, the series was much better at building the back story to situations like this.
6. Reality - The series played a vital and relevant role in disseminating the pulse of New York to the world. As stated above, even if you don't live there, having watched the series you had a vested interest in "the City". This film failed to deliver the reality of New York as it so succesfully did during its run on HBO. Considering the wave of changes the financial centers of the world have gone through since the last film was released, an opportunity to present this new reality in the confines of the "Sex and the City" subtext would have been a welcome continuation. Instead, we are given this fantastical, off-putting travel show that isn't grounded in a reality that the majority of the viewers are capable of experiencing.
This could have been so much better, while the product warrants a single star, two are given for keeping the dream alive. Hopefully it ends here and we can just forget about #2 and re-watch the series and #1 for the years to come without any further diversions.