T his put me in mind of a stunned and disillusioned childhood of multimedia consumption in the s: And yet, up on the big screen, with each new movie … why did they look increasingly slow and dull and tired, often wearing new outfits which didn't look very good? Perhaps, with Sex and the City 4, we will be treated to a heart-rending Death of Spock-type scene, in which Samantha is fired out of a Manhattan penthouse window in a sparkly coffin, having first transferred her "katra" to a demure assistant.
Anyway, Carrie and her best buds get it together for another big-screen go-around in this misjudged and quite incredibly boring sequel.
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It is two years on from the last movie. Charlotte and Miranda are happy, if stressed, moms; Samantha is single and staving off the menopause with weird vitamins and Carrie is still married to smug Big Chris Nothbut the romance is leaking out of their relationship.
And iPhones, which so baffled Carrie in the last movie, are now ubiquitous. The gang have lots of fun at a gay wedding, there are a couple of nice jokes and then … well, something absolutely awful happens.
Do they all get crushed by an oblong-shaped asteroid while they're doing that empowered four-abreast march down the sidewalk? Do they get wiped out by swine flu? Do they have an epiphany and retreat to a nunnery in Lille?
They go to Abu Dhabi! The big plot twist is that Samantha is offered a very unappetising all-expenses-paid junket in Abu Dhabi and gets to invite her three BFs.
Naturally you'd expect the scenes in Abu Dhabi to last, ooh, maybe two, three minutes, tops — enough for some gags about deserts and camels and American outsiders clumsily misunderstanding Middle Eastern culture, and then surely we're back to zingy Manhattan.
We are stuck in Abu Dhabi for almost the entire film. In the United Arab Emirates. Like Martin Sheen waking from his uneasy slumber in Apocalypse Now and thinking: What is going on? Is he an evangelist for Abu Dhabi as a rockin' holiday destination?
Or is he, conversely, consumed with a desire to satirise Abu Dhabi as an unsuitable place to visit? There is a strange scene on board the plane headed out there, when the crew of the fictional airline Afdal Air ostentatiously offer the ladies a welcoming glass of champagne — in exactly the way that the winning couple on the s TV show Blind Date would invariably be offered an airborne glass of bubbly as a way of advertising the airline company who were bankrolling the prize.
Weirdly, the film is not shot in Abu Dhabi but Morocco.
Anyway, our heroines have lots of dull misadventures out in Abu Dhabi, which is presented as a modern Middle Eastern luxury hotel complex with burqas and tradition, but also nightclubs and fun and drinks and karaoke — no cigarettes, though.
Samantha meets a foxily grey-haired Danish architect who looks about as attractive as Harold Shipman, but nonetheless she has a romantic liaison with him on the beach, which gets her into hilarious trouble with the law. And then Carrie runs into a very significant person in the souk.
Soon, assignations are being arranged and Charlotte warns Carrie that she is "playing with fire". Later, some burqa-clad ladies remove their veils to reveal that they are wearing New York-style fashions. That strikes me as playing with fire rather more dangerously than Carrie's flirtatious dinner-date. Well, the way ahead could be Sex and the City: Or maybe some sort of prequel.
Candace Bushnell, author of the original column and book, has in fact already published a teen-lit tale of Carrie's schooldays. Or perhaps it's time to call it a day.