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Review: Sex and the City 2 *


Rom-com Starring Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, Cynthia Nixon, Kristin Davis, Chris Noth, John Corbett. Directed by Michael Patrick King. Cert 15A

When the first Sex and the City movie was released two years ago it could well have come with the pre-title statement: 'For those about to shop . . . we salute you', given that what followed over 145 minutes amounted to little more than a Gladiator, where guts and gore were replaced by extremely expensive gladrags and geegaws.

Although clearly not aimed at men, or indeed anyone with an interest in properly constructed movies, that shallow, vacuous vehicle for the promotion of vulgar consumerism somehow managed to haul in more than $350m at the box office, which made this sequel horribly inevitable.

The first movie was horrific: a badly written, appallingly acted piece of trite trash which stretched patience to the limit as a slim plot was dragged out for what felt like infinity. This is worse. Much, much worse.

Over the course of SATC2's two hours and 26 minutes (that's only a minute shorter than Apocalypse Now, just in case you were wondering) writer-director Michael Patrick King has somehow managed to demean and insult women, straight men, gay men and cause uproar among the more vocal Muslim lobby groups, something even Chris Morris couldn't manage with Four Lions. Truly, this film is an affront to humanity.

The plot, and I use that word in its broadest sense, is wafer-thin and hinges on how Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker) is now almost two years into her marriage to Big (Chris Noth) and rather disillusioned that after a hard day at work at the cutting edge of high finance, he's rather fond of relaxing on the couch, vegging out in front of the telly and ordering in the odd takeaway -- the monster!

Meanwhile, Samantha (Kim Cattrall) is behaving like some bimbo from Boozed-Up Brit Birds Go Bananas in Benidorm and worrying about hitting the menopause, which doesn't stop her from refusing to act her age, or delivering her atrocious lines as if she's wandered in from one of the latter-day Carry On movies. Honestly, how the line "Lawrence of my labia" or a character called Dick Spurt made it into this so-called script defies belief.

As for the Other Two, Red-Haired Skeletor (Cynthia Nixon) is having problems in her job as a high-powered lawyer while The Stupid One (Kristin Davis, who has the look of a perpetually confused child giving the impression that she's a competition winner who's somehow wandered on set) isn't coping all that well with her two young children and worries that her busty nanny, Erin, (Alice Eve, with an appalling Darby O'Gill-like Oirish accent) might be attracting her husband's eye.

After an hour or so of nothing in particular, apart from a gay wedding at which Liza Minnelli performs the ceremony (Hello, Lost Property? Did anyone hand in a will to live by any chance?), these four whining, neurotic no-marks head off to Abu Dhabi (yes, the phrase' Abu Dhabi do!' does indeed make an appearance) for a free holiday in other people's misery. There, Carrie magically bumps into her former beau Aidan (John Corbett) in a souk, prompting the least dramatic 'crisis' in the history of cinema.

Taking sitcoms out of their primary location never, ever works and the way SATC2 cack-handedly tries to raise the issue of how women are treated in Muslim countries while the main protagonists look like gone-to-seed transvestites on their way to a bingo session in The George is hilarious in its ineptitude.

Mind you, there was one vaguely promising moment when it appeared that these hideous harpies were about to be stoned to death in the street, but that quickly passed and the director soon moved on to his default mode of depicting women as shallow creatures who care about nothing but designer labels. A vile and truly terrible movie.