Sex and the City 2 is dull and this dullness has a lot to do with the amount of time Carrie, Miranda, Samantha and Charlotte spend in the desert. Within the first quarter of the film, they are swept off to Abu Dhabi on a trip that is beyond luxurious. They have personal butlers, champagne and macaroons served under a silk canopy and a hotel suite with its own fully staffed kitchen, all the while they are situated in the middle of miles of sand dunes. Plausible!
Most of us who watched the show held little hope of having the apartments, wardrobes or endless brunches the characters enjoyed in New York - but the lifestyle was at least potentially obtainable - that is, with the help of a whole lot of maxed-out credit cards. Here we are in a big recession and, in my opinion, some of the blame should be shouldered by the Sex and the City franchise. SATC's answer? Step up the decadence, right into a realm enjoyed by a total of perhaps fifty people in the entire world. Absurdly funny as it is, this detracts from the characters' drama and makes it all the less relatable - not good when common ground is so crucial for Carrie to keep, well, carrying on.
Situated some two years later after the first film, Carrie is married to Mr. Big, but her relationship is thrown into turmoil when he buys a television for their bedroom. Miranda hates her job now that she's stopped hating Steve. Charlotte finds that having two children is trying, despite the around-the-clock nanny care. Samantha is going through menopause. The theme of the film is "rules" - Carrie wants to break the conventions of marriage, Miranda, the restrictions of her career, Charlotte, the ideals of motherhood and Samantha, the boundaries of age. As the women discuss breaking and remaking rules while in a country where there are some strict rules regarding women, there is a huge, decorated elephant in the room.
The friends talk about doing "what is best" for them and not what "society" tells them to do, without a smirk of self-reflection. The Sex and the City series has had a powerful influence on many women's relationships. Behind many an affair or divorce is the dissatisfaction bred by Sex and the City. Since the first episode aired, we have been gleefully encouraged to define ourselves by the four "types" the characters represent and make our life decisions accordingly. Just four? Talk about strict. Back in 1998, the creators flipped the switch on a treadmill of unstoppable status anxiety.
The show's central rule is: never be happy. These women are, first and foremost, consumers - and to be a truly dedicated consumer one can never, ever be satisfied. We must always want more. As Carrie opines that the married Mr. Big only wants to stay in and watch black and white movies with her, some sharp someone pipes up with, "Remember when you couldn't even get him to sleep over?" Even Mr. Big himself suggests something is constantly disappointing Carrie.
The trailer claimed that this sequel would reveal what happens after the happily ever after. What it really shows is that there can be no happily ever after. Not under the rules of this economy and not as long as we need to keep those fifty people in the world living in super luxury.