Few people will challenge the fact that HBO‘s hit TV series Sex and the City has become a pop culture icon, so it is no surprise that the TV-to-film movie sequel Sex and the City 2 has been so widely promoted and anticipated by fans. Few television series have the level of influence that SATC enjoyed; the powerhouse foursome of friends, played by Sarah Jessica Parker (Carrie), Kim Cattrall (Samantha), Cynthia Nixon (Miranda) and Kristin Davis (Charlotte), had sway over everything from hot fashion trends, to book and magazine popularity, to the rise of a pro-woman attitude in a new generation of viewers. The question is simple: Can a TV-to-film success story such as Sex and the City continue to deliver what the fans fell in love with by way of movie sequels?
In a word: Abso(beeping)lutely!
I had read numerous, non-spoiler reviews about Sex and the City 2 before ever arriving at the theatre today, so my anticipation was tempered by lingering doubts. Little did I know that, upon leaving the movie and sitting down to write this article, I would have nothing but praise for the SATC 2 cast, writers and producers.
Unlike in the first Sex and the City TV-to-film adaptation, the ladies of the cast seemed to actually be enjoying their on-screen reunion. Rumors of bad blood and reluctance to work together between stars Parker and Cattrall plagued the first Sex and the City movie hype; on-screen, something of the original chemistry seemed to be missing. Perhaps it was merely the bleaker plot themes of the first SATC movie; this new chapter in the lives of the girls is overall a much more light-hearted and festive adventure, even with the marital problems between Carrie and Big, Charlotte’s struggle with Motherhood, Miranda’s crappy job and Samantha’s war against menopause.
The nostalgic charm of the opening scene, which featured Carrie in a voice-over explaining how each of the fearsome four met-complete with hideous 80’s fashion-felt like a welcomed homecoming to the world fans came to love during the six seasons of SATC. The storyline takes the characters to a wedding in Connecticut between the “best gay friends” of Carrie and Charlotte, with Carrie serving as best man in a tux ensemble; apparently, Parker forgot to lose the crimping iron between scenes, the under layer of her tresses very much rocking the 80’s look. In other words, look for a rush for crimping irons at local department stores.
The soundtrack of Sex and the City 2 is absolutely phenomenal, complete with eastern tunes when the ladies are in Abu Dhabi. Big-name musicians frequent the soundtrack, namely Alicia Keys, Jennifer Hudson and Erykah Badu. A lovely performance by Liza Minnelli performing Beyonce’s “Single Ladies” is the highlight of the “gay wedding,” second only to the fabulous foursome singing karaoke with “I am Woman,” by Helen Reddy.
As always, the fashion was top-notch, with my personal favorite of all the chic ensembles being the Christian Dior “newspaper” dress Carrie wore on her date with Mr. Big (view a picture of this dress here); this dress first made an appearance in Season 3 according to The Insider, making Sex and the City 2 very recession-friendly on the designer styles. The only disappointment came with some of the larger gemstone-loaded accessories the ladies wore; one cluster, statement piece on Samantha during her meeting with the Abu Dhabi representatives, made me want to halt the scene and assault her necklace with a polishing cloth to remove the smudges.
The biggest question on the minds of SATC fans seemed to be whether or not the storyline would continue in an entertaining–and logical–manner. The first movie left the audience pondering the longevity of Carrie and Big’s marriage, considering their first attempt at nuptials found her alone at the Church. The previews of SATC 2 indicated that-shock-once again, the happy couple wasn’t so happy. Much of the drama for Carrie in Sex and the City 2 is a conflict many couples experience after moving in together: One of them is a homebody, and the other is a socialite. Carrie craves more of “the sparkle” in their relationship.
Once in Abu Dhabi, Carrie encounters fan-favorite Ex Aiden, better known as “the one who got away.” Previews hinted at a torrid affair, which would rock the foundation of Carrie and Big’s two-year marriage. The reality is a kiss, at the end of a dinner date Carrie was warned strongly against by marriage-guru Charlotte. This “disaster” causes her to phone Big, confessing everything, and yet the ordeal doesn’t ruin the rest of the girls’ vacation. Even the temporary loss of Carrie’s passport doesn’t prove to be much of a challenge for the women-in fact, none of the crisis situations in the lives of the foursomes proves to be difficult to solve; even Charlotte’s concerns about her bra-less Nanny are conveniently eliminated by the woman’s sexual preference in the closing scenes.
The best scene of the movie, if audience reaction is to be considered, took place between Miranda and Charlotte in Abu Dhabi. The two, who happen to be the only mothers among the characters, confessed their difficulties with motherhood. This included a subtle shout-out by way of toast, to all of the Mother’s “out there” who raise their children without help; a nice tilt of the hat to the fans who are parents.
In the end, I am completely satisfied with Sex and the City 2, and I found it to be even better than the first movie adaptation–even if the plots seem watered down and the drama wraps up at the end of the film. The movie continued many aspects which made the HBO show a hit in the first place: taboo topics, politically incorrect behavior, pro-womanhood and sisterhood. At one point Samantha declares to the other three women: “We made a deal ages ago-men, babies-doesn’t matter. We’re soul mates.”
The Insider, “What SJP Wore”