For avid Sex in the City fans, I have to sadly report that the long awaited sequel was a bit like “jumping the shark”.  Of course, in the true spirit of the series, it had the usual glamour, the gorgeous fashion (although some WAS a bit too much), the wonderful friendships between the four women, and it updated us on what married life is like for Carrie and “Big”.  Unfortunately, for those of us hoping for a plot we could sink our teeth into, this was not to be.

The beginning of the movie was actually a lot of fun, doing a sort of retro thing, Carrie takes us back to how and when she first met Charlotte, Miranda and Samantha.  It was quite hilarious, actually, and it really made you think the movie was off to a great start.

The movie kicks into high gear with an enormously over the top wedding for Stanford and Anthony.  It’s touching and humorous in parts, but mostly I found myself wincing and slinking down in my seat as Liza Minelli did a rendition of Beyonce’s “Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It)” as an after wedding performance.  It was pretty painful to watch her using the same moves as Beyonce does in her video.  I know Liza was great in her time, and she still has great legs, but in my opinion, it’s not the sort of thing I want to see her doing.

Carrie starts to realize that her married life has settled into a sort of hum-drum routine, with no “sparkle”, Miranda is feeling very taken for granted at her job, Charlotte is feeling the pressures of motherhood overwhelming her, and Samantha is struggling with aging and menopause, but not going down without a fight.

Other cameos besides Liza Minelli include Miley Cyrus, who shows up to Smith Jarrod’s premiere in the same glittering cocktail dress as Samantha, and Penelope Cruz plays a banker who flirts with and chats up “Big”.

As the girls decide to take the plunge and make their way to Abu Dhabi (first class all the way, of course), things come up, such as Charlotte worrying about Harry cheating on her with the nanny and Carrie pondering over “rules” for marriages and what is appropriate and what is not.

When they arrive in Abu Dhabi, you instantly start to get a sense of the movie just being plain overdone and everything starts to look like a fantasy Disney movie.  It’s all just way too much.

Miranda instantly becomes a motivated planner during their trip, and I have to say, it’s nice to see her smile so much and have such a zest for life again.  It’s a side to her that I really enjoyed watching.  Charlotte becomes obsessed with reaching Harry, to ensure he is not cheating with the nanny.  Samantha’s vitamins and hormonal supplements get confiscated which leads to low libido and hot flashes.  Carrie is still pondering how to be married and still have sparkle when she runs into ex-boyfriend Aidan at a marketplace.

Things quickly go south from there.  They REALLY could have done without the scene where the four women get up and sing “I Am Woman,” on karoake.  HORRID.  What’s worse, is that they actually overdubbed and smoothed out all the wrinkles in their voices to have this overproduced, cheesy sound.  NOT a good moment for the usually fabulous ladies.  They could have at the very least picked a better song.

One of my favorite parts in the movie, is an ironically touching moment where Charlotte and Miranda confide in eachother about the hardships of parenthood.  It’s really wonderful, as throughout the series, they had always been at odds with eachother, especially about that particular topic.  It’s heartwarming to see them coming together and bonding over it.

And then… it hits bottom.  Carrie and Aidan kiss and she completely freaks out, not knowing if she should tell Big and worrying that she will lose him if she does, Samantha gets arrested for inappropriate behavior (gee, couldn’t see that one coming!), and as a result of Samantha’s arrest, the Sheik drops his business with Samantha and they have to high tail it out of the hotel in a hurry!  Carrie decides to tell Big about her kiss with Aidan and he responds by cutting her off and not speaking to her.  After lots more cheesiness and a lot of crazy stunts (like Samantha losing it in the middle of the marketplace and flashing condoms at the conservative Muslims), the finally get on the plane to go home.  Whew!

Back in New York, Big is no where to be found.  Carrie sweats it out.  Meanwhile, Charlotte finds that she is happy to be home after her break, Miranda finds that she CAN be a lot of fun, and Samantha is only too happy to have her vitamins back!

Big finally returns…. it’s a very good part of the movie, so I won’t spoil it, but it helps to make up for the previous lack of meaning throughout the movie.

The movie ends the usual Carrie way, with her insight and showing some changes in the lives of the four women, but somehow you left the theater feeling like if they were going to go to the trouble of making a sequel they really should have done a hell of a lot more with the two and a half hours that they wasted telling us nothing we didn’t already know.

All in all, Sex in the City fans, I would wait until it comes out on DVD.  There are some great laughs, and some good moments, but it’s an unfortunate fact that we really could have done without this sequel.