Who's In It: Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, Cynthia Nixon, Kristin Davis, John Corbett, Chris Noth
The Basics: Four American women from Manhattan travel in a fancy sheikh's jet to the Middle East. ("We need to go someplace RICH," snarls Samantha, because of oh-the-recession and how tough it's become for everyone except them.) Once there, they teach all the Muslims about feminism via a rousingly tuneless "I Am Woman" quartet at a fancy karaoke bar, flanked by an ever-growing chorus of oppressed oil wives and and belly dancers. Eventually, after they amuse no one with lines like "Bedouin Bath and Beyond" and "Lawrence of my labia," Samantha touches some guy's penis, gets arrested, throws condoms at a mob of angry men and humps the air while screaming "I HAVE SEX!" Then they all have to escape while wearing chadors.
What's The Deal: This franchise is now officially at war with itself. In order to maintain audience demand for a high level of vicariously thrilling wealth, one thing it can't afford to do is allow any of its characters to fall on truly hard times--the worst thing that happens to anyone is that Big and Carrie have to trade in their mega-penthouse for a slightly smaller but no less money-splashed apartment--but it also can't stay in "The City" and pretend that Big's Wall Street life isn't totally corrupt and that the actual economy is in the toilet thanks to people just like him. So it's off to Abu Dhabi with the ladies, where the travelogue of stupid cash could have provided an agreeably opulent backdrop for that whole "we're the best of friends" line they keep trying to sell. Unfortunately the only character who seems to provide that kind of emotional support to the others is Miranda, which means the rest of the movie is about being smothered to death by luxury and making self-satisfied moral proclamations about marriage and a woman's right to have sex on a beach.
It's Not Your Sexuality We're Opposed To, It's Your Insistence On Behaving Like A Much Less Funny Version Of Bawdy 1960s Comedienne Rusty Warren During Her Knockers Up! Phase: The character of Samantha has turned a sad corner and now lives in the same sex rehab as Sharon Stone's Basic Instinct 2 lady. She's that divorced aunt who hits on young guys at the wedding reception and says dirty stuff out loud. Very loud. If you were actually friends with this person you'd eventually get to a point where you'd say, "Yes, okay, we get it. You want to bang the entire rugby team. Then would you please just go do it and stop sitting there with your cocktail talking about balls!" It's an old-school gay guy's version of what a liberated menopausal drag queen would act like. And it's not shocking. It's tired.
Some Other Movies You Could Watch To Get the Taste Of All That Fake Strong Woman Liberation Out Of Your Mouth: Nicole Holofcener's new movie in theaters right now called Please Give is smart and funny about people with money and the actual consequences of being rich. Jafar Panahi's The Circle will show you what would have really happened to Samantha had she thrown a bunch of condoms at a group of irate men in a souk. (Hint: there's no cute escape-in-religious-costumes plan.)
Oh Yeah, One More Thing: There's actually a character in this movie named "Dick Spirt." Take that, patriarchy!