Sunday, July 21, 2024

Sex and the City 2: “Star Wars” for Women


Pow! Smash! “Sex and the City” is back. And don’t listen to any negativity. Despite an unwieldy length and way too much time spent in Abu Dhabi and at the gay wedding of all time, “SATC2” is a box office killer.

At Radio City Music Hall on Monday night, thousands of women gave the cast a standing ovation before the movie even started. They cheered, laughed and clapped all the way through. SATC 2 is “Star Wars” for women. And the way he was received by the audience, John Corbett as Aidan is Lando Calrissian.

The movie is also a gay Super Bowl, with Liza Minnelli performing Beyonce’s “Single Ladies” at the over the top Connecticut wedding of Willie Garson‘s Stanford Blatch to Mario Cantone‘s Anthony Marentino. The wedding is at the start of the film and goes on longer than the one from “The Godfather.” If you can get past it (especially the straight male companions of the women who will flock to the film), the story levels out. But be warned: there are swans and a male chorus singing show tunes.

“SATC 2” may seem like more of the same to the untrained eye, but it’s got a lot of nice touches and is more fully fleshed out than its predecessor. Also, Sarah Jessica Parker‘s Carrie — while still the central character– is offered more balance by the stories given to Charlotte, Miranda, and Samantha. In fact, my favorite scene in this film belongs to Charlotte and Miranda at the private bar in their lavish Abu Dhabi. The scene gives Kristen Davis and Cynthia Nixon their own space and identities. That plus Kim Cattrall‘s better than ever Samantha makes “SATC 2” a much better film in every way.

But then there is Abu Dhabi. The trip is part “Road to Morocco” (it was shot in Morocco substituting for Abu Dhabi), and part travel advertising. It’s kind of a mess and the episode goes on forever. “SATC 2” clocks in at two and a half hours. Good editing could have eliminated at least 20 minutes. It’s just unnecessary.

Randomly, I will tell you that Penelope Cruz makes a funny cameo. Miley Cyrus and Tim Gunn each play themselves in wave-by’s. Jason Lewis and Evan Handler don’t get enough screen time. There’s some gratuitous sex in the city, but it’s fleeting. And there may be an Arab or two who don’t jokes at their expense. Also, the costumes and apartments are just about as sumptuous as they can be: this is a New York fantasy even Woody Allen has not presented.

But mostly, writer/director Michael Patrick King delivers a movie that’s sympathetic to all its characters, doesn’t talk down to its audience, and celebrates honesty and spontaneity. Could I live without more of this? Yes. But there will be a third installment, you can bet on it.

PS Big lavish party last night at Lincoln Center, in a massive tent set up in Damrosch Park decorated like a Moroccan palace. All the stars were there, plus Matthew Broderick (‘natch), playwright Kenny Lonergan, Australian star Guy Pearce, and Gabby Sidibe. Chris Noth, of course, who plays Mr. Big, caused a stampede. SJP changed from her bright colored premiere frock to an elegant black lace dress. Warner chief Alan Horn’s beautiful daughter Cody came with her pal, “As the World Turns” actor Billy Magnussen. (They’re in a band together.)

More later…

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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