SEX and the CITY 2

Directed by Michael Patrick King (written by Candace Bushnell)

You always see a "Directed by" at the top of film reviews, but this evolving Manhattan ms. franchise really doesn't need it. The lissome lovelies flock to the second go at the fab four whether they have a director or a wombat or a carp on the line.

Looking behind our first-row seat, the audience was a throng of pretty, well-togged-out femmes in full summer regalia. (All the men were next door, at ROBIN HOOD. Where Maid Marion held sway with passion, brilliance, self-possession and a mean sword-swing under that knight's mask and chain-mail alongside her brute guttural he-man, Russell Crowe/Robin. RH is not bad at all, either. For those who favor Ridley Scott epics on horseback, arrows in flight and burning-thatch rooves.)

According to my impromptu survey in the ladies room, where all the real dish is served up with mascara and antiseptic gel, this one is "better than the first movie" since it has "a lot more humor, a lot more making fun of themselves."

And eye-boggling fashion and—yes! Shoes! Femmes have a guilty pleasure we rarely get to exercise, busy as we are with kids, work, paying bills, running out to buy ice cream…the rent-a-lives we mostly manage by juggling and breathing shallowly. But this film allows us the lo-o-ong luxe of staring at insanely expensive clothing and footwear for 2 ½ hours, dressed up in the haute couture lives of Upper Eastside dames in marriages Carrie, Charlotte and Miranda) or bed (Samantha), on the job, and in (Meerhabah) Abu Dhabi ("Dubai is so over!" One dark-complected Middle Eastern male exclaims to the girls in a nightclub, a bid to convince PR maven Samantha to promote his client to fame as she has done with her boy-toy from the first movie, and many TV episodes. She–no surprise—accepts. For the four of them. And off we go to the land of unct, fabulosity and camel races.)

Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte and Miranda have fashion savoir faire to beat the band. And they have the right to wear any wacko thing the stylists and studio honchos predict will make the rest of us, well, drool. So what if the get-ups these franchisees don along with their micro-minis, bra-tops-showing lingerie, hareem pantaloons and nose-bleed stilettos hardly make sense in the desert, or at home watching TV? We go to SATC to see what we could be living, doing and wearing if we had endless shekels and massive closets without end. And what would we do if we bumped into an old flame, Aiden (John Corbett), in the souk?

Who cares if they change clothing far more frequently than the luggage they bring along to the umpteen-star hotel could possibly fit? Is this a chick flick? Is the Pope fluent in five languages and live in the Vatican?

One of the chief pleasures aside from hair-do changes and lightning wardrobe plunder is, to hypothesize what a psychologist might opine, the friendships that glue these four women. Possibly it stands in for all the unconnected singles who depend on their girlfriends for so much strength and support when everything is city-life frustration, irks and murks.

The film makes room for a gay wedding (Liza Minnelli sings and dances! Swans loll serenely! The Vienna Boys Choir in white tuxes warble!), marital spatlets, troubles with children even in perfect fantasyland, and a few real issues that real people are bothered by. Nannies threaten. Married lady

Even though we just came from the desert–North Africa isn't that different from Abu Dhabi–and those dunes look painted, and the dromedaries are exceptionally young and clean, and the movie chintz'ed out to put two women on each camel instead of one per, and nobody wears those things in that heat, and the white-burnoosed locals in the souks were far too oblivious to these frankly out-there underdressed and over-exposed American babes on the cuff, still, this is exactly the kind of escape that lots of females will pay samoleans for. We are, psst, all shopaholics under the Masters and PhDs.

Do they get away with the outlandish and frankly loony-tunes? Frankly, Samantha (the putative oldest) rocks her minis and thigh-highs, even arrayed next to 17-year-old Miley Cyrus, on the same red carpet photo shoot, in the same dress.
The first go-round of SATC made, hear ye: $500 million. This one will pull in more. At the credits, the audience at this canned film spontaneously clapped.

Will any straight man go to this? If his woman drags him, maybe. Mostly, this is a venue to attend if you're single and you'd like to meet a caravel-load of unescorted hotties. And shukhran for the tip.


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