Sex and the City 2

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The first “Sex and The City” movie, which came out two years ago, qualifies as a comedy both because it is somewhat funny and because, according to a more classical definition, it ends, after some reversals and delays, with a wedding. The sequel — which should have borrowed a subtitle from another picture opening this week and called itself “Sex and the City: The Sands of Time” — begins with a wedding and never seems to end. Your watch will tell you that a shade less than two and a half hours have elapsed, but you may be shocked at just how much older you feel when the whole thing is over.

The wedding, the characters frequently remark, with the mixture of insouciant mockery and cosmopolitan self-congratulation that seems to have become the hallmark of this weary franchise, is a gay one. Stanford (Willie Garson) and Anthony (Mario Cantone) have made honest men of each other, giving the four main female characters, their male companions and the director, Michael Patrick King, a chance to wink, nod and drag out Liza Minnelli to perform “All the Single Ladies.” Her version is in no way superior to the one in “Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel,” and it is somehow both the high point of “Sex and the City 2” and a grim harbinger of what is to come. The number starts out campy, affectionate and self-aware, but at some point turns desperate, grating and a little sad. Come to think of it, the possibility of sadness, which shadowed this movie’s precursor and the long-running HBO series (if not the Candace Bushnell column in The New York Observer that is the source of it all), has been banished this time out. Happy endings, once achieved, cannot be undone. Charlotte (Kristin Davis) and Harry (Evan Handler) are the loving parents of two young daughters. Miranda (Cynthia Nixon) has settled in Brooklyn with her husband, Steve (David Eigenberg), and son, Brady. Samantha (Kim Cattrall) is, as ever, the proudly promiscuous publicist, while Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker)...
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