I’m not a Sex and the City fan. I haven’t seen the original series (outside of a brief clip here and there), nor have I seen the feature film adaptation. I walked into the screening of Sex and the City 2 with no knowledge on the saga. I was surrounded by estrogen (which included my mother), only with a small ounce of testosterone to be found. I braced for the worst, as the opening credits rolled.
When the end credits rolled, I breathed a sigh of relief. Not only did I make it through Sex and the City 2, I rather enjoyed myself. I may have found flaws in it, but the overall experience was a good one. I laughed at a good amount of the jokes and tolerated the characters (though Samantha was growing weary). I was pleasantly surprised.
For those like me unaware of the chronicles of the four New York gals, the story goes as such. Discovering new life in New York, four strangers became friends for life. They were inseparable, never leaving their friends behind. As is the way of life, time goes on. You grow up, get married and start a family. You see your friends less, as your time is occupied with your spouse and work. Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker), Charlotte York (Kristen Davis), Miranda Hobbes (Cyndia Nixon) and Samantha Jones (Kim Cattral) are not immune to this. Three of the four are married, while two of them have children. They spend more time apart from each other than they ever have. The only time they get to fully hang out is when they attend their gay friends’ wedding (Mario Cantone and Willie Garson).
This is all about to change. When one of Samantha’s clients, Jerry ‘Smith’ Jerrod (Jason Lewis), hits it big with his latest movie (which was filmed in Abu Dhabi), they get to take a vacation, just their four of them. Though their families are left back in New York, their problems follow them. Carrie and her husband, Mr. Big (Chris Noth) are having troubles with how they view their marriage, while Charlotte is worried that her husband, Harry Goldenblatt (Evan Handler), will cheat on her with the voluptuous and bra-less nanny, Erin (Alice Eve). Miranda just quit her job and Samantha is struggling with growing old (to make matters worse, her hormone medication which help her feel younger have been confiscated, leaving her dry for a full week). As friends, they all pull together to help each other out and have a good time.
This doesn’t sound like it’d interest me, but it did. That’s largely due to the connection that the four friends have. It’s not hard to believe that they’ve been best friends for a long time (working together for nearly twelve years doesn’t hurt). They have a genuine bond that only true friends have, that makes their adventure worthwhile and enjoyable. When they joke around with each other, you laugh along with them as if you’re their friend as well (though I don’t see the vision of me being their friend possible considering I know zilch about fashion). I loved the chemistry they had together, leading me to love their ventures together.
I also enjoyed a good amount of the jokes dispensed here. Writer/Director Michael Patrick King has a knack for character-driven quips, not allowing the jokes to overshadow the characters of the plot. He also has a knack for tasteful gay jokes (a rarity). Some of the biggest laughs come in the beginning of the film when Carrie and her friends attend their gay friends’ wedding. Mario Cantone and Willie Garson’s mannerisms elicit hearty chuckles, while the over-the-top wedding extravaganza works tremendously. Getting Liza Minnelli to unite the couple in marriage was icing on the cake.
Not all of the jokes work, however. The gay jokes may be tasteful, but the wisecracks regarding the Abu Dhabi and their lifestyles (mainly their marriages) aren’t. Cruelly mocking other cultures rarely, if ever, makes me laugh. It makes me cringe, instead. It’s a cheap shot below the belt that’s unnecessary and shows the writer’s creative constipation. It’s saddening to see this displayed by King, since he can, and did, distribute favorable and tasteful jokes. The cracks at their marriages in particular was disheartening considering the film’s main stance on treating each individual marriage differently.
The marriage overtone plays another big job in a gripe I had with the film. The usage of two separate cheating suspicions is unnecessary and harmful to the plot. The first one to be introduced is Charlotte’s suspicions about her husband and nanny. Considering she is a supporting character, this isn’t delved into greatly, just minimally. Halfway through the film, Carrie meets up with her ex that almost wasn’t, Aidan Shaw (John Corbett). This provides a major pot hole in Carrie’s marital dilemma. At first I felt this was tacked on and unneeded. As time went on, I discovered it was the other way around. Charlotte’s cheating subplot was the tacked on cabal, while Carrie’s was moving the story along. The structure and direction of these two are what ruin both of them, leaving a sour taste in my mouth.
Nonetheless, I was pleasantly surprised with Sex and the City 2. I loved the connection the four friends had and there were enough jokes to keep me engrossed. The inclusion of too many subplots, especially those that revolve around the same subject, did tamper my enjoyment. As did the tasteless jokes about the Abu Dhabi lifestyle. I was able overcome those downfalls and enjoy myself. If you’re a fan of the series, you shall be able to do so as well.