Sarah Jessica Parker is now 45 years old, and frankly I cannot stomach another moment of the simpering, mincing, hair-tossing, eyelash-batting little-girl shtick she's been pulling ever since L.A. Story. While her BFFs struggle on with work/life challenges (Miranda), child-care dilemmas (Charlotte), and cougar body-maintenance (Samantha), Carrie Bradshaw carries the movie's big-ticket question: How do you hang onto your marital bling once the newlywed bliss is over, especially if you don't want children and your husband has turned into a homebody? Why, talk it to death in ever-decreasing circles of inconsequential angst, then head for Abu Dhabi. There await the four F's—fashion, food, furnishings, and fornication—plus scads of cringe-making Middle Eastern stereotypes wrapped in a nominal shout-out to oppressed Arab women who, guess what, like Versace and suffer from hot flashes just like us. Having raked in $400 million for the first SATC, Michael Patrick King can write his own ticket, which may explain why SATC2 runs a crushing 146 minutes of not very funny gag-lines wrapped in episodic mini-scenes that generate more embarrassment than sympathy. I get that "Dignity be damned" is some kind of feminist mantra for King. But it's one thing to create pop icons as beloved as Mary Richards and Rhoda Morgenstern were in the late 1970s. It's quite another to drag them well into middle age, dress them like mutton passing as lamb, and lumber them with female troubles culled straight from mommy and single-lady blogs.
Kim Cattrall, at least, plays a grown-up.
Opens at Guild 45 and other theaters, Thurs., May 27. Rated R. 146 minutes.