- Released Internationally on 28/05/10
- Released in Malta by KRS on 28/05/10
Preview (Published 01/05/10 in VIDA magazine)
The four femme fatales from New York are back. After they decided to wring some more money out of the brilliant TV series with the big screen version two summers ago, the generally good response set the stage for more tales of fashion and romance in the posh sections of Manhattan. The first film stuck to the winning formula that made the series so successful, and it appears that so will this one, albeit with a trip to the desert thrown in. This seems like a good idea, to prevent the film from feeling like a double-length TV episode, as it very easily could. A few celebrities will pop up as cameos to add further big-screen power, including Liza Minnelli and Miley Cyrus, huge female stars at either end of the age spectrum. Cameos aside, however, the series’ fans can rest assured that the four golden girls will all be there, along with nearly all of the regular supporting cast, and with the show’s writer and director still in his plush driving seat.
Abstinence and the desert
There are some interesting plot developments in this latest outing from the female fab four, but they're definitely not enough to fill an entire film. In fact it's quite telling that this would have made a quite interesting 45-minute episode, to add to the many excellent ones that came before it. But to make it to the big screen a second time these love and life lessons are padded with endless filler material and the result is a bloated, self-congratulatory exercise in excess.
All the single ladies
The films starts off disastrously, with a gay wedding that defies everything the two characters in question said throughout the series. It's so obviously an excuse to cram another wedding into the plot that even the guests are surprised. Liza Minnelli makes a cameo appearance as herself, officiating at the ceremony - which is sort of like asking Guy Fawkes to put out your chip-fan fire. The audience then has to sit through an unabridged musical number where Minnelli belts out Beyoncé's finest, though to her credit (or that of the post-production team) she looks and sounds quite with-it.
Less sex, less city
Thankfully, things eventually start rolling, and after the stuttering initial scenes we return to some proper drama from the lives of these four women with attitude. Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker) is having trouble getting used to married life, and her partying plans contrast with the lazy, cosy, evenings that Mr. Big (Chris Noth) wants to spend with his bride at home. Samantha (Kim Cattrall) is trying to cheat her body out of menopause, and despite her increasing wrinkles she wrangles a cocktail of hormones to keep her libido blazing. Charlotte (Kristin Davis) has two adorable little girls, but they are starting to drive her crazy, and her reliance on the resourceful nanny is tinged with a hint of worry about the effect the nanny's bountiful chest area might be having on her husband. Miranda (Cynthia Nixon), as usual the more career-oriented of the four, is struggling at her law firm, where female dominance is still not the norm, and she finds her personal life struggling as a result.
Princesses of Persia
The solutions to all these problems might lie outside New York, however, and the girls end up on an all-expenses-paid luxury trip to Abu Dhabi, courtesy of Samantha's business connections. Most of the film's action unfolds there, and the break from their newly adopted routines helps the girls realise where their priorities truly lie. The choice of setting is a clever one for the filmmakers, with the sparkling city matching New York in the opulence department, while the strict religious boundaries jar with the foursome's (or rather, Samantha's) ideas about how to enjoy yourself on vacation.
In the end
Ultimately, things do reach neat and satisfactory conclusions, albeit via a tortuous (for us) route. The product placements were always a part of the series, but here they've reached occasionally ridiculous heights, including one during the flight to the Middle East which would have seemed blatant even if it was an actual advert. There's also the usual focus on fashion, including an interesting local twist, and yet another musical number, this time in the form of a painful karaoke session. With three of the four wonder-women happily settled, it's inevitable that the focus of the plotline has veered away from sex considerably, but maybe that should have been a hint to end the franchise earlier. After milking this cash-cow for all its worth, creator Michael Patrick King has now chopped it up and served it as kebabs. For the sake of all the excellent episodes that came before, I hope that this is the end of the line.