Movie Review: Sex and the City 2

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Movie Review: Sex and the City 2 (2010)
Director: Michael Patrick King
Cast: Sarah Jessica Parker, Kristin Davis, Cynthia Nixon, Kim Cattrall, Chris Noth
Plot: Carrie and the girls are back – hanging out and showcasing the latest apparel trends. Make no mistake, this movie is a film of fashion fantasy. And that’s about as far as it goes.

First off, I totally admit to not being the target audience for this movie. But that doesn’t mean that I can’t enjoy a good flick. Unfortunately, this movie falls flat on its face from a storytelling perspective. The conflict doesn’t even reveal itself until way late in the second act – lasts about 20 minutes, and then the movie ends.

So what’s the story about? It’s two years after Carrie (Parker) and Big (Noth) got married in the first movie, and Carrie’s written a book about being married for a year. They attend a gay wedding, Carrie and Big fight about him wanting to relax after a hard day at work (she’s a freelance writer and doesn’t have to go anywhere during the day – so of course she wants to go out when he comes home. But he’s been at the office all day. Dilemma).

Samantha (Cattrall) gets invited to promote a hotel out in the middle east, and of course brings all of the girls for another adventure abroad (noticing a pattern here in the movies). After a fashion travel montage, the girls are out in the desert learning about a new culture and basically soaking up the sun. Nothing happens plot wise for about an hour, and then Carrie runs into an old boyfriend. There’s your conflict.

Suffice it to say, if you were expecting clever writing or plot twists from Sex and the City 2, you will be sorely disappointed. The first movie was essentially an expensive / extended episode of the show (that, in my opinion, would have been stronger if they’d cut about an hour out of the running time) – and this movie follows suit. It’s about an hour too long to support the loosely thrown together plot, but that’s not the purpose of the movie. The magic of this flick isn’t in the storytelling – it’s in the reaction that it receives from female audience goers.

Attending a pre-screening of a movie that’s target audience is women (young and old), you make a few observations. First, all of the women in the theater assume that your girlfriend dragged you along to the movie, or that you’re gay. Because I don’t dress with style, they almost instantly disqualify the later of those two options. Second, the women in the audience react less to the plot than they do to the characters and the outfits.

I remember when the show was popular and everyone would say things like, “Oh that’s so Samantha,” and the point was that people identified with these personas that they created for the show. The audience can identify with the characters in the show, and experience their lives vicariously. This movie is the ultimate fan service, in this case. You identify with these female characters who wear these glamorous outfits and have these luxurious lifestyles, and you can live it with them. It’s a modern day princess movie. Only there are shoes instead of a prince charming.

After arriving at this revelation (sometime around the 30 minute mark), I was actually able to kick back and enjoy the movie with the audience for what it was – a fashion catalog. Starring you and your friends (again, vicariously).

This is never more apparent than when the girls first arrive in the middle east, only to discover that the entire Australian men’s soccer team is also staying at the hotel. While enjoying lunch out by the pool, the girls see the guys come back from practice sporting their speedos. There’s a montage of Australian soccer sausage shots that follows.

All in the movie, this movie isn’t going to win any awards for storytelling (or acting), but that’s not why you go see it. You go to see your friends (both in the movie and who’re coming to see the movie with you), experience glamor and fashion, and you go home. Maybe buy a new pair of shoes. Or a hat. That’s the purpose of this movie. And if you go in with that mentality, then you’ll have a good time.

If you’re expecting a plot even as simply constructed as a romantic comedy, then you’re going to be bored to tears. There’s no story here. There’s really no subtext (and trying to grasp subtext from the movie would probably ruin it for what it is – a fashion magazine). It’s just pretty clothes on girls.

If that’s your thing, enjoy. If not, then I recommend going to see Iron Man 2 again, or waiting for more summer blockbuster flicks.

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