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Pity the ‘City’

film_SATC2Girl ... the franchise is showing signs of menopause
Don’t get me wrong—you can’t walk away from Sex And The City 2 really hating it. It’s just that there’s not that much to really love in the sequel that finds Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker) and her gal pals (Kim Cattrall, Cynthia Nixon and Kristen Davis) returning for another big screen soiree based on the hit HBO show that spawned their celebrity.

True, I forgave the filmmakers for the first outing, which felt like a brutal fashion assault, if not a blatant reminder that our culture’s worship of thinness and glamour have, obviously, reached and all-time high. (Make that all-time low.) Frankly, it’s a bit baffling to believe that after decades of movement in womens’ rights that, in the end, as these Sex films suggest, it all comes down to getting the man—and the shoes. (Well, and the orgasm, which, actually, is a good thing.) To be fair, SATC 2 does have surprisingly good moments. The entire second half of the film takes place in Abu Dhabi and there were times when I found myself smiling—traces of those old Crosby/Hope road pictures (The Road to Morocco in particular) surfaced and the whole spectacle began to feel like a real buddy film. That was the intention but like other things in life, everything begins to sag. So, if you haven’t ventured out to see this romp, head to the Cineplex. (The film—HH—is meant to titillate after all, and we’re not supposed to take it seriously.) But first, grab a cosmo, because I have to tell what really pissed me off:

WHAT CITY?

Half of the movie takes place outside of New York City. This relocation trick didn’t bode well for Laverne & Shirley or Nip/Tuck and doesn’t make me moist here.

SAMANTHA

It’s enough. Cattrall is a stellar actress but her sex-starved Samantha has turned into an insufferable caricature. There was a time on TV when we revered this woman—she was ambitious, gutsy and not afraid to be a sexually liberated beast. Here, battling early stages of menopause, and the sudden lack of drugs to help elevate her libido—as if that truly is the only thing that matters to her—Samantha comes across as horribly desperate. A scene in a Middle-Eastern bazaar finds her tossing condoms into the faces of the disapproving men of the region. It’s intended to make a statement, I’m sure, but it just comes across as embarrassing. The Samantha we know today is far more over-reactive than the one we relished on the show. Pity.

GAY DAZE

Stanford (Carrie’s GBFF) and Anthony (Charlotte’s GBFF) get married. What unfolds is an insult to the LGBT population. The entire scenario is loaded with stereotypes. A gay men’s singing choir croons “Sunrise, Sunset” at the lavish inn where the wedding takes place. Mr. Big gets hit on by a guy. Liza Minnelli pops up—to officiate the ceremony and later perform. Really. Liza? Really. (Although, her rendition of Beyonce’s “Single Ladies” was, however, amusing.) Truth is, SATC, the show, never really made good use of its gay characters. They were always left on the sidelines to deliver punchlines whenever needed. (Mario Cantone is too good for that.) The movie doesn’t cure that. And after this wedding, methinks the SATC folks just consider gays one big joke.

MIRANDA

In the show, Nixon’s workaholic Miranda had sass. She was the cynic. Not here. Thanks to a domineering male boss, she loses her female mojo. This is rectified by the end of the film, but the Miranda we used to cherish isn’t anywhere to be found. This Miranda has devolved into an accommodating Nellie searching for a desert tan.

BOOBS AND NIPPLES            They’re lovely. They are. But here, less could have been more. Several scenes with Charlotte’s braless nanny prancing around are just silly.

AIDAN

John Corbett appears like a desert mirage. His Aidan and Carrie re-bond after spending years apart and moving on from each other. Is it me, or am I the only one who felt these two made a better couple than Carrie and Big (Chris Noth)?

CARRIE

Well, there’s actually a lot to like. One can forgive the occasional desperate pleas for connection with her hubby (Noth)—the duo seem to suffer the “terrible twos” of married life but really, Carrie, grow some balls; you’ll be OK. Yet, in the end, Parker, as Carrie, is able to balance what the script hands her while remaining true to her character. She’s still her own woman, even when she is fretting about wanting more out of her relationship. Carrie may be the best bet here, but after this two-hour debacle, it’s hard not to pity this City.

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