Miranda Carrie Samantha Charlotte in Sex and the City 2 morocco

Miranda, Carrie, Samantha and Charlotte in 'Sex and the City 2.' Photo courtesy of Warner Bros.


There's no doubt in this reviewer's mind that "Sex and the City 2" is all about sparkle -- keeping it, making it, and of course, wearing it (which makes the film's partnership with Swarovski all the more perfect).

As the four leading ladies -- Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker), Samantha (Kim Cattrall), Miranda (Cynthia Nixon), and Charlotte (Kristin Davis) – continue to evolve, they still have conflicts to contend with.

Carrie, now wed to Mr. Big (Chris Noth), is trying to figure out how the tradition of marriage will work for her nontraditional self; Samantha is dealing with menopause; Miranda loves a job that doesn't love her back; and Charlotte is dealing with that age-old mommy dilemma: I adore my kids, but I need some time too.

The film opens with what is quite possibly the gayest wedding ever (they actually say that in the movie). Carrie's pal Stanford (Willie Garson) and Charlotte's wedding planner Anthony (Mario Cantone) are getting married at a Connecticut inn that has been transformed into what looks like the inside of a snow globe: white, white, and more white. Yet, it's oddly appropriate, as is the appearance of Liza Minnelli as the officiant/entertainment. Just when you thought Beyoncé's "Single Ladies" was waning, guess what? It's back in a big-band way. Go Liza!

After we learn about the women's dilemmas, Samantha stumbles upon a solution: an all expenses paid, week's vacation for four in Abu Dhabi, courtesy of a sheik Samantha wants to do business with. And there's nothing that helps you figure out marital-family-work woes better than a trip to the Middle East -- at least when these female friends are involved.

Over-the-top does not begin to describe the rest of the movie -- the sets, the clothes, the excesses, the obviousness of it all. But as writer/producer/director Michael Patrick King put it, the U.S. was in the beginning of an economic downturn when he started writing the script, and "I couldn't have Carrie selling pencils under the 59th Street bridge." So, he sent the characters to a place where excess was acceptable.

From tents to a Taj Mahal-like resort and over camel rides and cocktails, the women reconnect and rely on each other as sounding boards. And, as expected, their holiday idyll gets snapped back into reality by two major turns of events.

Whereas the first "Sex and the City" flick was like a bunch of the HBO shows strung together, "SATC2" is a full-on caper movie. King created a two-and-a-half hour movie event that really just flew by.

As for the fab four, Samantha put it best: "We made a deal ages ago. Men, babies, doesn't matter. We're soul mates." As such, they'll muddle through together, always looking fabulous.