When I first discovered the Sex and the City television series, I saw it as a tiny, little gift from heaven. This series about adult women looking for love and refusing to settle for anything less in the big, beautiful city of New York was as insightful as it was titillating. Being a young, single person myself at the time, I drew a lot of inspiration from the character of Carrie Bradhsaw. I know she’s fictitious and that her entire life is scripted but her pursuit of happiness, whether single or not, helped empower me to find strength as a single person as well. It’s been six years roughly since the series closed and I’m sad to say, the show that once inspired so many lost single souls to find their way has officially lost its own.
“Sex and the City 2” picks up the lives of Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte and Samantha (Sarah Jessica Parker, Cynthia Nixon, Kristin Davis and Kim Cattrall, respectively) two years after Mr. Big (Chris Noth) left Carrie at the alter only to have her channel her inner masochist and marry him anyway. At the time, the four leading ladies had said that they would not have even considered the first movie unless the story was one that warranted being told. I guess a “big” wedding is a natural progression of the story but I cannot see what exactly drew them back this time other than continued success in the only characters that have worked for them. Carrie’s marriage is getting stale; Miranda’s job is stressing her out; Charlotte is having a hard time with motherhood; and Samantha struggles to remain sexual during menopause. It seems to me that it isn’t her marriage going stale that Carrie should be worried about.
Writer-director Michael Patrick King directed some of the best episodes of the series but he needs the restrictions of television structure to control himself. The first film ran way too long and this one is no different. At a two and a half hour run time, even King knows that his old married people troubles are incredibly dull so he picks up the foursome and drops them in Abu Dhabi. Here, despite making respectful comments previously about the American economy, the ladies are immersed in extravagance. They each have their own car, their own butler and three separate costume changes for one simple lunch in the desert. Carrie runs into former lover Aidan (John Corbett), in a market randomly (that may be the most understated usage of the word “randomly” ever), and it isn’t long before she resorts back to being a 12-year-old. Story, or at least a remotely believable one, is no longer a priority for King, it would seem.
“Sex and the City 2” is like getting together with friends you haven’t seen in a long time to catch up over brunch. Sure, you’re happy to see them and sure you laugh some but when you leave, you know that your lives have grown apart and there is a reason you don’t see each other that often anymore. I am still single, unlike three of the four characters in this film. When I read on the screen that Carrie’s latest book was dedicated to all the former single girls out there, I couldn’t help but wonder if the show that once played like an anthem for modern singles everywhere had turned on its own and was now shunning those who hadn’t been lucky enough to fall in love. What once made me feel like being single meant a world of possibility was now reminding me that time was running out. And unfortunately, I had just wasted two and half hours of that time on this movie.
PS. Ladies, do not bring your men to see this movie. You might have gotten away with it last time; this time, they may break up with you.
Review by Joseph Bélanger