In "Sex and the City 2," Four Friends Stumble on Their Stilettos
By CBS News' Karina Mitchell
NEW YORK (CBS) Two years after the first "Sex and the City" made a $400 million killing at the global box office, the sequel has been rolled out.
Ladies everywhere are getting ready to step into high gear, pulling out their most fashiona ensemble, and donning those sky-high stilettos to make a night of hanging with their favorite foursome.
The fact that "Sex and the City" has as its base these salivating fans who just can't get enough of the women and their clothes is probably a good thing. They are the only ones with stamina to get through this weary two-and-a-half- hour production.
The jury is still out on whether writer-director Michael Patrick King should have bothered dusting off the girls' Manolos for another adventure, especially after the euphoric ending every gal was rooting for last time around. I'm referring to Carrie and Big's wedding, of course. After all, some memories are best left alone, neatly packed away in designer shoe boxes in the back a closet.
What King opens with this film is more like Pandora's box than a shoe box. Two years after we left them, the women are a little older and maybe a little wiser, but find themselves unnerved by a plethora of problems that, frankly, neither they nor the script have the time or inclination to deal with.
Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker) and Big (Chris Noth) have discovered that marital bliss is wearing thin and perhaps the two are growing apart. He likes to stay in, order take-out and watch old movies on his HDTV. She, most certainly, does not. Adding insult to injury, he suggests they spend a couple of nights a week apart.
Charlotte (Kristin Davis) meanwhile, is a married mother of two, who discovers that her kids instead of being little angels, are a pair of undisciplined devils, who have the nerve to ruin her Valentino skirt while baking in the kitchen.
Miranda (Cynthia Nixon) is equally frustrated being a wife and a mother with a job she detests, even though she's worked her tail off to get it. Even the wickedly witty Samantha (Kim Cattrall) isn't able to escape the pressures of the real world - menopause is turning out to be a real killjoy for her libido.
The women's dilemmas provide only the sub-context to the larger story - an exotic adventure to Abu Dhabi. When Samantha is approached by a billionaire Arab sheikh to come up with a publicity campaign for his conglomerate, she decides to take him up on his offer of setting her and her friends up for an all-expenses-paid sojourn to the luxury emirate.
From the second the four land in the desert, they give new meaning to the word "decadence." Glamor and glitz prevail, ahead of any story line.
Carrie finds herself squarely entrenched in another quandry - the appearance of her old flame Aiden (John Corbett), who boldly declares upon encountering her in a crowded bazaar that she's "the best mirage I ever saw." Carrie finds herself with a tough decision; it's good her friends are along for the ride.
The irony of these fiercely feminist interlopers landing squarely in the midst of a male-dominated society is not lost on the writer, who paints, at times, an irreverent portrait of Muslim society.
There are some very funny moments such as when the four sing "I Am Woman" at a karaoke club and when a group of burkha-clad women "come out," revealing designer duds under demure robes. And the film does pay homage to at least one Arabic custom: "A veil is better than any Botox," Samantha says.
Cattrall delivers in her role of a defiant, aging nymphomaniac and has some of the cleverest dialogue in the film.Parker is as crisp as ever with her quips, but overall, the movie's over-the-top style supplants substance.
A cameo by Liza Minnelli, singing at a gay wedding in Connecticut, at the film's start, doesn't bode well. But Penelope Cruz in her cameo is a scene stealer and the addition of Miley Cyrus s sure to draw in an even younger female demographic.
Whether King decides to go for the trifecta remains to be seen, but for now, loyal girlfriends everywhere are pouring themselves a Cosmo to toast their fashion heroines' return to the big screen.
Look for all the film's exotic secrets to be unveiled at theaters nationwide, starting today.
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