Sex And The City 2 (15)

view gallery VIEW GALLERY
1.00

Please don't Carrie on with this rot

Can anyone smell dead horse? Not enough that the makers of Sex and the City squandered what remained of the goodwill by cranking out a movie two years ago; now they have gone catastrophically into the red with a sequel that flogs the franchise into oblivion. The extra stink you'll notice derives from its sojourn in a "new and different" capital city, where the one-time fab four try importing their western liberal values – ha! – and cause grotesque offence to their hosts.

You can tell how empty of inspiration it is from the first scene. Requiring a hen-party-size event to kick things off, the film launches itself into a Big Gay Wedding, what's more a wedding between two characters, Stanford and Anthony, who always hated each other in the TV show. Too bad, they're the only gays in the franchise, so marry them off, and have Lisa Minelli conduct the ceremony. Isn't that a scream? (Not when you hear Lisa's voice it isn't). With that out of the way, Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker) gets down to some serious worrying about her own marriage. On the surface nothing much seems wrong. She and Big (Chris Noth) – or John, as he's now known – have chosen not to have kids, but they love each other, and she's got everything else she wants: money and clothes and a fabulous apartment and a new book coming out soon.

The smallest squeak of discontent comes on their anniversary, when she gives him a vintage Rolex and he gives her... a flatscreen TV in the bedroom. A piece of jewellery would have been nice, she admits, and then starts wondering if the "sparkle" has disappeared from the marriage. Being a Master of the Universe by day, Big wants to put his feet up with a take-away in the evening. Carrie wants to go out and party. (And, by the way, she doesn't like his feet up on the sofa). But when she does drag him out for a night, he ends up flirting with a hot Spanish babe (Penélope Cruz), and Carrie promptly drags him back home. When she decamps to work at her old apartment for two days (yes, she can still afford to keep her old apartment), Big suggests they extend the arrangement and have two days apart from one another each week. Big mistake.



New clip! Sex and the City 2

Meanwhile, there's trouble elsewhere in paradise. Charlotte (Kristin Davis) is now attached to someone even more annoying than she is – a toddler who cries all day – and legal-eagle Miranda (Cynthia Nixon) has a boss who can't stand the sound of her voice. Samantha (Kim Cattrall), the oldest of them, seems to be holding it together on a diet of pills and vitamins, which she believes will help her through "the change". Age, and the gravitational pull of age, is the enemy, and will be ever after if they continue squeezing out sequels. The envious looks the friends direct at Charlotte's twentysomething nanny (Alice Eve) focus inevitably on her voluptuous breasts. "There should be a law against having a nanny who looks like that." "Yeah," says Carrie, "the Jude Law." That's the funniest line in the film, by some distance, and I quote it only so that you won't have to sit through the remainder. Because the second half of Sex and the City 2 is all downhill.

Samantha's PR business attracts the interest of a Middle Eastern sheikh, who invites her to bring three friends on an all-expenses trip to Abu Dhabi. At this point I hoped that the sheikh would turn out to be Mazher Mahmood, who, hot from doing a number on the Duchess of York, would expose Carrie et al as the grabbiest bunch of spoilt freeloaders ever to holiday in the United Arab Emirates. But there's no need of him, because the writer-director Michael Patrick King does the job quite adequately on his own. However sickened you might occasionally have felt by the conspicuous consumption and product placement disfiguring SATC, at least the spectacle was confined to Manhattan, where it came with the territory. In Abu Dhabi it looks no more than an excuse for a greedfest, repulsively heralded by the four separate limos that ferry them from airport to hotel. Their suites are shrines to clogged wealth that would make Donatella Versace look understated; once installed there, handsome Arab manservants swarm about, tending to their whims, and costume designer Patricia Field outdoes herself in whipping up "creations" of breathtaking preposterousness.



Video: Sex and the City hits London

Costumes become quite significant in this milieu. Abu Dhabi is described to them by the sheikh as "a progressive city of commerce and culture", though once they clap eyes on a woman at lunch in her niqab they begin to realise that it's not that progressive after all. The thread of Carrie's marital discontent is lightly twitched when she runs into old flame Aiden (John Corbett), but the real trouble starts when Samantha lets it all hang out in public and the local men complain to the police. Even if you deplore the sight of women in burkhas and niqabs, you may also feel queasy about a bunch of American tourists behaving just as if they're at home and whining when their personal routine is inconvenienced. The scene of solidarity with the local women at the end is hugely condescending, and merely a belated effort to flog some more product. It evoked horrible memories of Bridget Jones doing that dance routine with the women inmates in a Thai prison. Hardly suprising to learn that the film-makers were non grata in Abu Dhabi itself (the Middle Eastern parts were shot in Morocco). So you see, there's not much good to be said for Sex and the City 2. There will come a point when people won't even feel like saying what a smart and funny TV show it used to be.

Arts and Entertainment
Matthew Healy of The 1975 performing on the Pyramid Stage at the Glastonbury Festival, at Worthy Farm in Somerset

music
Arts and Entertainment
booksThe Withnail and I creator, has a new theory about killer's identity
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
tvDick Clement and Ian La Frenais are back for the first time in a decade
Arts and Entertainment
The Clangers: 1969-1974
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Rocky road: Dwayne Johnson and Carla Gugino play an estranged husband and wife in 'San Andreas'
film review
Arts and Entertainment
Nicole Kidman plays Grace Kelly in the film, which was criticised by Monaco’s royal family

film
Arts and Entertainment
Emilia Clarke could have been Anastasia Steele in Fifty Shades of Grey but passed it up because of the nude scenes

film
Arts and Entertainment
A$AP Rocky and Rita Ora pictured together in 2012

music
Arts and Entertainment
A case for Mulder and Scully? David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson in ‘The X-Files’

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Impressions of the Creative Community Courtyard within d3. The development is designed to 'inspire emerging designers and artists, and attract visitors'

architecture
Arts and Entertainment
Performers drink tea at the Glastonbury festival in 2010

GlastonburyWI to make debut appearance at Somerset festival

Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister

TV reviewIt has taken seven episodes for Game of Thrones season five to hit its stride

Arts and Entertainment
Jesuthasan Antonythasan as Dheepan

FilmPalme d'Or goes to radical and astonishing film that turns conventional thinking about immigrants on its head

Arts and Entertainment
Måns Zelmerlöw performing

Eurovision
Arts and Entertainment
Graham Norton was back in the commentating seat for Eurovision 2015

Eurovision
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Hammond, Jeremy Clarkson and James May on stage

TV
Arts and Entertainment
The light stuff: Britt Robertson and George Clooney in ‘Tomorrowland: a World Beyond’
film review
Arts and Entertainment
Reawakening: can Jon Hamm’s Don Draper find enlightenment in the final ‘Mad Men’?
tv reviewNot quite, but it's an enlightening finale for Don Draper spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
Breakfast Show’s Nick Grimshaw

Radio
Arts and Entertainment

Eurovision
Arts and Entertainment
'Youth' cast members Paul Dano, Jane Fonda, Harvey Keitel, Rachel Weisz, and Michael Caine pose for photographers at Cannes Film Festival
film
Arts and Entertainment
Adam West as Batman and Burt Ward and Robin in the 1960s Batman TV show

Comics
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

    Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

    Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
    Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

    The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

    Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
    Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

    The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

    Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
    The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

    The future of songwriting

    How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
    William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

    Recognition at long last

    Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
    Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

    Beating obesity

    The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
    9 best women's festival waterproofs

    Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

    These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
    Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

    Wiggins worried

    Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
    Liverpool close in on Milner signing

    Liverpool close in on Milner signing

    Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
    On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

    On your feet!

    Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
    With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

    The big NHS question

    Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
    Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

    Thongs ain't what they used to be

    Big knickers are back
    Thurston Moore interview

    Thurston Moore interview

    On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
    In full bloom

    In full bloom

    Floral print womenswear
    From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

    From leading man to Elephant Man

    Bradley Cooper is terrific