The movie itself was good. Nothing extraordinary, but enough to garner a B, B+ rating. The high points were the costume design, production design, and acting (for the most part). The low points were the writing and directing (unfortunately), although considering it was Michael Patrick King's first movie, we should cut him some slack.
Even though it was a slight step above your standard cookie-cutter Romantic Comedy, the plot was extremely weak at some points. It's obvious that you can't have a "funky spunk" kind of story line in a movie, because it would simply get drowned out, so Michael Patrick King went for the biggies: Pregnancy, Infidelity, and Self-Discovery. I of course leave out the main plot, Carrie, simply because you can't put a label on that. The girls' story lines were general to the point of bland. Aside from Samantha, they ended up more or less in the same place that they started. Charlotte's a mother, Miranda's with Steve, despite his flaws. At least Samantha realized she could not be in a relationship and, true to character, became a single woman again. For what it's worth, the acting was believable, but that's to be expected when you have been with these characters for ten years. It's really just the writing that gave them nothing to do. The only interesting part of Charlotte's story line was the "I'm so happy I'm scared", but that was glazed over in one scene. It's disappointing. He should have done something more challenging and more creative, and, most of all, more unique. It's no surprise most of his effort was put into Carrie, which is to be expected, but the three second bananas were shuffled so far off to the side it was almost embarrassing.
The main plot, riddled with comedy, drama and romance, was the only thing that saved this movie. Carrie had a clear arc, her experiences (and Big's) stayed so true to character, and even though I wasn't fond of the ending, it did have that "love is not rational" thing that saved it. And even though the Cinderella motif wasn't that orginal, and did get tiring at some points (like when Carrie is coloring with Lily and uses the blue crayon on Cinderella's slipper, foreshadowing the shoe Big proposes to her with) it was cute...enough. I mean it wasn't something standard, it was driven by the characters, and they came out as different people in the end, and for that, it was a decent plot.
The character of Louise was a dismal addition. I love my J Hud, but she just couldn't carry the role very well, and Michael's addition of a "youth perspective" was severely wasted. When she rekindled with her boyfriend and got married at the end, it was obvious that MPK just has a lot of troubling juggling so many characters.
What was worse, though, was the numerous characters kicked off into the periphery for the sake of Louise: Anthony and Stanford probably had ten lines combined throughout the film; what's worse is, they weren't the characters they were in the series: they had obviously progressed, and established a decent relationship (platonic or otherwise) and it was barely acknowledged by MPK. Why focus so much on a new character when the old ones are just as good? And where was Marcus? Well, that I think could be explained by the fact that Sean Palmer was busy in the broadway production of "The Little Mermaid" (which was as flakey as a bad piece of flounder, by the way) and, thus, could not be part of the film. And, if one were to look closely at Charlotte's guest list for Carrie's wedding, Marcus Adent is on there. So, I guess he wasn't completely forgotten. But Magda didn't have one joke in the entire movie and Bitsy Von Muffling didn't have one line? I was not pleased about that.
It's just disappointing that, in a show where the single person was celebrated and the bounds of society were broken on a regular basis, three out of the four ladies get married. But, what irked me most of all, was that Carrie and Big discussed how they were perfectly happy before they decided to get married, and yet they went ahead and did it anyway. The movie could have been saved if they just led an unconventional relationship like they did before.
Of particular mention are the wedding scenes, most of the scenes in Mexico, and the New Year's Eve scenes. These showed the depth, beauty and bittersweet touches the movie has, all the while developing the characters and showcasing them. Of dishonorable mention are Samantha's raunchy dog, Charlotte's illness, and the clothing montage as Carrie cleaned out her closet: they were overused, not funny, and slowed the pace of the film, respectively. These were the main scenes that showed how immature and downright lousy the movie could be in some places. What was also disconcerting were the numerous jokes seemingly "borrowed" from the series: Carrie remarks how she "Keeps Sweaters in the stove", similar to how she said she uses her oven for storage in "Attack of the Five Foot Ten Woman"; Candace Bergen tells her to "Just Say Yes" like in...well, "Just Say Yes"; the "Coloring" scene mirrors the "Sushi" scene in "Anchors Away"; Samantha remarks to Smith "I love you, but I love me more" like she did to Richard in "Luck Be an Old Lady"; Louise from St. Louis is equatable to Louis from Louisiana in "Anchors Away". They were all just too unoriginal to be considered homages.
In the end, while it was nice to see the four girls together again, with all the high points and lows, I have to ask: was it such a good idea to make this movie in the first place? And, what more, would it be a good idea to make a sequel? That we'll just have to wait and see.
UPDATE: After seeing Sex and the City for the fifth time tonight, not only do I have my PhD. in this movie, but I think I have finally figured it out: it's like the Season 5 episode "Critical Condition": the plot isn't great, the characters are not quite themselves, but it has its moments and quite frankly, because it's Sex and the City, you cannot help but like it.