As I loved the first Traveling Pants movie, I was looking forward to seeing how the girls' lives had progressed in the sequel. Granted, seeing them as young women in college was mildly interesting, but the sequel left much to be desired.
The writing and acting in this film seem to belong more to a really bad television series, the kind that gets cancelled after half a season, than a major motion picture. It seems that neither the writers nor the actors were truly interested in making a sequel. And rather than focusing on how the girls' identities have developed as young women, most of the plot is essentially a reworking of the first movie's storyline.
The most difficult part of the movie for me to accept, though, are the huge holes in the plot. I was able to reluctantly accept the notion in the first movie that a pair of pants could be shipped around the world (twice) in one summer. However, I cannot seem to beleive that the girls could suddenly all fly to Greece at a moment's notice (explained away by the "fact" that Carmen's stepfather has millions of air miles).
This is a sadly disappointing sequel to a wonderful film. While I enjoyed seeing the how the girls have grown into women, I would have to say that I am glad I rented this movie instead of buying it.
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After just watching a rather disappointing sequel to "Sisterhood Of The Traveling Pants", I can say that the first movie should have had the happy ending, instead of the sequel using 2 hours to try and find that happiness. The characters did not develop anything from the 1st film. They were still very shallow and drown in their personal miseries; and were (I thought) overly emotional. The acting came up far past short of a decent applause of any sort, and the film had a misguided direction and an unclear plot. I think the acting reflected Junior High students, rather than mature College/University students. The movie fell apart as it went along, and the ending was okay. I felt the ending was phony, premature and forced (it looks like a couple of scenes could have built up to it); but all in all I think the whole sequel fell far from matching up to the first movies success.
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32 of 33 people found the following review helpful
Friendship is in Their JeansAug. 7 2008
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The impression that "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2" gives is that it's a bubbly, bright, and--for all intents and purposes--meaningless sequel to the first film. To my relief, it follows the example set by its predecessor, a surprisingly levelheaded friendship story. Four years after discovering a magically fitting pair of jeans, best friends Tibby Tomko-Rollins (Amber Tamblyn), Carmen Lowell (America Ferrera), Lena Kaligaris (Alexis Bledel), and Bridget Vreeland (Blake Lively) have returned for a second chapter that remains on perfectly equal ground with the first, focusing on coming-of-age issues like maturity, self-discovery, family, and love. Unoriginal ideas? Maybe so, but that doesn't mean they're any less effective. If anything, they make the film's message that much clearer. It helps that many of the girls' problems are based in reality--high school issues, like being pretty and popular, are pushed aside in favor of adult issues, like pregnancy scares and family crises.
If there's anything we learned from the first film, it's that the magic of the titular jeans was symbolic; by in large, the girls worked through their own ups and downs on their own, with no miraculous intervention other than their friendship with one another. We learn pretty much the same thing in this film, which sees each character facing new, more mature challenges. Let's begin with Carmen, who doubles as the film's bookend narrator. She now attends Yale, working as a stagehand for the theatre department. Her mother (Rachel Ticotin) has since remarried and is now pregnant with her second child. When Carmen's hopes of spending the summer with her friends are dashed, she decides to join a Shakespearian theater company in Vermont with a prima donna named Julia (Rachel Nichols). Once there, a British actor named Ian (Tom Wisdom) coaxes Carmen into auditioning for "A Winter's Tale"; to her shock--and to Julia's horror--she's cast as Perdita. As rehearsals continue, she begins to fall in love with Ian.
Next, there's Bridget, who plays Soccer at Brown University. Lately, her interests have shifted to archeology. While on an expedition in Turkey, her instructor, Professor Nasrin Mehani (Shohreh Aghdashloo), opens her eyes to the fact that she's only running away from her past. Bridget, it seems, is still haunted by the suicide of her mother. And her relationship with her father (Ernie Lively) is worse than ever; before leaving for Turkey, she discovered a box full of letters her grandmother had written her, letters her father wanted to keep hidden. Returning to the United States, Bridget takes a bus to Alabama and finally meets her grandmother, Greta (Blythe Danner), an accommodating woman with a matter-of-fact outlook on everything, including her daughter's mental illness.
The next in line is Tibby, who continues to pursue her filmmaking dreams at NYU. Forced to stay in New York for the summer to rewrite her screenplay, she gets a job at a local video store. She's now dating Brian McBrian (Leonardo Nam), who was introduced in the first film as the "Dragon's Lair" champion. When their relationship is threatened (for reasons I won't reveal), Tibby begins to wonder if she was meant for happiness. She does put up a wall every time she gets close to someone, and that's because, deep down, she believes that those you love the most will eventually abandon you. Her attempts to get sympathy from Carmen are flatly rejected; she doesn't appreciate how uncommunicative Tibby has been all summer.
Finally, there's Lena, who attends an art college in Rhode Island on a scholarship. Heartbroken after breaking up with her Greek boyfriend, Kostos (Michael Rady), she reverts to her old timid ways. She then meets Leo (Jesse Williams), the male model hired to pose nude in her art classes. It isn't long before they fall in love, although we suspect it's for all the wrong reasons. All she really knows about Leo is that he's a nice guy, and he's incredibly handsome. But does she know what she wants out of life? Does she even know who she is? How can know she when she's torn between two men?
Naturally, the pants themselves have to play a part in this story, and indeed, they're continually FedEx-ed from friend to friend. The question is: Do any of them need the pants anymore? You'd think that, at this point, a pair of old jeans traveling the world would reveal itself as a big metaphor. They may realize that by the time the film ends. I'm not entirely sure, though.
Moments of this movie are perhaps a little too sentimental, and the general plot may be a little too formulaic. At times, the dialogue is a bit contrived. Consider this conversation: When Tibby says drearily, "I suck at relationships. I should have been a guy," Lena calmly responds, "A guy wouldn't care about sucking at relationships." Only best friends in a coming-of-age story could get away with lines like that. Then again, I never expected a reinvention of the wheel. Movies like "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2"--and its predecessor--are aimed at a very specific audience, namely teenage girls; if they can get something out of it other than the sight of four young women looking pretty, if they can leave the theater understanding the more complex aspects of the story, then the filmmakers can include all the predictable dialogue they want. I think this movie will get the job done, not merely for teenage girls, but for anyone open to the idea.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants grows up pretty quickly in this sequelAug. 7 2008
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First of all, it is certainly an interesting experience to be the only guy in the theater for a movie like "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2." At least I was not the oldest person there, and while that person was my date at least we could take comfort in knowing that we have both read all four of Ann Brashares' novels about the "Sisterhood," and therefore were entitled to be there with all the young folks. Screenwriter Elizabeth Chandler ("What a Girl Wants") is working mainly from the final book in the series, "Forever in Blue: The Fourth Summer of the Sisterhood," which means that Tibby (Amber Tamblyn) has a pregnancy scare in New York City, Carmen (America Ferrera) is doing a Shakespeare play in Vermont, Bee (Blake Lively) is on a archeological dig in Turkey, and Lena (Alexis Bledel) is drying to figure out how to draw a nude male model. However, some key elements from earlier novels are worked in the story, specifically Lena finding out Kostos is married and Bee meeting her grandmother from "The Second Summer of the Sisterhood," and Carmen's mother having a baby from "Girls in Pants: The Third Summer of the Sisterhood" (to be clear, the movie tie-in paperback being published as "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2" is the fourth book, "Forever Blue" and not the book about the second summer).
Having read the books can be a key factor in enjoying the movie because things move really quickly and fans of the series will constantly be filling in gaps. The best indication of how fast things move is that when Bee goes to Alabama her grandmother (Blythe Danner) immediately reocgnizes her, so they forgo the entire bit about Bee pretending to be Gilda. The biggest element missing from the final book is Bee's romance in Turkey, but the decision to create a new character, Shohreh Aghdashloo as Professor Nasrin Mehani, is a good move because it places the emphasis on Bee coming to terms with her mother's suicide, which was arguably the most important thing that happened to her in the four books. Additionaly, following Tibby's pregnancy scare with having to be in the delivery room with Carmen's mother added an additional resonance to Tibby's story.
Circumstances have certainly changed for the four actresses since the release of "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants" three years ago can simply be expressed by noting that when the first movie came out Tamblyn was doing "Joan of Arcadia" and Bledel had "Gilmore Girls," and now those shows are done and Ferrera with "Ugly Betty" and Lively on "Gossip Girl" are currently in the front seat of American pop culture. There was reportedly some reluctance to get the band back together for this second film, but at least everybody got to go to Santorini this time around and watch Bledel freckle. However, the main thing I noticed in this second movie is that Amber Tamblyn is clearly the best actress in the bunch, which is saying something if you have seen Ferrera in "Real Women Have Curves." But this is Tamblyn's movie and most of the best moments (and virtually all of the good lines) belong to her.
The other thing I noticed is that the guys in this movie are all good guys. Brian (Leonardo Nam) is everything Tibby is not, which is exactly what she needs, Ian (Tom Wisdom) is the proverbial Prince Charming for Carmen, and the only downside for Lena choosing between Leo (Jesse Williams) and Kostas (Michael Rady) is that one of the two does not believe there is one person who everybody to love, which is not exactly a deal breaker. The only really villain in the proceedings would be Carmen's supposed friend, Julia (Rachel Nichols), but that just underscores the point that the girl's are in many ways their own worst enemies. Their faults, dear readers, lie in themselves more in than others, and for the Sisterhood actualization truly comes from within. Again, because the film is covering so much, flipping from character to character as the Traveling Pants make their appointed rounds, there is a sense of sketching characters and connecting dots. Not knowing the back stories, which are necessarily reduced to assumptions without the benefit of actual exposition, can put viewers at risk for enjoying this summer of 2008 film. Director Sanaa Hamri made her mark directing music videos, so at least she has an appreciation for having to be concise in her scenes. The net result is not a great film, but certainly a satisfying one for the Sisterhood readership.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Can't BELIEVE I'm Saying This--Better Than the BookNov. 28 2008
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I started watching this with very low expectations. I figured it would be based on the fourth book, and I hated the fourth book, so, you know, not all that excited. I came out of it a totally happy person. It seems to me that the screenwriter took everything that was wrong with the fourth book and fixed it. True, I would have liked to see Win, but that's, imo, the only thing the movie really lacked. The acting was great, the chemistry was astounding (and here everyone was saying the girls didn't want to do this!), the storylines, amazing amazing amazing. Upon reading book 4, I was highly disappointed that they lost the pants, but now, watching the movie, I see why it had to happen. Random comments: -Alexis Bledel makes a much better Lena than a Rory. She's so much more natural as a quiet, down-to-earth girl, rather than Ms. Spoiled Rotten. -LOVED Amber Tamblyn's acting, she's been the best part of both movies. Her and Brian are just too cute, and her 'miracle' moment was probably my favorite of the entire movie. -Glad they kept Labor Coach Tibby in! -Best lines? Tie between "And leave me in the middle of my life? God!" and "We are terrible at not loving each other." One hilarious, one sweet, both pretty much summarizing the entirety of this movie and real life. I am not the type to EVER prefer a movie adaptation over a book. I always think the movies cheapen the written word. This is the one exception. Loved it, loved it, LOVED it.
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Forever in blue jeansAug. 8 2008
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This is actually the title of the fourth and last Ann Brashares book, which this film is in part based upon. The four friends who've been kept united through first a summer of separation and now college are now doing their first college summer apart. Their interests have also diverged and each member of the sisterhood but one has a love interest (or two) now.
Carmen (America Ferrera), who was hoping that the girls would all be together again for the summer, spent her year lost at Yale. When she realizes that everyone else has plans they hadn't told her about, she opts to go to a summer stock camp for young actors with her 'friend', Julia (Rachel Nichols). One of the Shakespearean actors in the company, Ian (Tom Wisdom) urges her to try out--and the former backstage girl actually gets a part.
Tibby (Amber Tamblyn), who was at NYU has to return for the summer because she didn't get her romantic comedy done. She and Brian (Leonardo Nam) take things to the next level with some interesting consequences.
When Lena (Alexis Bledel) attends her Bapi's funeral in Greece, she learns that Kostos (Michael Rady) is married. Devastated, she comes back to the RISD to art school despite her parents' wishes otherwise. She gets involved with Leo (Jesse Williams) a young male model.
Bridget (Blake Lively) is looking into the past. Before heading off for an archeology camp in Turkey, she discovers letters from her grandmother. She never knew the woman wrote her and this haunts her during the dig. She eventually returns home early to meet the woman she doesn't remember (Blythe Danner).
Overall, this is definitely a chick flick. But it's aimed at the younger crowd, the YA readers of this series. Still, being 'forever in blue jeans' myself, I love these stories and have read every one.
The coda for this series is excellent and a good testament to the stuff that binds friendship together. It's not all blue jeans, but the shared memories and continued communication between friends.
Rebecca Kyle, August 2008
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
A story of relationships drifted or forced apart, but then re-united.Nov. 9 2010
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THE SISTERHOOD OF THE TRAVELING PANTS2 stars Amber Tamblyn (daughter of the beloved Russ Tamblyn, star of Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm, West Side Story, Tom Thumb, and other films), America Ferrera (of "Ugly Betty" fame), Blake Lively, and Alexis Bledel (looks like Keira Knightly, but not emaciated). This is one of my all-time-favorite movies, mostly because of its celebration of people who devote themselves to the arts.
As with Pants-1, the film uses a pair of patched blue jeans as a device that provides a unifying feature to the story. Each girl wears the blue jeans for a while, then mails the blue jeans to the next girl, and the film follows the adventures of each girl in succession. The movie starts with a purse-snatching, but then the camera pans to the right, and we see a movie camera filming the purse-snatching (the purse-snatching was all an act).
Ms. Ferrera, a Yale undergrad has kinds of things going on in her life--her mom is pregnant, and expects to go to Alabama to visit her folks, but she is really destined to go to Vermont be a stage-hand for the summer at the Village Theater Arts Festival.
Then, we see Ms. Bledel at a funeral in Greece, and she encounters her former boyfriend from Pants-1. She is shocked when she discovers that he has gotten married. Then ten minutes into the movie, we see the 4 girls meet with the pants, discussing their plans. Then they disperse -- Bledel to Greece to take art lessons, Ferrera to Vermont, Tamblyn to be a videostore clerk in New York City, and Lively to an archeological dig in Turkey. There is actually another major character in the movie, Rachel Nichols (looks just like Renee Zellweger), who provides many interesting sneers, snide remarks, and condescending expressions. In fact, Rachel Nichols provides more quirky expressions than all of the funny, quirky expression from Ferris Bueller's Day Off.
COMEDY IN ART CLASS.
Another interesting subtle point is when Ms. Bledel has her first day in the figure drawing class, and the model is a totally naked hunk. (Don't worry, parents, they don't show anything.) Bledel is nervous, talks excessively in a nervous manner, and nervously drops her pencil box. Also, she twiddles her hair nervously.
COMEDY WITH ASIAN BOYFRIEND.
Ms. Tamblyn provides a nice contrast to the other overachieving girls (actress, archeologist, artist). She is just a clerk in a video rental outlet. Her dialogue is about late fees. The film centers around her relationship with her boyfriend. In this movie, they both lose their you-know-what together. Ms. Tamblyn exclaims, "Even though I am a feminist, I still enjoy a box of chocolates." In the same scene, she asks, "Was I the first girl to say yes?" The boyfriend answers, "Of course not. I mean, of course you are!" 30 minutes into the picture is a bit of slapstick. Later on, when Ms.Tamblyn believes herself to be pregnant, she walks down the city street in a daze, and passes a pregnant woman struggling to enter her automobile, and passes a mother fighting with her screaming children (obviously, Ms.Tamblyn is thinking that she has entered Hell).
COMEDY IN THE THEATER.
Ms.Ferrera is back stage tending a curtain raising device, and it spontaneously malfunctions, and the curtain plops on top of actor Tom Wisdom. This event leads to them meeting each other.
COMEDY IN TURKEY.
More comedy comes from Turkey. Ms. Lively is at her archeological dig in Turkey. She finds a mandible (jaw bone), discolored from thousands of years of exposure to the elements. "Should have brushed more!" she exclaims.
HIGH POINT OF THIS MOVIE.
The high point of this movie is Ms.Ferrera's success in being promoted from an apprentice stage hand to giving a well-received performance as the leading lady in a Shakespeare play. While rehearsing her lines in a meadow with Tom Wisdom, Tom observes how people in the United States speak, and how Shakespeare writes: "Instead of saying, 'Enjoy the honey-heavy dew of slumber,' what we say is, 'Catch some ZZZ's.'" And during a rehearsal, Ms.Ferrera delivers her lines so elegantly that Tom Wisdom forgets his lines. Shortly thereafter, the director tells Ms.Ferrera, "Do NOT go to drama school" (referring to the fact that Ms.Ferrera is already an extraordinarily accomplished actress). In my opinion, this particular scene, where Tom Wisdom forgets his lines, is one the greatest scenes in the history of cinema.
OVERRIDING THEME OF THIS FILM.
In addition to the theme of the pants, the movie has this overriding theme--uniting, separation, then uniting again:
(1) Ms. Bledel is separated from her Greek boyfriend from Pants-1 (the boy who saved her from drowing). In Pants2, we find that he has married a woman he does not care for. But at the end of Pants-2, Bledel gets disgusted with the male model hunk, and returns to the first Greek boyfriend, since he had his marriage annuled.
(2) Ms. Lively is separated from her grandmother for 10 years, due to a complicated glitch due to a tragedy involving her mother, and intervention by her father, but in the second half of Pants2, she is reunited with her grandmother, and they become close.
(3) Tamblyn gets separated from her Asian boyfriend, because of that sort of uncomfortableness with the false-alarm pregnancy. But later, they become re-united.
(4) Ferrera is at first close to Tom Wisdom, a young British actor who stars in their play. But betrayal from another character in the movie, Rachel Nichols, leads to uncomfortable feelings. But this is reversed during the course of events.