Movie Review: Sex and the City 2 (spoilers)

I was a big fan of the Sex and the City TV series. It was fun, it was women-positive, it was sex-positive, and sometimes, it even dealt with real issues, like cancer, divorce and gay marriage. And while it was serialized, you could pick up in the middle and play along and still have a good time.

I was disappointed in the film when it came out a couple of years ago. It felt like an obligatory cap to the series, what with Big's return at the end of the TV show and all. There was more on-screen sex than necessary, the story was weak, and most of the fun was missing.

I saw the second film over the weekend, and had a good time. It was too long (147 minutes), but the fun was back. It was mostly devoid of plot, and where it tried to get with issues and controversy, the film mostly made a quick statement and got the hell out of Dodge without a debate.

Summary, with Spoilers – stop reading if you don't want to know.

• Stanford and Anthony get married. In Connecticut, of course, since New York is out of the question. In an over-the-top flamboyant wedding. Featuring officiant (wait for it) Liza Minelli, who sticks around to perform Beyonce's "Single Ladies." The dance number was classic Liza, and wonderful. Mr. Big gets hit on (briefly) by a guy and still feels like he "has it." The end.

• Charlotte's nanny Erin has big boobs and no bra. But while she spends a week in Abu Dhabi with the girls worrying about Harry and the nanny, it's all just a big laugh, because Erin prefers "other hot nannies."

• Conservatism in the Middle East. The girls get in a lot of trouble in Abu Dhabi when Samantha is caught kissing a man on the beach. They have to get out of their hotel and go home (the sheik who funded the junket cuts them off for the scandal), and when they return to the market for Carrie's passport (which miraculously is still at the vendor's stand), they find trouble again and are welcomed by fully-covered Muslim women who wear stylish clothing under their burqas. They escape the market in burqas. (This was probably the most poignant four minutes of the movie. It was almost an exploration of an issue.)

• Cheating. Carrie bumps into Aidan in the Middle East and winds up kissing him. And then decides to call Big. Who wanders the city for a day – torn up, he claims – and comes back with a diamond ring as "punishment."

I thought the series did a really good job addressing some frankly interesting issues, and the movie brings them up but glosses over them. Other than that, as I mentioned, it was definitely a fun time – much more fun than the first. And with whatever money Bergdorf Goodman put in for the wedding plug and Abu Dhabi put in for the good press (although the movie was too scandalous to actually shoot there), I'm sure the film was in the black before it hit theaters.

3.5 stars out of 5 – see it, but don't go out of your way.