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Sex and the City 2(2010)
Although for Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte and Miranda domesticity is turning out to be all they'd wished for, it's not long before the girls are yearning for something/anything to break the routine. Luckily for them, a little spice, this time in the form of a glamorously exotic adventure, proves to be just what the girls need to recharge their batteries.
For more about Sex and the City 2 and the Sex and the City 2 Blu-ray release, see Sex and the City 2 Blu-ray Review published by Kenneth Brown on October 28, 2010 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.0 out of 5.
Starring: Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, Kristin Davis, Cynthia Nixon, Chris Noth, David Eigenberg
Director: Michael Patrick King
» See full cast & crew
Sex and the City 2 Blu-ray Review
"In fashion, some days you're in, and some days you're out. Let's start the show..."
Reviewed by Kenneth Brown, October 28, 2010
Let's skip the long, convoluted back story of how I came to watch all six seasons of Sex and the City. Let's skip the awkward admission where I explain exactly why -- and just how much -- I enjoyed the series. And let's definitely skip the part where I try to save face and blame my wife for our six-season tromp (especially when I was the one who got her hooked). Let's just say of all the fine gentlemen who work here, I'm probably the guy series devotees, in-the-closet fans and grumbling husbands want reviewing the critically panned, much maligned Sex and the City 2. If nothing else, I came to it with high hopes, brushing aside its awful reviews and chilly audience reception. I thought the first Sex and the City film, while far from perfect, was an entertaining extension of the show. It needed a more decisive editor, played like half-a-season, and untied and re-tied too many loose ends, sure. But nestled within all the big budget nonsense and episodic frivolities was a movie with heart; a fun and filling epilogue that, at the very least, justified its existence. Unfortunately, the same can't be said of returning director Michael Patrick King's Sex and the City 2. Aimless, derivative, unfocused, contrived, spotty, hollow and largely inconsequential, it's a bloated, nearly unbearable misfire that offers little and goes nowhere fast.
For the better part of an hour, Sex and the City 2 tiptoes along without a sense of purpose. After attending a gay wedding to end all gay weddings (complete with performances by arbitrary master of ceremonies Liza Minnelli), the ladies' lives slowly unravel. Successful columnist and author Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker) finally becomes what she was always destined to become -- a nagging wife -- while Big (Chris Noth) regresses further, expressing more interest in old movies and flat-screen TVs than his increasingly frustrated wife. Miranda (Cynthia Nixon) quits her job after being shushed once too many (yep, that's what passes for conflict this time around) and attempts to adjust to unemployment. Samantha (Kim Cattrall) turns to vitamins, hormone-laced creams and, of course, young men in an attempt to keep her wrinkling skin smooth, but finds it difficult to grow old gracefully. And Charlotte (Kristin Davis), struggling to raise two kids, begins to worry her husband (Evan Handler) might be attracted to their nanny (Alice Eve). Surprised? I wasn't. It doesn't feel like much has changed in Carrie's little slice of New York, and to spend an hour retreading old ground is as boring and uneventful as it sounds. The film meanders, lulls and skids to a stop, conventional melodrama and unnecessary cameos are exploited for laughs that never come, and the story itself -- the fabulous foursome take an impromptu vacation to Abu Dhabi -- is a campy, wince-inducing slog that aims for relevance (Upper Eastside Manhattan meets the Middle East) but falls painfully short. (Uncomfortable class and culture clashes are always hilarious, right? Right?)
Sex and the City's oft-overlooked fifth mistress -- the city herself -- is given second billing this time around, which is a real shame. The series rarely neglected New York (and the first film only stepped away from her for a thankfully brief, unexpectedly organic jaunt to Mexico), but Sex and the City 2 flees Manhattan screaming, dropping its fickle elitists in the middle of the desert and asking them to come to terms with life's problems thousands of miles away from their lives. From there, it's all Australian soccer jocks, burqa gags, dune-hopping high rollers, inexplicably high fashion (which somehow fit into the girls' luggage, billowing designer gowns and sequined shoes alike), in-tune Karaoke sessions, self-referential humor, overtly sensitive hotel butlers, cheesy innuendo ("Lawrence of my labia" and junk-jokes of its ilk), contemplative walks along the beach, staged pratfalls and dry slapstick comedy. Worse, Carrie miraculously runs into an old flame (fan-favorite John Corbett) halfway across the world -- a ridiculous development that could have easily occurred in New York before she went on vacation -- Samantha offends an entire marketplace of Muslims, Charlotte whines incessantly and Miranda is apparently just along for the ride (and to serve as Samantha's lawyer when she's arrested for PDA). So much time is spent on so little (yet another hour actually) that I began wishing for a cinematic reprieve. By the time a group of repressed locals reveal their inner-American-fashionistas, I was staring longingly at the clock.
Is there any saving grace? The last ten minutes provide a sweet, heartfelt ending to a startlingly shallow sequel (for those keeping track, ten minutes amounts to a whopping four percent of the film) and King's dialogue, trite and obvious as it tends to be, occasionally scores a welcome laugh. There are even meaningful scenes between Carrie and many of the other characters (Big, Charlotte and her thoughtful Abu Dhabi butler among them) that tower above the rest. Otherwise, the credits are the best part of Sex and the City 2. Carrie and her besties are underdeveloped, the men are terribly underused and the entire flick could have easily been condensed into a series two-parter (with time to spare). I know different people will have different reactions to the sequel -- some may find the airy, saccharine story to be a harmless, somewhat delightful bit of self-indulgent fun -- but most series and film fans will walk away shaking their heads. Reluctant husbands and boyfriends will be put to sleep, anxious wives and girlfriends will be thoroughly underwhelmed, fashion junkies will balk at the costume-y clothes that litter the latter half and Bradshaw disciples will be left wondering how a second sequel could go so horribly wrong. Does the franchise have a viable future? I'd like to think so. Against all odds, the characters are still likable, their relationships are still interesting, the spirit of the series is still strong... well, so long as you stick to the show and the first film. Sex and the City 2 is an uneven, hit-or-miss anomaly. Stick with everything that came before and pray something better is yet to come.
Sex and the City 2 Blu-ray, Video Quality
Sex and the City 2 shuffles down the runway with a serviceable but problematic 1080p/VC-1 transfer; an unreliable, at-times unremarkable presentation that doesn't leave a lasting impression. First, the good. Colors are every bit as bold and garish as series fans have come to expect, the encode itself is largely free of troubling digital anomalies (artifacting, banding, ringing and the like), and decidedly decent detailing transforms many a closeup into a well-resolved, wrinkle-peppered round of "Guess Her Age!" The film's high fashion is blessed with reasonably preserved fine textures as well, and edge and object definition is fairly satisfying throughout. Sadly, the image unravels a bit as the same issues pop up again and again. Skintones range from bronzed to flushed to outright overbaked, and that's primarily when Carrie and her friends are still in New York. (Surprisingly, the girls look more natural beneath Abu Dhabi's searing sun.) And while black levels are generally nice and rich, minor crush is a frequent offender and oily shadows hamper delineation. Other complaints? Noise spikes here and there, soft shots are common, slight smearing is apparent in several scenes and contrast isn't quite as consistent as one might hope. Be that as it may, no one issue emerges as a debilitating distraction and the whole of the transfer manages to impress. (My video score drifted as low as a 3.0 at one point, but a second look warmed my heart a little.) Though I doubt it'll dazzle anyone, it gets the job done.
Sex and the City 2 Blu-ray, Audio Quality
"Serviceable but problematic" is also what I'd use to describe Warner's DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track. Dialogue is crisp, clean and full on the whole, but sounds slightly muddy at times and a tad metallic at others. And while prioritization is on point more often than not, voices occasionally hover above the soundscape, noticeably detached from the otherwise lively experience. Thankfully, everything else is more engaging. Rear speaker activity is the highlight of the mix, and nary a scene goes by in which listeners aren't enveloped by chattering crowds, busy streets, mingling party-goers, distant traffic, ocean breezes, bustling Abu Dhabi marketplaces or Aaron Zigman's score. The film's flamboyant ambience isn't always convincing per se, and acoustics are a wee bit unreliable, but in Carrie's whirlwind world, it actually works. LFE output is more subtle, yet just as effective when called upon; pans are silky smooth and directionality is relatively accurate; and punchy dynamics, for better or worse, imbue the mix with rhythm and some much-needed momentum. If Carrie and her squawking sisterhood had a more organic presence in the mix, all would be well. However, as is, Warner's lossless track is... you guessed it, serviceable but problematic.
Sex and the City 2 Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
The Blu-ray edition of Sex and the City 2 slinks by with a generous, albeit fairly forgettable supplemental package. Director Michael Patrick King helms the disc's best feature, an earnest but awkward "Audio Commentary" in which King tiptoes from scene to scene, slowly but surely assembling an oddly passive defense of his critically panned sequel. Everything else amounts to an increasingly disappointing downhill slide. "So Much Can Happen in Two Years" (HD, 26 minutes) is a lengthy but belabored conversation between King and actress Sarah Jessica Parker, "The Men of Sex and the City" (HD, 29 minutes) finds King and actor Mario Cantone discussing the various loves of the ladies' lives, "Styling Sex and the City 2" (HD, 15 minutes) looks at the fashion that graces the sequel, "Marry Me Liza!" (HD, 8 minutes) offers a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the filming of a complicated scene, "Revisiting the '80s" (HD, 4 minutes) dissects the film's opening flashback sequence and a "Behind the Scenes with Alicia Keys" promo (SD, 3 minutes) plugs the film's soundtrack.
Sex and the City 2 Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Until now, Sex and the City has always surpassed my expectations. The series caught me off guard and entertained my wife and I to no end, and King's 2008 film retained enough of the show's magic to keep both of us hungry for more. But Sex and the City 2 feels like an afterthought; a cheesy, melodramatic, overstuffed, underdeveloped, 146-minute shoulder-shrug that fizzles long before its credits roll. The sequel's Blu-ray release is more fulfilling, but barely. With a flawed video transfer, a somewhat unreliable DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track and a bland batch of special features, there's just enough here to justify the cost of a rental. Ultimately, even if you love Sex and the City, approach this steaming sequel with caution.
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Sex and the City 2 Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Sex and the City 2 Announced on Blu-ray - August 10, 2010
Warner Home Video has announced the New Line film Sex and the City 2 for release on Blu-ray on October 26, in a BD/DVD/Digital Copy combo pack. This sequel to the film adaptation of the successful TV series grossed just $95 million domestically, well short of the ...
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