Sex and the City 2 (R) ★★★

Everyone’s Favorite New York Girls Are Back and Better Than Ever!

Ladies, if you want to glam it up with your girlfriends, grab a cocktail and lose yourself in the ‘fantasy fashion world’ for two and a half hours, then this is the film for you! Our New York girls are back and do they ever look marvelous! Sure, they’ve matured since the beginning of the TV series 12 years ago, but so have we. Their latest adventure includes an over-the-top wedding, a fantasy vacation, girlfriend heart to heart talks and of course, the ‘to die for‘ wardrobe. The new film is upbeat, funny and pure heaven for fans.

From the beginning, the HBO TV series, ‘Sex and the City’ has created a devoted fan base. I’m admitting loud and clear that I am one of those fans. At the time, I was raising my own children in the suburbs attending football games, cheerleading practice and little league games. You name the sport – chances are that one of my three children participated. My daughter even took fencing lessons! My point is that those hectic ‘kid days’ of driving car pool, washing uniforms, baking treats, etc.. were balanced by my escape time with Carrie and friends. I always looked so forward to losing myself in the fantasy show that centered on friendships, shoes, clothes, cocktails, fabulous restaurants and lavish New York events. Guys, this is what SATC is all about. It’s that simple.

The new film does not disappoint as all of the basic elements are there…and they’ve been gloriously upgraded. Carrie has 48 outfit changes spanning from Louis Vuitton to Chanel. The accessories alone are worth the price of admission. My favorite: Samantha’s YSL earrings! ‘Brilliant’ as they say in London. Costume design by Patricia Field had a wardrobe budget of 10 million dollars. She spent it well as the lavish clothes are as crucial to the film as the stars themselves.

SATC 2 opens with Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker) returning to the year 1986 giving us a peek at the time when she meets her three girlfriends for the first time. The retro clothes and hairstyles bring back so many memories. This scene is also very comical as each girl dresses according to her specific role in the show. Samantha (Kim Cattrall) is portrayed as a bartender with a funky jean jacket and bleach faded skinny capri jeans. Carrie is shown with a white, off the shoulder sweater and leggings. Miranda (Cynthia Nixon) is hysterical with a bright-red, short, bowl haircut, business suit and gym shoes. Very funny!

The girls meet at Bergdorf Goodman to buy wedding gifts for Stanford (Willie Garson) and Anthony (Mario Cantone). The next scene is in Connecticut at a gorgeous country inn. The courtyard is decked out in an over-the-top fantasy wedding theme complete with a 16 member men’s choir on risers, a bridge with swans swimming below in a pond and a very tall, elaborate wedding cake sprinkled with jewels.

Carrie is Stanford’s Best Man and wears a stunning black tuxedo. Stanford, the fashionista, is dressed in an all white Dior suit with a bow as a tie. The scene between Carrie and Stanford before the wedding sets the tone of the film as she questions Stanford’s choice regarding the name (Carrie Preston) on her boutonniere. In reality, Mrs. John Preston longs to maintain her identity as Carrie Bradshaw. This tender time between the duo is one of my favorite scenes. Carrie is very open with Stanford about her feelings and Stanford helps smooth over the situation in manner that any very close friend would. What’s amazing to me is that in (real life) Sarah Jessica and Willie are the best of friends. They text each other constantly during the day and have known each other since Garson viewed Parker on the New York stage in a production of ‘Annie.’ Certainly, this fondness and caring of one another transfers to the big screen.

Liza Minnelli conducts the wedding ceremony and performs a lively rendition of Beyonce’s ‘Single Ladies.’ The addition of Minnelli is perfect! Audience members cheered and applauded during her performance; she’s thoroughly enjoyable and entertaining.

After the wedding, the girls are shown in their own life challenges. Carrie is concerned about her independence and keeping the sparkle in her marriage. Miranda, upon reaching the pinnacle of her career as a lawyer, is disenchanted with her atrocious boss and quits. Samantha is dealing with menopause and aging in general. Charlotte finds motherhood a difficult job even though she has a full time Irish nanny (a Kathy Ireland look-alike).

When Samantha is offered a vacation of a lifetime in Abu Dhabi all expenses paid she quickly gathers her three girlfriends and before you can say, “Lawrence of Arabia” the girls are shown boarding Saudi Airline in first class. Upon arrival to the hotel that looks similar to the Taj Mahal, the girls are indulged with spa treatments, individual private butlers, pool cabanas, camel rides and amazing nightlife. The only shopping scene occurs in the market in which Carrie buys a pair of shoes for the astounding price of $20.00. It is here where she surprisingly meets her former boyfriend, Aidan (John Corbett). They plan dinner together and that is only the beginning of Carrie’s problems as she’s also left her passport at the market.

A touching scene between Miranda and Charlotte occurs when they have a heart-to-heart girl friend conversation in Abu Dhabi while drinking Martini’s at their hotel room’s private bar. They both confess that while motherhood is wonderful it’s not everything its cracked up to be and in reality, extremely challenging. This scene and the earlier scene between Stanford and Carrie are what make this film worthwhile. Fans who have grown up with the TV series continue to watch these films because of the friendships, problem solving and overall general support.

The soundtrack is woven through the story line and adds immensely to the over all mood. Alicia Keys’, ‘Empire State of Mind’ Part II is fantastic.

Michael Patrick King is back as writer and director; he’s been with the series since the beginning. His vision for this film included a fantasy vacation so fans could live vicariously through the girls and get away for a while. The wedding scene was written to create a Broadway show feeling and to add entertainment value. The script is also comical and light.

Bottom line– SATC 2 will not disappoint loyal fans as the film stays true to the original storyline and simply tries to up the game.

Sarah Adamson © May 2010