This summer, Abu Dhabi residents, are you ready to be Carrie-d away? Excuse the weak Sex and the City pun, but as the film's marketing team still see fit to persist with it, presumably everyone else can too. But listen up: the point is that the film sequel is partly based in our very own capital city, with a trip made here by the four women as an escape from Manhattan. "It's the new Middle East and the future," explained the writer and director Michael Patrick King earlier this week on his decision to bring Abu Dhabi into the plot. "I think there's a very big story in the Middle East and it also is a very advanced, glamorous capital," he told the film website Collider.com.
As we gear ourselves up for the film's international release in May, rumours about the storyline have filtered through from the film's studio, Warner Bros. And while the movie may be set here, it wasn't actually filmed here but on location in Morocco. Who knows what the imaginary version of Abu Dhabi they have come up with will look like? However, we're not going to let this spoil our fun or stop us from imagining how the film might have looked if they had shot it here.
What has been reported is that the action kicks off two years on from where we left the girls in the first film. Happily, this has given them all new problems to moan about while picking at a bowl of spinach over brunch. We also know that Samantha manages to wangle them a week's holiday in Abu Dhabi, where an ex-boyfriend (we presume Smith) is shooting a film in the desert. Miranda is exhausted from work and Carrie is presumably delighted with the opportunity to break out a new, jewelled wardrobe, but Charlotte apparently needs the break most of all. Weighed down by two children, the gloss of her arduous Park Avenue princess existence has worn off and she's grappling with rumours that Harry is having an affair with the nanny. No points for originality, scriptwriters.
So, out they all trot to Abu Dhabi. And guess what? While here, Carrie apparently bumps into her ex-boyfriend Aidan in "a market". The most extraordinary coincidence in film history? It's up there. We're not told what market. Until May, it will be left up to our fertile imaginations to dwell upon whether their meeting place was inspired by the Iranian souq, Spinneys, the vegetable aisle of Abela or the cheese room at Jones the Grocer. Wherever it is, however, this "chance" meeting leads to them spending plenty of time together.
Frolicking around on the Corniche, perhaps, or dining at the Yacht Club? "You're playing with fire," Charlotte reportedly tells Carrie. Again, let's take a moment to salute the scriptwriters with this piece of poetry. Carrie, of course, is still married to Mr Big, although whispers suggest he too makes room for a flirtation with PenÚlope Cruz, who has a cameo in the film and told King she watched the first one 15 times.
The film's official trailer was released in December, but it makes no allusion to any extramarital activities. Instead, it shows the brightly dressed quartet riding camels (expect jokes from Samantha about this), wandering in the sand dunes and sitting under a gazebo in the desert. There they can be seen drinking from glass goblets and eating off silver platters. No cans or charcoal barbecue for them. No sleeping in tents on inflatable mattresses. It's presumably Qasr Al Sarab all the way for our precious four New Yorkers.
We're also told that they hang out at a "lavish" nightclub. Might we suggest Rush at the Yas Hotel, Etoiles at Emirates Palace or Pearls & Caviar at the Shangri-La. They're more their speed than the Captain's Arms or 3rd Avenue. With regards to shopping and clothing, the trailer shows Carrie arriving at the airport wearing a sparkly turban paired with an asymmetric dress, shoulder-less on one side, suggesting that the wardrobe department was geographically confused by the challenges of a Middle Eastern visit. Still, presumably they'll shop once they're here.
Helpful residents might have told them to avoid the traffic around Abu Dhabi Mall, so let's assume they go looking for shoes in Ounass or Aldo in Marina Mall, bling at the Madinat Zayed gold souq and Swarovski-covered kaftans at the Souk Qaryat al Beri. We have more than two months before the film is released. Good news for fans, the worst possible news for detractors. Between now and May, expect new levels of SATC fever pitch to be reached over the unstoppable juggernaut. As Carrie says at the trailer's beginning: "Just when you think you've seen it all, it hits you. You haven't seen anything yet."