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Sex and the City 2: one giant air-kiss of a movie

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I'll just say up front that I was one of maybe three guys I saw in the entire theater at the screening of Sex and the City 2 — the other two looked like they'd have been happier getting vasectomies — and the audience around me seemed to love it. The woman in front of me pretty much live text-messaged the entire movie, costume change by costume change, which amounts here to roughly every third frame. (One shot of a walk-in closet prompted a collective moan.)

So if you loved the series and the previous movie version, let that be your guide. That will let me feel less guilty for wanting to claw out my eyes and ears. The main dramatic event of the first half of this 146-minute movie, no joke, is when Chris Noth's Big has the temerity to give Sarah Jessica Parker's Carrie a flat-screen TV for their marital bedroom. Good thing Kim Cattrall's Samantha gets an expense-paid trip to Abu Dhabi, where Carrie, Kristin Davis' Charlotte and Cynthia Nixon's Miranda fight the Islamic suppression of women by flashing cleavage, publicly groping a well-hung Dane, indulging in Caligulan luxury and karaoke-rocking "I Am Woman." (They're in Abu Dhabi, but during this last scene I felt like I was in Abu Ghraib.)

There are a couple of affecting scenes in this giant air-kiss of a movie: the best has frazzled moms Charlotte and Miranda confessing their deepest insecurities as mothers between sips of liquid courage — one of the only moments that threatens to burst the characters' sitcom straitjackets. The feeling I can't escape is that writer-producer-director Michael Patrick King loves women as dress-up dolls and divas and dispensers of bitchy wisecracks — i.e., as a drag act — but not so much as women. One addition here is a nanny, played by Alice Eve, whose body is treated with dumbfounding contempt. Watching this, though, I felt new sympathy for my wife the time I dragged her to see Army of Darkness.

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