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'Sex & the City 2' is summer fun

Published June 04. 2010 05:00PM

Despite the title, like its predecessor ("Sex and the City," 2008) and the HBO television series (1998 - 2004), "SATC2" is more about love, commitment, loyalty, honesty, trust, forthrightness, and being nice.

The movie will be of chief interest to the "SATC" mostly female college to fortysomething fans, judging from the audience at a May 26 midnight screening (I was probably one of about a dozen men among the hundreds of females in the near-capacity-filled movie theater).

It helps if you're an "SATC" fan to enjoy the second big-screen outing. The movie's overarching premise is about putting the sparkle back in one's life. The sparkle is symbolized from the rhinestone-enhanced opening credits, to a lavish overseas' vacation, to reconnecting back home in New York City.

Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker), Samantha (Kim Cattrall), Miranda (Cynthia Nixon) and Charlotte (Kristin Davis) are back, mostly dealing with married-life and changing-life issues.

Does the foursome's all-expenses paid sojourn to Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates (Morocco is the movie's stand-in location), work?

What's not to like? Scenes at a $22,000-a-night resort hotel play well. Each woman has a white Maybach 62 limo on call, a personal assistant to plan her exercise, dining, shopping and entertainment schedule. The four share an ocean-view posh suite.

The junket takes place because the sheik who owns the hotel wants Samantha to work the kind of publicity magic she did in managing her now successful actor-model-boyfriend.

Of course, the fearsome foursome didn't leave their issues back in the United States.

The main topic in Carrie's marriage to Mr. Big (Chris Noth) is furniture. Charlotte is coping with two daughters, one of whom is in the "terrible twos." Samantha has gone from dealing with hot tubs to hot flashes. Miranda's main issue is rescuing her three gal pals.

Parker, as newspaper columnist (based on the real-life Candace Bushnell, whose New York Observer columns and books inspired "SATC") turned author, again narrates. There is a lot of narration. Parker is so pleasantly confidential you don't mind. She has the most screen time and again provides a lively and bubbly performance.

The fashion police might ticket Carrie for her choice of headgear: from a hideous black crown, to huge hats, to bandanas yes this is Carrie, after all but the half-dozen or so get-ups are less than complementary.

The foursome's fashions are stunningly colorful and over-the-top. Tim Gunn of "Project Runway" makes a cameo, as does Miley Cyrus in one of the movie's many out-loud laughter scenes. Penelope Cruz is in another scene.

Legendary Liza Minelli is in a scene where she and two backup vocalists-dancers do a hilarious and impressive version of Beyonce's "Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)."

Cattrall seems to be having the most fun with her role, taking Samantha to new highs or lows of outrageous comments and behavior. Davis has the next most amount of screen time in several emotion-filled scenes. Nixon is again cooly efficient.

Noth has Tom Cruise-like confidence, and is a smooth charmer.

These five lead actors have humorous, as well as tender, scenes with each other and when paired off.

Scranton native Michael Patrick King, who directed the first "SATC" movie and 10 of the television show's 94 episodes (where he was executive producer), is back as screenwriter, director and producer. King knows the characters, the material and the audience and doesn't disappoint fans. The dialogue is quip-filled and often silly.

King's use of clips from director Frank Capra's "It Happened One Night" (1934), starring Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert, indicates the tone he's aiming for, combining silliness and seriousness, and he mostly succeeds.

"Sex and the City 2" provides some eye-candy to go along with your popcorn. Fans will love it. It also has some grown-up sentiments that should resonate with non-fans.

"Sex and the City 2": MPAA Rated R (Restricted. Under 17 Requires Accompanying Parent Or Adult Guardian) for some strong sexual content and language; Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance; Run Time: 2 hrs., 26 min. Distributed by New Line Cinema-Warner Bros.

Credit Readers Anonymous: Cyndi Lauper's "True Colors" is heard during the final scenes of "Sex and the City 2."

Box Office: May 28, "Shrek Forever After" made it two in a row at No. 1, with the 3-D movie taking in $43.4.6 million, with $133.5 million after two weeks.

"Sex and the City 2" opened at No. 2, with $31.1 million for the weekend and $45.3 million after opening midnight May 16. "Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time" opened at No. 3, with $30.1 million.

4. "Iron Man 2," $16.3 million, $274.9 million, four weeks; 5. "Robin Hood," $10.3 million, $83 million, three weeks; 6. "Letters to Juliet," $5.9 million, $36 million, three weeks; 7. "Just Wright," $2.1 million, $18.1 million, three weeks; 8. "Date Night," $1.8 million, $93.4 million, eight weeks: 9. "MacGruber," $1.5 million, $7.2 million, two weeks; 10. "How to Train Your Dragon," $1 million, $212.6 million, 10 weeks.

Unreel: June 4: Killers, PG-13: A suburban housewife (Katherine Heigl) finds her husband (Ashton Kutcher) is an undercover assassin.

Get Him to the Greek, R: Jonah Hill is a record company intern who must get a rock star (Russell Brand) to his concert at the Greek Theatre, Los Angeles.

Marmaduke, PG: Owen Wilson stars in the comedy based on the newspaper comic strip.

Splice, R: Adrien Brody stars in the thriller about fusing DNA samples to create a winged creature.

Two Popcorn Boxes out of Five Popcorn Boxes

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