By John Mulderig
Catholic News Service
NEW YORK (CNS) — The skewed values on display in the romantic comedy "Sex and the City 2" (New Line) — writer-director Michael Patrick King’s follow-up to his 2008 big-screen adaptation of the long-running HBO TV series — are typified early on when its main character and narrator, New York-based columnist turned author Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker), serves as "best man" at the lavish "wedding" of two male friends.
Having settled down herself at the conclusion of the previous feature, Carrie is battling the stay-at-home instincts of her husband of two years’ standing, John Preston, better known as Mr. Big (Chris Noth).
Among her familiar trio of best friends, lawyer Miranda (Cynthia Nixon) finds her career hobbled by a sexist boss, stay-at-home mom Charlotte (Kristin Davis) can’t take the 24/7 bawling of her baby daughter and slatternly single Samantha (Kim Cattrall) is desperately popping hormones in pursuit of eternal youth.
An all-expenses-paid jaunt to Abu Dhabi, courtesy of Samantha’s potential public relations client Sheik Khalid, provides only temporary relief from these pressures. But it does allow the quartet of pals to express their outrage over the repressive treatment of Muslim women by belting out a karaoke version of Helen Reddy’s feminist anthem "I Am Woman."
Their goal, as a later scene suggests, is not only to liberate their Middle Eastern sisters from the burdensome burqa — so lacking in style, so un-Bergdorf Goodman — but to empower them to carry condoms in their purses, as Samantha always does, just in case.
It’s hard to decide which aspect of this morally unmoored adventure rankles most: the caricature of Muslims, the confusion of promiscuity with empowerment or the materialist assumption that happiness can be found in conspicuous consumption.
The film contains graphic nonmarital sexual activity with nudity, a benign view of casual sex and homosexual acts, an adultery theme, constant sexual humor and references and some rough and crude language. The Catholic News Service classification is O — morally offensive. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R — restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.
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Mulderig is on the staff of Catholic News Service. More reviews are available online at www.usccb.org/movies.