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June 8, 2005

Worn out "Traveling Pants"

by Grace Harter, Page Editor
There are no shockers here: "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants" is exactly what it seems- a chick flick. Boys beware: if your girlfriends somehow rope you into seeing this estrogen-soaked film, you're in for a long two hours.

The movie focuses on the summer happenings of Lena (Alexis Bledel), Carmen (America Ferrera), Tibby (Amber Tamblyn) and Bridget (Blake Lively). As the movie begins, the girls find out that (horror of all horrors!) they won't be together this summer. Lena will be jetting off to Greece to spend time with her relatives, Carmen will be catching up with her distant father in South Carolina, Tibby will be slaving away in a Wal-Martesque store and Bridget will be showing off in Mexico at soccer camp. On the eve of their splitting apart, the girls come across a pair of pants that magically fit all four of them perfectly. They decide to each keep the pants for a week before sending them on to the next girl, hence the title.

America Ferrera, Amber Tamblyn, Alexis Bledel and Blake Lively in a scene from "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants."
America Ferrera, Amber Tamblyn, Alexis Bledel and Blake Lively in a scene from "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants."
Each girl gets a little more than she bargained for. Lena falls in love for the first time with a boy whose family is, unfortunately, an enemy of her family. Bridget recklessly pursues one of her coaches who is totally gorgeous but so totally off-limits. Carmen learns that her father (Bradley Whitford) is getting married and gaining two new children in the process, and Tibby befriends a young girl (Jenna Boyd) who helps her see the world a little differently than her usual "doom and gloom" outlook.

It's all very sweet. It's also very done. The girls learn valuable life lessons, make new friends and learn to be true to themselves, just like in every other teen movie. The girls are more stereotypes than real people; Lena is the sweet, demure girl, Bridget is wild and reckless, Tibby is the artsy cynic and Carmen is the Latino spitfire with lots of curves and attitude. Sometimes the movie feels like unconnected vignettes about the lives of teenage girls.

Most of the supporting cast is very weak. The boys in the film have very little to say or do, other than smile and look handsome. More disappointing is how little the mothers have to do in the film. They figure insignificantly, if at all. The biggest presence is Bridget's mother, who doesn't appear at all. Her death is said to be the cause of Bridget's wild behavior. As for maternal interaction, that's basically it. Also weak is Bradley Whitford as Carmen's father. His disinterest in his daughter borders on neglect, and it's hard to see why she should be interesting in rekindling a relationship with a father who barely has time for her.

The real standout of the film isn't even a main character. It's Boyd as Tibby's young friend Bailey, who helps Tibby discover there's more to people than what meets the eye. Bailey persistent optimism and perceptiveness put her far ahead of all the other characters, who seem shallow and immature by comparison. Tibby and Bailey's exchanges are by far the best the film.

In the end, "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants" fulfills its expectations. It's sweet, it's girly and it's wholesome. It's all sugar, without any substance.

"The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants" is rated PG for thematic elements, some sensuality and language.

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  • a reader on June 14, 2005 at 4:43 PM
    Rhodes Scholar, Weekly Standard contributor and apparent SCO reader (his blog linked to an SCO story a few months back) Josh Chafetz loved "Sisterhood." Which is downright strange come to think of it...
  • Erin Davis (View Email) on June 25, 2005 at 5:56 PM
    You are totally wrong about that whole movie! it's just the way all girls want to be! Happy with cute boys!2 best friends hey threee is even better and not a whole lot to do with thier parents.
  • read the book on June 27, 2005 at 11:42 AM
    people who haven't read the book should not be allowed to review the movie. and you obviously haven't.
  • Ellis (View Email) on October 21, 2005 at 4:32 PM
    I didn't yet see the movie, but I think the books are great!
  • Stanze (View Email) on December 24, 2005 at 6:55 AM
    I'm still waiting that it starts in germany. I got the first two books, the third isn't out yet. That sucks. I hate germany. But I love the sisterhood. even if i hate what kostos did to lena. I was so angry I smashed my pen into my bed, yeah and it left a nice impression. I know I'm loosing my tmeper quick sometimes....
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