Where does your 1998–2004 HBO hit series about sex and the single girl go when three of your four girls are no longer single? How about the United Arab Emirates? First, though, there’s one more wedding to celebrate: Anthony (Mario Cantone) and Stanford (Willie Garson) are getting hitched, and it’s a lavish affair, with a white-suited male choir in silver top hats singing “If Ever I Should Leave You,” “Till There Was You,” and “Sunrise, Sunset,” and the ceremony itself officiated by no less than Liza Minnelli. But back in the real world, Miranda (Cynthia Nixon) is getting shit from her boss, Charlotte (Kristin Davis) is watching Harry (Evan Handler) ogle their “Erin-go-braless” Irish nanny (Alice Eve), and Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker) is fretting that her marriage to Big (Chris Noth) has lost its sparkle.
Abu Dhabi to the rescue, as a sheikh invites Samantha (Kim Cattrall) and her three best friends to come for an all-expense-paid free week. It looks like just what the girls need: a chance to play at being single in a world of unimaginable luxury, and for an hour or so, the film doubles as an Abu Dhabi promotional video. But there’s a snake in this Garden of Paradise — yes, sex. The girls get away with walking through the market in open-toed sandals (not to mention Carrie’s “J’adore Dior” T-shirt), but a public kiss pulls the rug out from under the free holiday.
Okay, you could have guessed that. Does Charlotte fall off her camel? Yes. Does Carrie run into an old boyfriend (John Corbett)? Also yes. Can Samantha convince the Abu Dhabi authorities that estrogen cream doesn’t count as a drug? No. Do American girls in Abu Dhabi nightclubs get to sing “I Am Woman”? No comment. Does Big act like an idiot not once but twice? Alas, yes. Does the sisterhood of Abu Dhabi stage a burqa breakout? That would be telling. In the end, of course, there’s no place like home (i.e., New York), where everybody’s troubles melt like lemon drops. For a franchise that was supposed to be adventurous about sex, this film (directed by Michael Patrick King, the series’s executive producer) is about as cutting-edge as The Love Boat. But if you’re a fan, you’ll get your money’s worth.