Shallow girls just want to have fun in 'Sex and the City 2' 

The women of “Sex and the City 2” live in a world I do not recognize, not because they are women, but because their most harrowing ordeals include the prospect of flying coach (oh, the indignity!) and stuffing travel bags with couture, haute and otherwise.

Marital indiscretions are rewarded with diamond rings. An all-expenses-paid jaunt to Abu Dhabi is just another day away from the office.

Sure, they have real problems. Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker), who finally convinced Mr. Big (Chris Noth) to surrender his bachelorhood in the first movie, is feeling the strain of domesticity.

Sex-obsessed Samantha (Kim Cattrall) is battling menopause. Charlotte (Kristin Davis) is racked with doubts about her parenting and the jiggly nanny (Alice Eve) who has taken over her home. And Miranda (Cynthia Nixon) is struggling to sustain a career.

Beyond that — and that, in this case, is trivialized by Michael Patrick King’s distressingly shallow script, which treats narcissism as an adorable quirk — they are consumerist caricatures.

During six seasons on HBO, and in its uneven but mostly charming big-screen debut, “Sex and the City” sprinkled estrogen-soaked melodrama with pointed humor. Its heroines led lives of privilege, but were never totally defined by them.

Here, their stories are told within the framework of a 2½ hour fashion show, with a pair of music videos — one showcasing Carrie and company’s take on “I Am Woman” — thrown in.

We are invited to drool over their wardrobes, posh digs and the attention paid by men such as the dashing Rikard Spirt (Max Ryan), whose nickname, Dick, is, sadly, played for predictable laughs.

Elsewhere, King fills the downtime with visual gags — close-ups of male genitalia in various states of arousal among them — to complement his wordplay, which seems more scripted than spontaneous.

As he did in 2008’s “Sex and the City,” King embraces excess.

Not that restraint was expected, but he, the women he nurtured through six HBO seasons, and the blandly underdeveloped men who drift in and out of their lives have lost all plausibility here.

Gone are the emotional honesty and sly self-awareness that informed the first movie. This time, the “City” girls’ world borders on surreal.

Some fans may yet relish the chance to live vicariously through Carrie and the gang as they suffer fortune’s slings and arrows in the lap of Middle Eastern luxury. Those expecting something more pertinent will likely find the trip unfulfilling.


Sex and the City 2

One and a half stars

Starring Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, Kristin Davis, Cynthia Nixon, Chris Noth
Written and directed by Michael Patrick King
Rated R
Running time 2 hours 26 minutes

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Staff Report

Staff Report

A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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