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With: Alexis Bledel, America Ferrera, Blake Lively, Amber Tamblyn, Jesse Williams, Michael Rady, Blythe Danner, Shohreh Aghdashloo, Lucy Hale, Kyle MacLachlan, Leonardo Nam, Rachel Nichols, Tom Wisdom
Written by: Elizabeth Chandler, based on a novel by Ann Brashares
Directed by: Sanaa Hamri
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for mature material and sensuality
Running Time: 117
Date: 08/06/2008

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 (2008)

2 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Scenes from the Jeans

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

The pants don't make much of a showing in The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2, but no matter. They're nothing more than a gimmick to draw us into the lives of our four well-drawn characters, and despite my misgivings I was gleefully, guiltily glad to see them all again. Emerging from the books by Ann Brashares and from the 2005 movie, these four girls have been friends since birth. On the verge of their first summer apart from one another, they find a magic pair of jeans that fits all four body types. Now, the girls have grown used to spending time apart and the sharing of the jeans has become a less meaningful ritual.

Slinky, blonde soccer champ Bridget (Blake Lively) spends her summer at a Turkish archeological dig, but a box of missing letters from her grandmother (Blythe Danner) changes her plans. Thin, bookish, saucer-eyed Lena (Alexis Bledel) tries to forget her Greek boyfriend with a new male model from her drawing class. Voluptuous Latina Carmen (America Ferrera) accompanies her actress friend Julia (the sublime Rachel Nichols) to an acting camp in Vermont and suddenly finds herself on stage, as well as in the arms of a handsome Brit. And the cynical, appealing, pear-shaped Tibby (Amber Tamblyn) takes a break from NYU film school to have sex with her chiseled boyfriend, resulting in a possible pregnancy.

Taking over the directorial reins from Ken Kwapis, music-video maker Sanaa Hamri copies the successful formula of the first, including lots of fantasy (especially the cartoonish boyfriend characters), slapstick, heavy-handed plot twists and beautiful vacation spots, but with equal amounts doled out to all four girls. Even with only a fourth of the running time apiece, each girl still clocks in with her own potent little short film. The theme this time is that, like Enid and Rebecca in Terry Zwigoff's masterpiece Ghost World (2001), the friends have begun to grow painfully apart, to the point that they no longer share their news with one another. And even though, unlike that film, the "Sisterhood" shuns reality for a happy ending, the sweet emotional pull of their unshakable, long-term friendship is hard to resist.

DVD Details: The 2008 DVD from Warner Home Video comes with a featurette explaining how fans inspired the final sequence. Other extras include additional scenes and a blooper reel.

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