Picking up two years after the first film, Carrie steps back into the Manolos to show us what life married to Big is like, and along the way we see Charlotte struggle with motherhood, Miranda attempting to find balance between her work life and home life, and Samantha determined to defy biology and defeat the menopause. This forms the basis for a rather weak plotline; it feels rather more like an extended (much too extended, clocking in at two hours and twenty six minutes) episode of the television series, albeit with notably more outfits. Perhaps this is why Michael Patrick King decided to shake things up a little and move Carrie and co to Abu Dhabi.
This move was a peculiar decision, as New York herself was almost like a fifth member of the quartet throughout the series. Unfortunately, the cultural difference between traditional Muslims and, er, Samantha, was rather like treading delicately on expensive Tiffany watches. Flocks of Westerners holiday in the United Arab Emirates each year, but while places like Dubai have become popular for their rapidly modernising cities and sun drenched beaches, this makes it easy to forget that public displays of affection are still heavily frowned upon, if not banned in some parts. Thus Samantha’s man eating ways are not only not accepted in Abu Dhabi, but they are illegal; yet rather than adhere to Muslim tradition while visiting another culture, she flouts etiquette and flings condoms around instead. Should we be supportive of her stance for supposedly suppressed women’s rights? Or embarrassed that she waltzed into Abu Dhabi and blatantly disrespected Muslim culture and custom? Or just too distracted by the stream of designer outfits to notice? Speaking of which, a group of fully robed Muslim women then invite Carrie and co behind a beaded curtain, where they whip off their niqabs to reveal glamorous designer outfits worthy of Carrie’s closet; is this what women’s liberation is? Western fashion?
In fact, never mind the ‘are they/aren’t they ridiculing Muslims’ aspect, the frolicking Irish nanny that evokes a barrage of rainbow sprinkled, tin whistle twinkly music every time she bounces (literally ... you’ll see) onto the screen drew far more wearisome moans. Oh, and let’s not forget a gay wedding that, while visually beautiful, cranked out every gay stereotype in existence. In fact, there are few genuinely realistic moments; one was a very touching conversation between Charlotte and Miranda about the struggles of motherhood, and the fear of being an inadequate parent, reminding us what made the television series so great – the friendship.
It’s certainly not going to win any Oscars, but at the end of the day if you take it for what it is – two and something hours of escapism and over the top fun – you’ll contentedly munch your popcorn and remind yourself that realistically, nobody lives as lavishly as these ladies, so there’s no need to despondently ask God why you weren’t chosen to be given a walk in closet stocked with goodies more expensive than most people’s houses. Liza Minnelli also deserves an honourable mention, even if it’s just for doing a cracking good dance routine at her age.