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PopEntertainment.com > Reviews > Movie Reviews > The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2

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THE SISTERHOOD OF THE TRAVELING PANTS 2 (2008)

Starring Amber Tamblyn, America Ferrara, Blake Lively, Alexis Bledel, Rachel Nichols, Tom Wisdom, Rachel Ticotin, Leonardo Nam, Michael Rady, Shohreh Aghdashloo, Blythe Danner, Jesse Williams, Rebekah Aramini, Lucy Kate Hale, Ernie Lively, Cory Nichols and Kyle McLachlan.

Screenplay by Elizabeth Chandler.

Directed by Sanaa Hamri.

Distributed by Warner Brothers Pictures.  111 minutes.  Rated PG-13.

 

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The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2

I have a confession to make.

However, before that, perhaps a little background is necessary.  I am a regular adult man.  I am no fan of "chick flicks."  I hate it when movies get overly sappy or try too hard to pull on the heartstrings. 

All that said, here is my deep, dark admission:

I absolutely love the first Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants movie. 

Not just like.  I think it is a truly fantastic piece of filmmaking.  It is quite possibly one of the best friendship and family dramas of recent years.  Definitely on my list of guilty pleasures.

Looking back on my review of the original film, though the write-up was positive I'm not sure I really captured how truly good the film was.  Maybe even on that first viewing its quality hadn't totally sunk in on me.  However, over the three years since I originally saw Traveling Pants, I have caught it a few more times on video or cable and it has just deepened my appreciation for the heart, wit, sadness, beauty and craft of the film.

Last year, when I heard the announcement that they were making a sequel of the film - with the same cast - it left me with a mixture of excitement and dread.  Excitement because I want to know what has happened to these young women in the three years since the first film.  Dread because I'm afraid if they screw up the delicate balance of the original and make a weak sequel, it may even taint the original film for me.

Therefore, despite the fact that there are lots of bigger-named, more-hyped films hitting the cineplex at about the same time, Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 has been high up on my list of must-see movies for the summer.

I am happy to say that the film is for the most part not a disappointment.  Granted, the sequel isn't quite as good as the original, but it is engaging enough on its own.  The storyline is a bit more disjointed than the first film, in which everything made sense and led to inevitable and yet not overly predictable conclusions.  The movie also has to do more heavy lifting for less emotional pay-off. 

It is also more specifically targeted straight to women - I saw the film at a packed Friday night (date night!) showing in Los Angeles with a friend and his wife, and my friend and I were the only two men in the theater.  In fact, during one poignant love scene, a teen girl sitting right behind me giggled to her friend, "This is such a chick flick!"

Still, I'm glad to return to the lives of Tibby, Carmen, Lena and Bridget.

A lot has changed in the three years since the first Sisterhood - even with the cast.  When the first film was made the bigger names were Alexis Bledel of Gilmore Girls and Amber Tamblyn of Joan of Arcadia.  Now, both of those shows are long off the air and the then-relatively-unknown co-stars are now starring in buzz series - America Ferrara in Ugly Betty and Blake Lively in Gossip Girl.

Pants 2 verifies what the first film hinted at - that the heart and soul of the series are Tamblyn and Ferrara.  The other two girls are fine if slightly bland (Lively in particular seems less interesting than in the first go-around) but Tamblyn and Ferrara are so naturally likable and intriguing that they steal every scene they get.

The sisterhood and the pants take a bit of a beating in this chapter of the tale.  The pants are more of an afterthought.  We see the girls periodically wearing the pants, or mailing them to each other, even once in a while getting comments about them - however unlike the first film, they just seem to be along for the ride.  The magic - if it was ever there - seems to be gone.  In fact the last great piece of magic they supposedly did this time around happened after the pants were lost - seemingly for good.

As far as the sisterhood, it seems to be a bit fractured.  Not that it wasn't in the first film - the whole point of that story was that it was the first summer where the four girls were apart and through the pants they formed a bond.  That bond now seems even more tattered than the pants. 

All four girls are going to college at different places.  After their first year of classes three of them make plans to be away even for the summer.  This angers Carmen (Ferrara) - but she soon goes to Connecticut to work on a play - and is shocked to win a leading role.  Tibby (Tamblyn) is in Greenwich Village, taking a screenwriting course at NYU and weathering a pregnancy scare with her now boyfriend Brian (Nam).  (They were just friends in the first film.)  Lena (Bledel) finds out that her Greek boyfriend has gotten married and goes away to take a course painting - and becomes involved with the figure model.  Bridget (Lively) somehow gets onto an archeological expedition (there was no hint that she was interested in this previously) - where she realizes that she must come to terms with her mother's suicide an the grandmother she never really got to know (Blythe Danner).

As they are living their lives there is much less communication and bonding between the girls than previously - which is sad but also rather realistic.  Finally, towards the end the four reunite at Lena's family compound in Greece - getting at least one last chance to be there for each other before life possibly pulls them apart.

Jay S. Jacobs

Copyright ©2008 PopEntertainment.com.  All rights reserved.  Posted: July 20, 2008.

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Copyright ©2008   PopEntertainment.com.  All rights reserved.  Posted: July 20, 2008.

 

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