Tuesday, June 1, 2010

"Sex and the City 2": 3 out of 4 martinis

I sat in a dark theater with some of my favorite gal pals this weekend and was whisked away into the world of Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte and Miranda. "Sex and the City 2," the highly-anticipated sequel to the 2008 juggernaut, was everything it promised to be: a fantasy, an escapade, a good romp. And like a good martini (or for that matter, good sex), it was very satisfying.

SATC2 follows the fab four two years later: Carrie and Big are settling into marriage, Samantha is confronting every woman's hot-flash-of-a-nightmare: menopause, Charlotte is trying to be the perfect mother of two young children, and Miranda is struggling with balancing a career and motherhood. Life in the urban jungle is starting to get mundane and the girls realize they need a vacation far, far away. Cut to Abu Dhabi, where the foursome is transported to a decadent oasis complete with camel rides through the Arabian desert, Maybachs for each girl, and handsome manservants (er-- butlers).

What I loved about this movie is what it wanted to give the audience: a rip-roaring, good time. There isn't a moment during the 2 1/2 hours (yes, it was pretty long but worth every minute) where you're bored. In fact, it leaves you wanting more. More clothes! More shoes! More cocktails! I also appreciated what SATC2 accomplished: making what everyday women talk about really matter. Like marriage (how do you define it and how do you make it work?), motherhood (there are days when a mom feels like everything she does is a failure) and being a modern woman (it means something different for each of us). Set against the backdrop of the Middle East, and you've got the ingredients for an interesting conversation, especially about sex.

There were a few things I could have done without: a cheesy karaoke scene (the girls singing "I Am Woman" was super corny, not super chic) and a run-in with a group of Louis Vuitton-wearing Muslim women (I know the filmmakers were trying to make some kind of feminist statement, but it didn't work). And I wished New York had more face time (really, it should have been called "Sex and the Desert.")

Though the critics are tearing it apart ("Naturally, it's tougher to keep the veneer from cracking with the gal pals settling into their 40s and, in Samantha's case, very sweaty hot flash 50s. Everything about their lives has become so tame it takes a trip to Abu Dhabi for any of them to seem outrageous at all," says the LA Times), I think they've missed the point. The girls have evolved. They've moved on. They're not the same women we got to know from the HBO series, and thankfully, they've all "grown up."

What's amazing to me is that these women are pushing into midlife (Cattrall, at 53, is already there) and they are redefining "fabulous." The ingenue has got nothing on these women. They are truly showing the world that the 40s (and even 50s) are the new 20s and 30s.

Though it didn't top the first movie, I still highly recommend all you Cosmo-loving gals to see "Sex and the City 2."

My rating: 3 out of 4 martinis.