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Overall Rating
3.64

Awesome: 16.39%
Worth A Look: 37.7%
Just Average40.98%
Pretty Crappy: 3.28%
Sucks: 1.64%

6 reviews, 25 user ratings


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Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, The
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by Jason Whyte

"Amber Tamblyn owes me $100 and a date with me."
4 stars

So here I am, arriving at the multiplex, embarrassed as heck to be in an auditorium where the ticketed show is entitled “The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants”…I quickly get to my favourite seat in the back row of the stadium-seated auditorium which you access from the middle (gone are the days where you could sneak in the back and not have anyone see you). I walk up the stairs in my usual movie-critic dress; my typical t-shirt and jeans combo, with my day-bag wrapped around my side containing bottled water, my notebook and my CD player where I’m listening to The Album Leaf and Sufjan Stevens on repeat.

I sit down and notice something….I’m the only guy in the theatre, which is more than half full. The majority of the female persuasion exudes a giggling sound as the screen advertisements click one after the other. The smell of popcorn and candy mixed in with lip gloss and perfume makes me even more uncomfortable in my situation. The occasional head turns my way as if I’m insane that I would even be here. A moment later, a man in his 40’s arrives with his wife, and I suddenly don’t feel so bad.

But still, I’m here to review; I’m here to tell you about the film that I recently witnessed, a film that has an odd title to my ears and an even worse advertising campaign. I’m sure that the novel for “The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants” is great, although I haven’t read it, and yet here’s a surprisingly wonderful film based on that book about the core of friendships that are tested when brought apart. Yes, they’re adorable 16 year old girls and they get crushes on cute boys, but if you’ve ever had the time where you are sitting around a campfire with your friends, or playing video games with an old friend, or you had a fight with someone and had to tell them you were sorry, this movie is for you. Get past the initial girl shock and this film pretty much speaks to everyone.

So I know what you’re thinking. “Travelling Pants?” The idea, that even the characters don’t take that seriously, is a pair of magic jeans that seem to fit all four of the lead characters, best friends Tibby (Amber Tamblyn), Lena (Alexis Bledel, who will always be my Rory), Carmen (America Ferrera) and Bridget (Blake Lively) who are characters who couldn’t be different from each other. Tibby has a quick-wit, sarcastic look on life, Lena is a shy worrywart, Carmen is a kind soul that worries about her looks, and Bridget looks like a model from Seventeen magazines. And yet, the four of these are more than comfortable in each other’s company.

Summer has arrived, and the four of them are on different paths for the summer. Lena is off to Greece to visit her grandparents. Bridget is off to a summer camp in Mexico. Carmen is off to Virginia to visit her father, who separated from her mom several years ago. And Tibby is stuck back home in Washington D.C. (Which is really Vancouver) where she’s working in a Wallman’s Department store (Which is really a Zellers that could have been shot in suburban Richmond). They decide to keep in touch by mailing the pants to one another every week. Thankfully, this is handled well, with the pants not becoming a main plot point but rather a vessel to bridge these interesting characters.

For Lena, she meets a nice guy in Greece but the man has tension with Lena’s family. Lena persists anyway and develops a strong relationship. The Greece sequences are the most gorgeously filmed. The relationship angle leads to the gorgeous Bridget, who is really good at soccer and even better at running. She becomes attracted to a soccer coach in Mexico despite his being older and the feelings not being mutual. Carmen, meanwhile, finds out that her father (Bradley Whitford from TV’s The West Wing ) has a revelation for Carmen that puts their relationship to the test. She suddenly feels like a third-wheel to her sudden new surroundings and thinks that her father has changed. A crucial scene in the film occurs when Carmen is fitting on clothes and has a war of words with some of the new people in her life, and especially later when she finally breaks down to her father. And back home, Tibby heads to work with her digital-video camera in tow to make a “suckumentary” about the people that work around her (“It’s like a movie, but boring!” jokes one of her co-workers). This is where she meets Bailey (Jenna Boyd) who is pretty much the antithesis to Tibby, and slowly but surely brings out the good person in her by becoming Tibby’s documentary assistant.

Out of the four stories, the material with Carmen and Tibby speak out the most. Carmen’s difficult struggle with her father are among the most powerful in the film, and Tibby’s discovery of an unlikely new friend in Bailey, who has a terrible secret of her own, has the most emotional strength. A pivotal scene towards the end has Bailey at her last string, and director Ken Kwapis (who directed several episodes of Freaks and Geeks and the film He Said, She Said) handles it with care, instead of turning it into something taken from a soap opera.

There is not a weak link in the cast. Even if Lena’s story doesn’t have as much pull as the rest, Bledel, with those amazing blue eyes (one of the many reasons I tune into Gilmore Girls every week) does solid work as a girl who opens up while on vacation. Blake Lively, in her first acting job, is uncannily beautiful and would be distracting if she was just looks alone, but she does solid work. America Ferrera (from Real Women Have Curves) is terrific as someone who has to come to terms with her new family. And Amber Tamblyn is wonderful as the sullen, sarcastic Tibby who gets her emotional shell broken when it meets Bailey; the amazing Jenna Boyd (best known as the shattering-wail youngest daughter in 2003’s dud The Missing) has a handful of scenes but she nearly steals the entire film as a kind soul who changes a soul that really needed it. I must also mention Bradley Whitford, who has some great moments with Ferrera.

I could have done without some of the mad-cap ways the film pulls the loose ends together (Bridget’s dog grabbing the jeans to magically lead her to the Soccer Coach? And another scene where they all meet up again after a long haul and instantly go on a road trip?), but to this moment I am still surprised how much I was involved in the film and how much it had an effect on me. It’s nice to have a movie like this sneak up on you every once in a while, to tell you that it’s still okay to let yourself get wrapped up in a simple story of character and friendships. When the last shot rolls on the credits, we have seen these people through an adventure and we have come to care about them.

How pleasant it is that I walked into the female-filled cinema thinking that we would get something along the lines of the “Ya Ya Sisterhood” but rather something along the lines of Lawrence Kasdan’s character pieces. Suddenly, I don’t feel so embarrassed to be there at all.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=12399&reviewer=350
originally posted: 06/11/05 13:46:13
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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
1/31/11 art America FERRARA was a STANDOUT,although she was A HAM! 3 stars
5/30/10 jody labo amazing movie!!! great themes 5 stars
6/11/09 art IT"S A GREAT BIG HALLMARK GREETING CARD! 1 stars
7/29/08 the dork knight I'd like to get in those sisterhood pants. Hoo baby 4 stars
11/17/07 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
10/26/06 J LINDSDAY I LIKED THE MOVIE AND THE BOOK 5 stars
10/22/06 William Goss Ideal for teen girls, pretty petty for everyone else. America fares best of the four. 3 stars
10/22/06 Lizzie absolutely great for men and women of all ages Be prepared to cry! 5 stars
5/22/06 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
12/26/05 nabila khouri this movie is great!!!! i've watched it 3 times in one day......totally great. 5 stars
12/14/05 Sherry McCourt I loved the movie, and even cried. The books are fantastic. Hopefully there will be more. 5 stars
10/18/05 Valerie Cool movie. 4 stars
10/11/05 The Velcro Warlock PC-mongers really sittin down on job,lettin film w/"sisterhood" in title be so inoffensive! 3 stars
9/14/05 jes this movie was the best movie ever created ilove blake livley in the movie 5 stars
9/03/05 Stephanie Throckmorton Not great, but better than I imagined any film with "Sisterhood" in the title could be! 3 stars
7/01/05 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
6/13/05 Becca Hosch Awesome movie! 5 stars
6/08/05 b landers Very cute girl movie. 3 stars
6/03/05 Vicky It was soo awesome...and really touched me, I cried the whole time non-stop 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  01-Jun-2005 (PG)
  DVD: 11-Oct-2005

UK
  N/A

Australia
  23-Jun-2005




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