Image Courtesy of Amazon.com
Amber Tamblyn …. Tibby
Alexis Bledel …. Lena
America Ferrera …. Carmen
Blake Lively …. Bridget
Jenna Boyd …. Bailey
Bradley Whitford …. Al
Nancy Travis …. Lydia Rodman
Rachel Ticotin …. Carmen’s Mother
Mike Vogel …. Eric
Michael Rady …. Kostas
Leonardo Nam …. Brian McBrian
Maria Konstadarou …. Yia Yia
George Touliatos …. Papou
Kyle Schmid …. Paul Rodman
Erica Hubbard …. Soccer Pal Diana
If one were to peruse the message boards of the Internet Movie Database for The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, it’d chock-full of posts from plenty of heterosexual guys proclaiming their liking of this film. Its par for the course considering that this film is considered a “chick flick” whose appeal is centered on teenage girls and fans of the book by Anne Brashares. It may not have the testosterone inducing power of a film like Predator, but The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants isn’t merely a good “chick flick.” It’s a good movie.
Sisterhood follows four best friends and their adventures apart during a pivotal summer in their lives.
Tibby (Amber Tamblyn from television’s Joan of Arcadia) is working at a large chain store, filming her own video in an attempt at trying to showcase some sort of grand vision about life. She is assisted by Bailey (Jenna Boyd), a girl who manages to force her way into being her assistant. Lena, played by Alexis Bidel, is visiting her family in Greece. Lena meets a boy her family disapproves and she can not help but be fascinated by. Blake Lively is Bridget, the athlete of the group. She is spending her summer in Mexico at a soccer camp for elite soccer players. Bridget has a romantic liaison of her own with a coach at her camp. America Ferrera rounds out the cast as Carmen. Carmen is spending the summer with her father and is thrown for a loop when his brand new family is introduced into the equation.
United by a pair of blue jeans that somehow manages to fit the unique body type of each, this is a story that could have resorted to a lot of the sort of comedy from unintelligent teen comedies like American Pie and the imitators it spawned. The blue jeans are mailed to each location after a (certain amount of time) and serve as the story’s main driving arc. We get to visit each girl for an allotted time (they each have a week with the pants) and each story progresses further once each girl gets her respective turn with the pants.
As a plot device, it works well. There is just enough time to develop the story arc for each girl without losing focus of the other three storylines as well. But the focus is primarily on Carmen and Lena, with short diversions to the other two girls. There’s a lot to work with for the other two storylines that seems uneven. Kwapis has quality direction, but it isn’t even-handed.
In an ensemble movie with lots of moving parts, he has crafted a good story about the changes in life that affect the outcome of life. The movie does suffer at times from slow spots in the second act and some pacing issues sporadically that take away from the story as well.
Sister of the Traveling Pants is a movie about the sort of changes that occur between youth and adulthood; it’s also a lot more intelligent than teen movies about change have been in the past decade. The cast really helps bring this movie alive. There is a strong chemistry between the four that radiates off the screen; there is a strong sense that these four are (or could be, at least) good friends. They have a natural timing with one another that is hard to duplicate.
All four characters have interesting personality quirks that normally would drive people apart from being friends and turn them into the bonds that unite them. It’s a wonderful tale of youth, maturation and the bonds that unite and strengthen people.
Score : 8 / 10
Presented in a Widescreen format with a 1.85:1 aspect ration, the film looks great. It’s a great transfer with vivid colors.
Presented in a Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound, Sisterhood sounds fantastic. For a film that relies more on dialogue, the score comes through loud and clear and makes it an enjoyable DVD experience.
Additional scenes are deleted and otherwise unused scenes with additional commentary by Ken Kwapis. Short and sweet, the deleted scenes really didn’t add much to the film and it’s easy to see why they weren’t included in it.
Fun on the set is a featurette with behind-the-scenes gags and laughs. Featuring the four women, it’s fascinating to see the four react off camera as they do on camera. There’s a real sense that there is a friendship off screen as there is on screen. It is a lot of fluff, to be totally honest, but at the same time it’s a different look at an ensemble cast. The way they interact with each other is fascinating and sincere and runs around four minutes in length.
Suckumentary is a rough cut of Tibby and Bailey’s documentary. Running around seven minutes, it’s an interesting little featurette included.
Sisters, Secrets, and the Traveling Pants is a featurette where you get to see and hear the gal pals as they watch selected scenes and talk about them. While Blake Lively isn’t there due to a missed flight, which the three remaining ladies call her and place her on the speakerphone to explain, the trio goes through some of the film’s more influential scenes and talk about it. Nothing of real importance is said, but the chemistry between them is amazing. Running around 17 minutes, it’s interesting to see the women talk about the film.
A conversation with author Ann Brashares is a featurette featuring the book’s author. Running around t minutes, it focuses on Brashares’ ideas on how she came up with the idea of the pants. Developing the idea of the pants around a different concept of how she wanted to portray young people, the cast and crew come in as well to discuss the story and the book.
Score : 10 / 10