This time trading hot pink for sparkling platinum, Sex & the City 2 is brazen, unapologetic, and doesn’t skimp on the meaty bits – and we’re referring to more than just the men. The outspoken series-turned-film-extravaganza finds everyone’s favorite girls a relative stone’s throw from where we left them two years ago – healthy and wealthy, if not completely wise. Allow us to elaborate.

Miranda Hobbes, despite being successful at her law firm, is wedged under her boss’s thumb and has terrible guilt not being around for her family; Charlotte York Goldenblatt, tending to her would-be perfect brood in their Park Avenue apartment, is stressed with motherhood despite having “the help”; Samantha Jones, aggressive businesswoman, gets what she wants, when she wants, as long and hard as she wants (all while defying the effects of menopause); and Carrie Bradshaw Preston is settling into her married life with John James and the couch they waited a year for. In spite of any issues, they are – all of them – in their prime. They are fabulous. They are…sexy? Sassy? Sassy. Sassy works.

And so we segue into a field trip to Abu Dhabi, a much-needed get away from reality. Almost appropriately, Carrie quips, “Toto, I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore”. We couldn’t agree more, if only for different reasons. For one thing, Carrie hasn’t been in Kansas since she snagged Mr. Big. Gone are the times in which circumstances allowed understanding – i.e. blowing one’s money on designer dresses and shoes – when the fear of losing everything was a weekly reality. However, upon landing a life that includes golden Louboutins and two apartments (among other luxuries), it is of no wonder that Carrie’s head is back where it had always been:  absurdly high in the clouds. How does she sleep at night, you ask? The way she always has – in knowing that if her out-of-control neuroses crumble the lives of those around her, at least she will have her overly-accepting, equally neurotic friends. And her puns. And her shoes, if not her two apartments.

Back to Abu Dhabi and, incidentally, commentary on the place of women in Middle Eastern culture. Miranda’s taking to educating the girls of said culture proves to be more a lesson for the audience than a bearing on her character – in other words, completely obvious, however informative. The discussions that follow – from burkas to “burkinis” – are less of a comedic approach to culture as they seem to be at times a point-and-stare-a-thon. Meaning well, there is no shortage of entertainment, what with the girls singing “I Am Woman” in a karaoke bar and Samantha’s escapades with a certain “Lawrence of My Labia”. Still, while we’re all for the support and uplifting of women of all cultures, we’re even more so for deeper-seated issues being discussed way outside of an abbreviated encounter with Aidan Shaw. Also, we’re not sure how good an impression thrusting condoms in the face of others is in the Middle East – or anywhere, for that matter.

As a slight aside, it must be said that for a film titled Sex & the City 2, there isn’t a lot of sex. When Sex shows up, close-ups of bulges in tight swim shorts serve their markedly visual purpose. However, sprinklings of erections and tanned, bare asses serve as more of a Playgirl-esque afterthought than the steady stream of relatable raunch we come to know of the girls. Meanwhile, we applaud the producers and creators for striving to send a message home outside the realm of sex, but we’re still trying to figure out what it is. Is it that motherhood is hard? That the terrible twos aren’t a myth? That if you can’t work the penthouse, move twelve floors below? That getting upset with your child for getting red paint on your vintage designer skirt is a moot point since it was your fault for wearing it? That life is much more freeing without a bra?

We don’t know. Frankly, the true blue Sex & the City fan might not care, and we don’t blame them. The film is everything one could want and more. But suffice it to say that should one wedge a Manolo in their mouth, the message will come out garbled.