Craig Blankenhorn
May 19, 2010 at 04:00 AM EDT

STARRING Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Catrall, Kristin Davis, Cynthia Nixon, Chris Noth
WRITTEN BY Michael Patrick King
DIRECTED BY Michael Patrick King

Michael Patrick King swears he wasn’t planning a sequel when the Sex and the City movie strutted into theaters two summers ago. ”Dancers say, ‘I left everything on the floor.’ I left everything on the screen,” says the writer-director. But then he saw how ?audiences treated the $153 million hit like a party, the glitzy centerpiece to fabulous girls’ nights out everywhere. Suddenly, a follow-up seemed possible: ”The first thing I thought was, I want the party to continue.”

And continue it he did — from the streets of Manhattan all the way to the dunes of Abu Dhabi. Yep, in the R-rated Sex and the City 2, Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker) and the girls embark on an exotic vacation to the Middle East, thanks to a potential client of Samantha’s (Kim Cattrall) who invites them on an all-expenses-paid adventure. King & Co. are guarding plot details with the fervor of Ali Baba fending off the 40 thieves, but we can confirm that John Corbett’s Aidan shows up in Abu Dhabi and that the far-flung locale gives Carrie plenty to ponder about? traditional gender roles. ”She’s tried to settle into married life and what that’s supposed to mean,” hints Parker. ”She keeps questioning tradition.” As do her gal pals. And when four sexually liberated American heroines turn up in a conservative Muslim culture, there’s sure to be drama.

143 minutes
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