Reel Shorts | The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2

9 08 2008

Three years after their first adventure, four young ladies reunite for one more super-sweet odyssey in “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2.” Blog correspondent and film critic Brandon Fibbs of the Colorado Springs Gazette gives us the skinny.

If “Sex and the City” were a female buddy movie for middle-aged women, “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2” is its younger version (minus the chic couture and rampant materialism). Ann Brashares’ novel “Forever in Blue: The Fourth Summer of the Sisterhood” is brought to life in this sequel with the same heart, earnestness and, let’s face it, saccharine sweetness of the 2005 original.

Three years have passed since we last spent time with the sisterhood. The girls are now separated, scattered across the country pursuing their college educations. But summer has arrived at last and they can finally be together again. At least that’s what Carmen (America Ferrera) thinks. Little does she know that their reunion is going to be short lived. Lena (Alexis Bledel) has enrolled in a painting course in Rhode Island, Tibby (Amber Tamblyn) is staying in New York for summer school, and Bridget (Blake Lively—is there a better name than Blake Lively!?) is preparing for an archaeological dig in Greece. Stunned and feeling vaguely betrayed, Carmen decides to work as a backstage manager at a Vermont-based theater festival.

Once again the sisterhood decides to swap out the pair of magical jeans that brought them so much luck in the original film. As they each go their separate ways, the girls run headlong into adulthood and the sorts of pressures they never could have imagined in high school. Jealousy rears its ugly head, new talents are discovered, old demons are confronted, fundamentally life altering decisions are made, and loves are lost and won.

The pants almost feel like an afterthought in this film. It’s as if the screenwriters crafted a story they really liked and then remembered, the night before the script was due, that they forgot to include the thing that inspired the story in the first place and had to scribble rewrites in the margin. It could be argued, however, that that is the point of the film anyway. If the pants feel like a Hitchcockian MacGuffin—the thing you think the movie is about but come to discover is only a diversion from the true plot—that is because this Traveling Pants is about moving into adulthood and transitioning from the things that saw us through our youth but no longer fit with our adult selves, no matter how crucial they once were.

In addition to its decidedly adult quandaries, Traveling Pants is about the emotional detachment and estrangement that comes when friends no longer live near each other. The girls find it much more difficult to stay connected in this film and, when facing their most demanding trials, are not sure if they even want to. They must learn, all over again, that some problems cannot be solved alone. There is a strength that comes only with numbers…and a really providential pair of pants.

“The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2” resonates with the same spirit and warmth that made the first film a hit. Overlong, occasionally biting off more emotion than it can satisfyingly chew, and given to the sort of wish fulfillment that separates fantasy films from reality, “Traveling Pants” is a pleasing, middle of the road picture. Although there is nothing to gratuitously extol, there is next to nothing much to criticize either.

Grade: B-

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4 responses

10 08 2008
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11 08 2008
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3 09 2008
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