Long after Liza Minelli’s cameo appearance in Sex and the City 2, I picked up my cell phone and began to text. A sign? Definitely. The text message about Cristiano Ronaldo’s Vanity Fair cover was more entertaining than the adventures of Carrie, Samantha, Miranda, and Charlotte in Abu Dhabi.
As the third chapter in one of the biggest franchises of all-time, Sex and the City 2 picks up two years later. The clothes are still fabulous (the outfits might have even been the best part of the movie) and the girls are still living the high life in New York. Although you would never guess that Sex and the City is all about our four heroines given the intensely phallic opening sequence that pans over the New York City skyline. But I digress.
Miranda is still the hard working attorney, struggling to balance her career and family. Her husband’s affair that blighted the first movie is merely a thing of the past; it is like it didn’t even happen. Samantha is still the sex-crazed publicist on the prowl, except now she is fighting off menopause. Charlotte is being driven to tears by her two young daughters and she thinks that her husband might be attracted to the braless Irish nanny. And Carrie and Big? They are stuck “somewhere between wild sex and a baby.”
To pull our leading ladies out of this rut, Samantha conveniently makes friends with a sheik who offers the ladies an all expenses paid week long trip to Abu Dhabi. The UAE is nice and all, but when the girls leave New York, it is not the same Sex and the City anymore.
While they are there, the girls process their lives. Charlotte and Miranda bond over motherhood and take pity on the mothers who raise their children with no help at all. (How kind of them.) Samantha’s hormone therapy is confiscated, she meets a sexy Danish architect, and has a hot flash or two. And Carrie’s ex, Aidan, magically appears (of course) throwing everything off course. One kiss in Abu Dhabi and the world comes crashing down.
There are some priceless moments though. Their mad dash from Abu Dhabi is quite enjoyable and the four character’s friendship is as endearing as always.
But the trip becomes is a sideshow. The film is a wayward Western promotion of women’s rights. A scene at a karaoke bar where the girls sing “I am women” had me cringing. (My friend who did not know the context of this song loved it.) Arab men in the film become awful caricatures catered towards an ignorant audiences preconceived (and false) understandings of a Muslim country. Is it is funny when Samantha Jones loses her cool and throws condoms into a crowd of Arab men. Yes, if what you find funny is a character’s complete and utter disrespect for a culture that is not like her sex driven parade of everything.
Will it surprise you that everything works out smoothly in the end? It is Sex and the City after all. Nothing truly bad ever happens. Samantha regains her libido and even has a stateside rendezvous with the architect. The Aidan issue disappears faster than a desert mirage. Carrie is “forced” to wear a big, black diamond to remember her vows and things with Big are better than ever. Miranda joins a law firm that appreciates her so she can now successfully manage work and family. And Charlotte’s nanny? She is conveniently a lesbian.
Oh, and one last thing. I never want to hear the phrase “Lawrence of my labia” uttered ever again. If this is what movie dialogue has come to, I might as well crawl into a hole with my Katharine Hepburn-Spencer Tracy movies and die.