Sex and the City 2 dazzles in the desert – Montreal Gazette

And the wardrobe changes were as many as the sands in the desert, and the colours rivalled the rainbow itself.

Yup, the fab Sex and the City foursome is back in all its fashion glory, and this time the visual splendour of the costumes -and Samantha’s gargantuan earrings -is matched by the epic sets.

Sex and the City 2, opening in wide release today, is a dazzler, from the opening credits sequence of a kaleidoscopic Chrysler Building; to the Busby Berkeley-worthy wedding set of Stanford Blatch and Anthony, with none other than Liza Minnelli presiding, in black sequins, natch; to the desert scene shot in Morocco on the same stretch of sand as Lawrence of Arabia. And the Abu Dhabi hotel suite of rooms -actually the Mandarin Oriental in Marrakech -is opulent beyond most people’s imagination, as of course, is Carrie’s famous closet, where the first flick closed.

Two years after SATC 1, and 12 years since the enormously popular TV series launched, Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker), Samantha (Kim Cattrall), Miranda (Cynthia Nixon) and Charlotte (Kristin Davis), are actually quite grown up, though they barely dress the part. They have come a long way, though, given an opening flashback to the 1980s that serves for a chuckle as Carrie and Samantha do Madonna circa Desperately Seeking Susan, while Miranda does the boxy corporate suit set off with white runners.

Of course, this remains a fashion fairy tale, and Minnelli’s sequins are easily outshone by the girls’ glitter of every sort. Carrie has traded her name tag necklace and opera pearls (from SATC 1) for a very large, pretty four-leaf clover pave diamond pendant, but that’s tame, really. She goes shopping in a sheer peacock sequin frock and fuchsia clutch, declaring she has been cheating on fashion for furniture when the salesclerk at Bergdorf wonders where she’s been.

Really? Cheating on fashion? We don’t think so.

There’s a running gag about 52-year-old Samantha, menopause, her creams, pills, potions and yams -which she smears on her face -and dressing too young for her age when she buys a lavishly embellished cocktail dress. So when both Samantha and Miley Cyrus show up at Smith Jerrod’s movie premiere in that dress, the message is rather muddy. The glittering frock is just about the most tasteful thing Samantha wears in the film.

What about Carrie, in her mid-40s, as she dons miniskirts, glitter Ts and high heels?

But, to borrow a phrase from the production notes, it’s when the burqa meets Blahniks on the foursome’s trip to Abu Dhabi that the fashion fantasy really begins.

Think gold sequin harem pants (on Samantha), glitter turban (Carrie), a pink toga (Carrie again), paisley jumpsuit (Miranda) and red and white candy stripes (if you’ve read this far, you know what the culprit is).

“Oh, Toto, I don’t think we’re in Kansas, anymore,” Carrie declares.

Indeed not, despite Carrie’s J’Adore Dior 8 T-shirt that she pairs with purple taffeta ballskirt to wear to the souk.

Still, the pairings of ball gowns and boyfriend blazers, chiffon, caftans and shawls do show Patricia Field’s styling genius to advantage.

Despite the froth, the meeting of New York fashionista and conservative Emirati culture is not without drama. Or what might be deemed tasteless and inappropriate when the four have a giggle as they watch a woman in a niqab eat french fries.

Not surprisingly, Samantha gets into trouble more than once. Sex, or just a kiss, on the beach and short-shorts with a barely-there top do not go over well, even in what is referred to as the “New Middle East.”

The friends must make a speedy retreat from their desert sojourn. And, yes, in an entirely predictable but still amusing scene, here’s where a burqa comes in handy.

efriede@thegazette.canwest.com

© Copyright (c) The Montreal Gazette

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