While all of this is going on at the pace of an inchworm climbing a tomato plant, the three bridesmaids orchestrate their own levels of crisis control. Carrie has a nervous breakdown and her comrades must perform triage, so the movie shifts to a four-star resort in Mexico where mariachis and margaritas do wonders to ease broken hearts, but there’s really only one reason for the scenery—to poke fun at uptight, anally retentive Charlotte, who gets Montezuma’s revenge and poops in her beachwear. Back at home, after denying him sex for six months, Miranda dumps Steve for staging a meaningless (but understandable) one-night stand with somebody else, and lets her bikini line turn into Yosemite National Park. Out in California, the narcissistic, selfish (and really rather stupid) Samantha plans a Valentine’s Day surprise by stripping naked and covering her privates with sushi, but when Smith is detained on the set with retakes, she turns ballistic, goes on an eating binge, grows a spare tire around her waistline and walks out. This is supposed to be the film’s big shocker, but all I could think of was (a) how foolish to dump the only guy in the movie who actually goes to work every day like a normal person, and (b) any director titillated by the sight and smell of a woman smearing raw fish on her vagina needs psychological evaluation.
Bottom line: a provocative, groundbreaking TV series that worked in 30-minute segments has been bloated and padded into nearly two and a half hours of tedium and gratuitous product placement for everything from Vuitton to a new Mercedes-Benz GLK. The end credits list more than 85 thank-yous, including bottled water, a jewelry auction at Christie’s and Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Drowning in greed and marketing, what was once a bundle of sexy giggles is something of a yawn. The movie is no longer about four young women chasing their sex fantasies. It’s not about anything, really. But it could have been worse. The direction is insipid, but at least Mr. King didn’t go psychedelic with circus calliopes, surreal effects and bongos. Instead, love conquers all in time for a happy ending; Charlotte gets pregnant at last; and they all march off to Lenox Hill Hospital to prepare for the sequel. It’s all quite irritating, glossy, trite, superficial and boring, but having said all that, I confess Sex and the City has found its way to a place on my guilty-pleasure list. It’s terminally sweet and threatens to never end, like an all-day sucker, but if there’s another installment, they better hurry. No longer waiting for orgasms, the four friends in Sex and the City will be waiting for menopause.