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Surprisingly Good!

  • Jun 2, 2005
Pros: Cute, unique story, fairly close to book

Cons: Sometimes cheesy, a few changes from the book, at times poor supporting cast

The Bottom Line: Good for a girls' night out!

A girlfriend of mine asked me to see The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants with her and, being a huge fan of the books so far, I agreed. We made it a girls' night out; four of us, a fun movie, ring pops to connect us (cute idea, but maybe not for all 20-something year-olds) and not-so-comfy but tolerable movie seats. Let the movie begin.

As with the beginning of the first book in the series, conveniently also named The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, and also my first-ever epinions book review, we are introduced the the four members of the Sisterhood with a story of how they met; their mothers shared two things in common: they were all four enrolled in a pregnancy yoga class, and they all four shared the same due date. After their birth, Bridget, Carmen, Lena, and Tibby become best friends, doing everything together. Near the beginning of the movie, the four are walking down the street, side by side, and we can clearly see how different they are. Lena is shy and beautiful, and seems not to want to show of her gorgeous self. Bridget is outgoing and sporty, and could be called the care-taker of the group, as she watches out for her girls. Carmen is a curvy Latin girl, and also the main narrator of our story. Tibby is an outspoken "hippie's child," and it definitely shows. They enter a second-hand store, talking about their plans for the summer, the first summer they won't all be together. Bridget is going to Baja to soccer camp, Lena is going to Greece to stay with her grandparents, Carmen is going to South Carolina to visit her father, and Tibby is... well, Tibby is staying home and getting a job at a local drugstore, Wallman's. They come across a pair of pants that mysterious fits them all and thus the magic of the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants begins...

Before the girl's go their separate ways, they first meet in the studio where their mothers all first met and hold a ceremony to begin the summer. The make rules for wearing the pants and decide that to help them stay together and linked, they will wear the pants, starting with Lena, since she's traveling the furthest, and have them for a week apiece before sending them to the next sister. Hopefully, the pants will work their magic throughout the summer.

The girls separate and its fun to see the vast differences between each of their destinations. Lena is in a beautiful, laid-back looking Greek hillside next to the water. She meets a boy named Kostas, but quickly learns from her grandmother that their families do not get along, and also that the little town she's staying in is full of gossips. Throughout Lena's experiences of the summer, she learns that maybe she shouldn't hide herself so much, that maybe people do see more than just her outside appearance when they look at her. She also learns that love works differently for everyone, and the pants give her the strength to open herself up.

Bridget is in a fun soccer camp in Baja, California. She's enjoying the soccer, the friends, and the thrill of the chase with an off-limits counselor. Bridget already has a lot of guts in pursuing what she thinks she wants, but she seems to have a bit of trouble setting limits for herself. When she gets the pants, she wants something to happen.

Carmen arrives at her father's new house in South Carolina to find a women standing at the front door. Her father surprises her with some news... he's getting married! Carmen is stunned that her exciting one-on-one summer with her dad is instead a family affair, with her on the outside and her father and his fiance and her two children on the inside. Carmen's soon-to-be step-mother doesn't seem to realize Carmen isn't blonde and fair-skinned like her children, she's Puerto Rican. Carmen does not take these surprise adjustments sitting down.

Tibby has been left at home to suffer at Wallman's and work on a boring-people documentary this summer. During a ho-hum workday, she finds a young girl sprawled on the store floor having fainted. The girl is named Bailey, and lives close to Tibby. Bailey is quite a handful; a pushy 12 year old set on being Tibby's film assistant. Tibby is reluctant, until she realizes Bailey's secret. Through Bailey, Tibby begins seeing things differently, and realizes that little things can mean more than you'd think.

The pants enable each of the four girls to find a strength they may not otherwise have had, and upon their reunion, they find that despite the time they've spent away from each other, they are closer than ever. Their experiences this summer were life-changing for each of them and in sharing them with each other, they can grow together.

This movie was surprisingly almost as enjoyable as the book! Unfortunately, I was disappointed at some changes from book to movie. For example, in the book, Lena had a sister who traveled with her to Greece. Not so in the movie, and Bridget's twin brother was also not present in the movie. The ending was a little "happier" than in the book and along with the other small differences, this annoyed me. However, it was definitely still enjoyable. The girls obviously had fantastic chemistry with each other; there were times they would be chattering away under the narration and it seemed so natural to them. The characterization was great in the main characters, but the supporting roles were not quite as good. I liked the transition scenes where it showed the pants traveling FedEx from destination to destination, and other transitions seemed to work well, like Carmen's soon-to-be step-brother's soccer game flowing smoothly into Bridget's camp soccer practices. The music was at times so sappy I wanted to barf, as were a few of the lines near the end of the movie. However, I have to admit a few tears did fall from my face, embarrassed as it is to say so.

This is a beautiful story about evolving friendships and teenagers doing the thing the do best- growing up.

I would say this film is appropriate for almost all ages, at least 9+.

Important (in my humble opinion) cast:
Directed by Ken Kwapis
Tibby... Amber Tamblyn, (Joan of Arcadia, The Ring)
Lena... Alexis Bledel, (Sin City)
Carmen... America Ferrera, (Real Women Have Curves)
Bridget... Blake Lively, (Sandman)
Bailey... Jenna Boyd I, (Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star, The Missing)

The Books:
The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants
The Second Summer of the Sisterhood


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More The Sisterhood of the Travelin... reviews
review by . October 14, 2005
posted in Movie Hype
THE SISTERHOOD OF THE TRAVELING PANTS (if you haven't read the novel by Ann Brashares) sounds like another silly, goofy chick flick, a made for summer popcorn movie for teenage girls to love and teenage boys to tolerate. But the title should NOT prevent the general audience from experiencing a truly tender, warm, balanced film about four teenage girlfriends bonded by a magical pair of jeans.    There are four stories here, each centered on the summer experiences of the four girls …
About the reviewer
Laura Elizabeth 'Anderson' Brack ()
Ranked #198
I'm brand new to Lunch and looking to get settled. I write on as laurashrti, and enjoy writing product reviews.      I'm a 27-year-old library employee working … more
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Who would expect a gimmick like a pair of magical pants to be the hook for such a smart, charming, and emotionally rich teen movie? Four close friends discover a pair of pants that fit them all perfectly, even though they're physically very different. Since all four are going in different directions for the summer, they pledge to each wear the pants for a week and then mail them to the next girl. In Greece, Lena (Alexis Bledel,Gilmore Girls) lands in the middle of aRomeo & Julietfamily-feud romance; Carmen (America Ferrera,Real Women Have Curves) discovers that her estranged father is about to marry a blonde Southern belle; Bridget (newcomer Blake Lively) flirts with love at a Mexican soccer camp; and Tibby (Amber Tamblyn,Joan of Arcadia) stays home and gets a boring retail job to pay for her documentary film--but finds herself with an unwanted young assistant (Jenna Boyd,The Missing). These four stories manage to cover an amazing amount of ground (touching on race, body issues, divorce, mortality, and more) without resorting to stereotypes or easy resolutions. The engaging characters are brought to vivid life by these four talented actresses, who grab this excellent script and run with it. One of the best movies about teenage life in a long, long time.--Bret Fetzer
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"Surprisingly Good!"
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