Those four fashionable New York women are back for another big screen adventure in the big city …and beyond. Their search for romance and happiness began on a popular and groundbreaking television series in the 1990's. It continued with a hit film in 2008; and now they add another chapter with a movie that takes them from Manhattan to the Middle East.
Once upon a time four friends came together in New York City: attorney Miranda, socialite Charlotte, publicist Samantha and writer Carrie, whose newspaper column chronicled their lives and loves.
Flash forward a dozen years and each of the four is still struggling with romance. For Carrie, after her long-delayed marriage to the man nicknamed "Mr. Big," life settles into an unsettling routine.
"Big and I are getting a little too 'Mr. and Mrs. Married.' We have to work on the sparkle," Carrie confides.
Meanwhile, over in Brooklyn, Miranda tries to balance career and family.
"I used to love going to work and now I'm sick at the thought of it," she tells her husband.
Charlotte tries to be a good mother to her two children and worries that the sexy nanny could prove too much temptation to her husband. Of course, temptation has never been a problem for Samantha, the one of the four still living a single life. However, she has her own struggle, trying to stave off the ravages of time.
"Women our age shouldn't joke about vitamins," she says.
"Women who are not our age shouldn't say 'women our age,'" quips Carrie.
"Well, one day very soon you will thank me," notes Samantha. "I am leading the way through the menopause maze with my vitamins, my melatonin sleep patches, my estrogen cream, progesterone cream, a touch of testosterone …I've tricked my body into thinking it's younger."
It's Samantha who comes to the rescue when a wealthy client offers a fabulous opportunity.
"One week in Abu Dhabi, all expenses paid," she tells the girls.
So off they jet to the playground of the well-heeled in the midst of the traditional Middle East. In fact, Sarah Jessica Parker, who stars as Carrie and is also producer of the film, says tradition is the key to all of their problems.
"There was a wedding and now there has to be a marriage and the two are very different," Parker notes. "I think where Carrie finds herself at the top of the movie is starting, as she usually does, to ask questions about the environment in which she currently lives. Those questions and the big theme of the movie for all of us in our own way is tradition and why do we run toward it? Why do we push it away? And why, when we so willingly want to commit to conventions like the institution of marriage, do we find ourselves squirming and asking questions?"
Though Sex and the City is most at home - like its characters - in New York, there are fans across cultural lines; and Cynthia Nixon, who co-stars as Miranda, sees several reasons for that global popularity.
"There's certainly the whole glamour element, which people love. I think it's very funny. I think it's sexy; but I think it also talks about the everyday realities of being a woman, your friends and balancing work and family and going through menopause and feeling like a lousy mother …all of these things. It's really great how it has a fantasy level but it [also] has a whole very real level," Nixon says.
Kim Cattrall, who plays Samantha, believes the success of Sex and the City parallels the growing independence and power of women.
"I think the most powerful thing for me is that we have encouraged a lot of women to change the way they feel about being single, about having cancer, getting married and then being deserted, being alone and lonely …all of the story lines," she says. "I think we have addressed them and encouraged them to come together and I think that's a very powerful thing. In this era of post-feminism I think we've helped to find what it is to be successful, smart and also feminine."
But strip away all of the philosophical, political and cultural themes and Sarah Jessica Parker says it is, at heart, about being and having friends.
"I really love how these women love each other. I love how decent and honorable they are toward one another," Parker says. "I love how much they respect one another. And they have found this incomparable friendship that is truly inspiring to me and it changes the way I think about friendships …constantly, it changes the way I look at friendships, the way I respond to friends' choices; and for me, when I look at a lot of what's available on television, I see how women treat each other and it's stunning to me. I like that there is someplace that we still like to illustrate that women would much rather be allies than adversaries."
Sex and the City 2 also features Kristin Davis as Charlotte; Chris Noth is Carrie's Mr. Big and there are cameos by many favorite characters from the TV show. The provocative subject matter kept the production from actually filming in Abu Dhabi, so locations in Morocco double for the Emirates settings.