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Overall Rating

Awesome: 16.39%
Worth A Look: 37.7%
Pretty Bad: 3.28%
Total Crap: 1.64%

6 reviews, 25 user ratings

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Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, The
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by brianorndorf

"A better fit the first time around"
3 stars

Adapted from the exalted novel by Ann Brashares, “Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants” is a slight dramedy that will send the core readership into a frenzy seeing their beloved characters finally up on the screen. The rest of the audience won’t be nearly as enthused.

Artistic Tibby (Amber Tamblyn, “Joan of Arcadia”), shy Lena (Alexis Bledel, “Gilmore Girls”), hot-tempered Carmen (America Ferrera, “Real Women Have Curves”), and boy-crazy Bridget (newcomer Blake Lively) are four 16-year-old best friends about to embark on separate adventures over the summer. Finding a pair of jeans that magically fits them all perfectly, they pledge to share the pants with each other during their time away, believing the pants to have powers that will bring them good fortune and happiness. As the summer progresses, each of the girls goes on an emotional journey, some through love, others through death and disappointment, that will alter their lives forever.

Adapted from the adored novel by Ann Brashares, “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants” seems awfully reminiscent of “The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood,” except skewed slightly younger for the Jesse McCartney generation. A film about the resilient nature of friendship, “Pants” is a mostly harmless concoction, which is a big part of its problem.

Directed by Ken Kwapis (“The Beautician and the Beast,” “Dunston Checks In”), “Pants” is a flavorless experience that should please the target demo with its collection of boy-crazy girls and denim-enhanced themes of bonding. At first glance, this appears to be a routine sisterhood odyssey that offers no hope for inspiration. Soon enough, it’s clear that this is symptomatic of Kwapis’s direction, which lacks any distinct vision, and stops the film from blossoming to life. Handed a story with an episodic structure, Kwapis doesn’t add much pizzazz to blend the stories together outside of a few show-offy transition shots. The friendship core of “Pants” is watered down in the process, and what should’ve been a barnstorming tween masterpiece comes across as featherweight, and at times, oddly insignificant.

Once the comedic and flavorless first half of the picture breaks away, “Pants” gets melodramatic and increasingly enjoyable. Unable to find a right tone throughout the entire film, Kwapis allows the picture to freefall into a flat-out tearjerker, which gives the film much needed dramatic sustenance. Tibby’s relationship with a fragile neighbor girl named Bailey (Jenna Boyd) becomes more immediate once it stops being comedic and begins to take on significance. And once Puerto Rican-born Carmen decides to lash out at her father (Bradley Whitford) over his abandonment of her for a more WASPy family, this subplot finally steps away from the achingly dull and stereotypical Caucasians-are-boring, Latinos-have-life material the film relies way too much on. Once the characters begin to experience legitimate emotional reactions, the popularity of the source material begins to make sense, and the film gets infinitely better and more involving. It’s such a shame it takes so long to arrive there.

Kwapis’s pedestrian direction would demolish this film without a good cast, but thankfully “Pants” is covered well in that area. The four leads are terrific, each with a very singular personality, as well as heaps of charm to get through the rough patches in the script. The standout is Amber Tamblyn as the regretful Tibby, who registers strongly with playful disappointment over her bleak vocational choice (a Wal-Mart type store) and eventual descent into friendship with Bailey and grief. I also enjoyed America Ferrera’s spirited performance as Carmen, who instills the film with a small amount of unpredictability that is sorely missing from the screenplay.

“Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants” will be catnip for the core readership, but the possibility for this material to register more strongly with the senses nags the entire film. See it only for the performances from four actresses who are sure to do great things in their careers.

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originally posted: 05/28/09 06:35:02
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User Comments

1/29/14 Monday Morning Would like to screw America Ferrara until her ears bleed. 2 stars
12/23/12 Keith Miron Good looking young people in this so-so drama 3 stars
2/01/11 art America FERRARA was a STANDOUT,although she was A HAM! 3 stars
5/31/10 jody labo amazing movie!!! great themes 5 stars
7/30/08 the dork knight I'd like to get in those sisterhood pants. Hoo baby 4 stars
11/18/07 David Pollastrini hot women in this! 3 stars
6/26/07 Katie Very cute. I loved how they showed sex outside of marriage as being unfullfilling. 4 stars
10/23/06 William Goss Ideal for teen girls, pretty petty for everyone else. America fares best of the four. 3 stars
10/23/06 Lizzie absolutely great for men and women of all ages Be prepared to cry! 5 stars
5/23/06 maggie it was a good movie but it didnt have some details that lead to a part in the movie 4 stars
4/28/06 Loz enertaining and inspirational, i cried. Loved it! 5 stars
12/27/05 nabila khouri this movie is great!!!! i've watched it 3 times in one day......totally great. 5 stars
12/15/05 Sherry McCourt I loved the movie, and even cried. The books are fantastic. Hopefully there will be more. 5 stars
10/19/05 Valerie Cool movie. 4 stars
10/12/05 The Velcro Warlock PC-mongers really sittin down on job,lettin film w/"sisterhood" in title be so inoffensive! 3 stars
9/15/05 jes this movie was the best movie ever created ilove blake livley in the movie 5 stars
9/04/05 Stephanie Throckmorton Not great, but better than I imagined any film with "Sisterhood" in the title could be! 3 stars
7/02/05 Eric Rollins What's next Steel Magnolia Ya-Ya Beaches? 2 stars
6/22/05 ME I love this movie 5 stars
6/19/05 Norma Parker sweet 4 stars
6/14/05 Becca Hosch Awesome movie! 5 stars
6/09/05 b landers Very cute girl movie. 3 stars
6/04/05 Vicky It was soo awesome...and really touched me, I cried the whole time non-stop 5 stars
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  01-Jun-2005 (PG)
  DVD: 11-Oct-2005



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