Sex and the City 2: The Quickening (2010) dir. by Michael Patrick King
Starrin:g Sarah Jessica Parker, Chris Noth, Kim Cattrall and Father Time
By Blair Stewart
I recall watching the first "Sex and the City" movie in a half-empty gravel courtyard on a ratty screen showing a used 35mm print along the shores of the Adriatic. Slouched in a plastic lawn chair, drunk on Karlovačko with the heavens above me and a fine lady by my side, my eyes occasionally glanced at the on-screen circus before I would drift back to the Milky Way's brushstroke and Orion's belt above.
The film, as they say, was not my cup of tea.
Move forward several years and despite the advances in digital film presentation the theater I was in couldn't project a clear Croatian night-time sky along the ceiling as I watched "Sex and the City 2". If only, if only.
Picking up two years after their successful heist of the Lindbergh baby (as I seem to recall), Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker) and her gang of upper-lower-eastside-westside Manhattanite B.F.F.'s Miranda, Charlotte and Samantha (Cynthia Nixon y Kristen Davis und Kim Cattrall) from the HBO show team up to whinge about their frenzied relationships, workplaces and the lousy Mexican/Korean/Puerto Rican help raising their kids. As Carrie grows distant from the hairdresser's dummy that is her husband (Chris Noth cruising along in 2nd gear and squinting to read the cue cards just off of the 'A' camera sightlines) she joins her gals in a runaway trip to Abu Dhabi to shop passionately and talk about penises. Cue that Alicia Keys song about 'Newwwww Yorkkkkkk' to highlights scenes of 'life lessons' and 'friendship' with all the subtlety of clanging death.
Sadly the film was released over a year after the 'global downturn', therefore making "SATC2" as out-of-touch with the mainstream line as Norman Mailer hanging out with 1978 gutter punks at Max's Kansas City for a Ramones gig. "Sex and the City" once mattered when the audience could still pay their bills, now it just seems wasteful. Regardless of reality our plucky gals still buy the fancy shoes and make awful puns, like the traumatic moment when Cattrall cracks the line of "Lawrence of my labia" and I had to leave the theater due to the whooshing sound of my deflating genitals. Exacerbating the patchwork script is Michael Patrick King's episodic direction-lots of reaction shots, lots of montages, lots more sound and fury. I'd bitch some more but I'm tired of swinging a crowbar at this corpse and I can tell from the confidences of a few "SATC" fans that this is a watered-down version of the original they once loved.
Only in two moments could I understand the initial draw of the TV series from the results on film; in the scene where Charlotte and Miranda speak frankly of the anxieties in raising children as career women, and in the later stages when the girls are clued-in to the hypocritical nature of a decadant modern Middle East where women are kept invisible. A little more sharp writing as the motherhood scene attests, a little less Liza Minnelli-singing-at-a-gay-wedding cliches, and perhaps "SATC2" would have dragged itself out of the used clothes bin.
My gal also wanted me to tell you I liked this film more than the above review claims, but she's just a catty, lying slut.
Sex and the City 2 is available on Blu-Ray and DVD from Warner Home Video