The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2
Director
Cast
, , ,
Rated
PG-13
Runtime
117 min.
Release Date
08/06/2008
The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 improves only slightly on its predecessor by dealing with somewhat more mature issues—not that it’s moved beyond the syrupy drama worthy of a made-for-TV movie so prevalent in the first. There are four books in the series by author Ann Brashares, each focusing on a subsequent summer wherein the title-clothing uses its “magic” to once again keep our quartet of young women together. This sequel is based on the fourth and last book. What happened to books two and three, you might ask? Maybe producers were being merciful and figured they’d save us the trouble of two more movies.

After years of wear, the pants now appear as if a rambunctious group of twelve-year-olds bedazzled them to death, amassing patches, embroideries, sequins, and flowery writing. The jeans are rather hideous, actually, unless you’re in grammar school and more concerned with Polly Pocket and cute animals stickers than boys. That’s why the four ladies in this movie seem like late bloomers, incapable of growing up until they put aside childish things. For now, behaving like yippy tweens, each chases after a Gap-model-of-a-boy, except, of course, for the blonde, who’s still trying to figure out why her mother committed suicide. However, while blossoming into young adults, they realize the pants are sort of a stupid idea. Whatever adolescent enthusiasm that once existed for the miracle-bringing, sparkle-lined jeans has subsided in exchange for reality. Unfortunately, their reality still bears the plot of a daytime soap opera.

Lena (Alexis Bledel) finds herself swooning for the nude male model in her figure drawing class, but gets conflicting feelings when her former Greek lover Kastos (Michael Rady) comes to America armed with apologies (he was married between movies) and affectionate words. Carmen (America Ferrera) intended to spend her summer working backstage on a production of The Winter’s Tale, but charming Brit actor Ian (Tom Wisdom) arranges so she’s the play’s lead, much to the chagrin of competing diva Julia (Rachel Nichols). Tibby (Amber Tamblyn), who has apparently never heard of the day-after pill, freaks when her longtime boyfriend’s condom breaks. And Bridget (Blake Lively) goes from a Turkish archeological dig to Alabama to visit her long-lost grandmother, played by Blythe Danner.

Carmen is the most appealing of the bunch, as she seems to be the most real, in that the character isn’t a walking-talking cliché (like Tibby) and Ferrera isn’t a physical oddity (unlike the paper-thin like Bledel and Lively). Perhaps my choice is influenced by my proclivity toward stories where the underdog prevails, or perhaps I respect Carmen and Ferrera’s refusal to conform. Either way, her story holds the most dramatic potential, and prissy Julia offers the film’s only villainesque character to boot.

Impossibly fortunate in life, the four young women each attend major scholarly institutions (Brown, NYU, and Yale among them) and take trips half-way-round-the-world at the drop of a hat. Their high-drama is largely centered on boys or the lack thereof. But at least they’ve figured out how to use cell phones and email since the last film, although their technological upgrade makes FedEx-ing jeans along with a pen-pal letter rather meaningless. It was always a silly device. I’m glad they’ve figured that out too. In the end, the pants themselves are lost, wrapping up the series until Brashares writes another book, or her rights are purchased to become a television show for the Lifetime Network. Possibly, down the road, the jeans will return from wherever they disappeared to, decked out with even more girly laurels than before, giving four new heroines the opportunity to delude themselves with a pair of pants.

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