AWFJ Women On Film – “Sex and the City 2” – Review by Susan Granger

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The fabulous foursome – Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker), Samantha (Kim Cattrall), Charlotte (Kristin Davis) and Miranda (Cynthia Nixon) – become Ugly Americans when screenwriter/director Michael Patrick King plops them in Abu Dhabi, breaking Muslim laws and abusing Arabic hospitality.

Two years after Carrie married Mr. Big (Chris Noth), she’s become a whining shrew. Stressed-out Miranda is chafing at her boss’s chauvinism. Distraught mother Charlotte is dismayed when her perfect Irish nanny (Alice Eve) bra-lessly flaunts her lucky charms. And public-relations guru Samantha is battling menopause at 52. So when an admiring sheik offers Samantha and her Manhattan friends a luxurious vacation in exotic Abu Dhabi, they board his private jet with hedonistic alacrity, toting tons of sexy, glamorous Chanels, Diors, Lanvins, Ralph Laurens, Christian Laboutin shoes and glitzy ‘bling,’ thanks to stylist Patricia Field.

After enduring economic hardship, Samantha coos, “We need to go somewhere RICH!” Channeling “Aladdin,” Carrie envisions the Middle East “just like Jasmine…but with cocktails.” It’s a decadent Abu-Dhabi-Doo, Bed, Bath and Bedouin adventure. If this were just flamboyant escapism fantasy, that would be fine, but the frolicking, self-indulgent, privileged fashionistas, particularly Samantha, so blatantly mock local mores and trivialize customs that that must don burquas to escape.

Don’t get me wrong. The United Arab Emirates has major faults: antipathy to Jews (Charlotte reverts to York, her maiden name, rather than reveal her married name of Goldenblatt) and repression of women (a big musical number finds them defiantly warbling Helen Reddy’s “I Am Woman” at a karaoke club). But when one decides to go to the UAE, its culture must be respected, and flippant, frivolous filmmakers are not welcome. So shooting actually took place in Morocco, where they should have set the frothy story.

As a celebration of female friendship, despite diverting cameos from Penelope Cruz, Miley Cyrus and Liza Minelli, officiating at a campy, gay Connecticut wedding, on the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Sex and the City 2” is an overly long, superficial, shallow 6. Their closets have been updated but not their sensitivity.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.