Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2

Does One Size Really Fit All?

Starring: Alexis Bledel, Blake Lively

By Robert Patrick

No matter how diligently I tried, and I did try for this review, there’s no possible way that I can adequately understand what it’s like to be a girl in my lifetime. Unfortunately, as you can see here, I have my apprehensions about reviewing a movie concerning adolescent female bonding, because, well, I don’t really have a connector to those very foreign experiences. To put it simply, I am not the target audience for this sequel. Try as I might, and I will probably err, I will never fully comprehend this film. So, with that being said, and if you believe me to be a poor judge of this movie, perhaps you should read another critic’s review. I will fully understand. If not, here we go.

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2, three years removed from the first installment of the Ann Brashares adaptation, follows our four heroines as they approach their college years. If you’re familiar with the celebrated series, the girls form a pack with each other, in the form of an old pair of pants, and share the jeans between each other by sending them back and forth, believing that they hold a spectral force of luck.

As time passes by, the four girls, all of whom had waited to spend time together, end up breaking apart again regardless. Bridget, a soccer prodigy in the last film, gets accepted to study archeology in Turkey. There, while unearthing skeletal remains, she ends up finding a mother figure in the wise Nasrin Mehani, a professor at the site of the dig. Carmen, on the other hand, attends a university away from her friends, and finds herself particularly lonely. Tibby, working on a film at NYU, ends up having some potentially costly interactions with her boyfriend, Brian McBrian (worst fictional name ever), that will eventually propel dissension between the two. Our last protagonist, Lena, probably has the least to worry about; she ends up dating a nude model. In other plot contrivances, Kyle MacLachlan of Twin Peaks fame also makes an appearance, though not having any problems in the film, other than being cast as the weird drama director, Peter, of course. Does all of this groan of exasperation? I should think so, yes.

Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 has a lot of ambition and confidence, perhaps too much. I think, upon reflection, director Sanaa Hamri’s film is too hubristic to concentrate on one problem, navigate it tactfully, and be content with its educated exploration. Instead, Hamri pummels our characters’ problems into the crowd like a toplofty steamroller, expediting what would otherwise be difficult, emotive tensions into what seem like sitcom resolutions. A small pat on the back, a hug, and some soft violins, much like a sheep herder, help wrangle up the emotions into a nice, complete ending. I guess, at this point, maybe I’m expecting too much from a coming of age film. I would like to see, if someone is going to preach about the realities of teenage life, the possibility of at least one unhappy ending for these characters. If you’re going to pockmark the script with serious and detrimental problems, you should at least address them as such.

Sisterhood does have a lot of good moments, despite my quarrels with its structure. The acting, for one, is impressive. The pacing, also a thing of monumental importance, is better than it deserves to be. Going into this film, you will see some sincerity, some rich moments of generosity from its actors, and some exploitive script writing. I’m not a fan of this film. Maybe it’s the guy in me talking, but more than likely the director’s lack of words that convince me otherwise.

Estimated guy score 2/5 Estimated girl score 3/5

Author: Rob Patrick

The program director of the Olympia Film Society, Rob is also a former San Diego Film Critics Society member. He has written for The East County Californian, The Alpine Sun, The East County Herald, The San Diego Entertainer, and the San Diego Reader. When he isn't curating a film festival, he is drinking rosé out of a plastic cup in Seattle or getting tattoos from Jenn Champion.

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