You would think with all the television success Blake Lively, America Ferrera, Amber Tamblyn and Alexis Bledel have had, they would be too big for their britches and would not want to do a sequel to “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.” Luckily for the fans of the books and the feature film, “Pants” is still a good fit for them.
“Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2” is a sweet, sentimental and occasionally funny movie about four female friends. The friends are linked by a pair of magical pants they pass around like a note in the back of the classroom. It only takes a few minutes of seeing the four on screen to know it is the chemistry the talented cast generates that creates the bond that makes the movie work.
Keeping that bond is not easy. Director Sanaa Hamri does a great job despite the fact his players are scattered to the four winds. Tibby (Tamblyn of “Joan of Arcadia”) is a film student at NYU. Bridget (Lively of “Gossip Girl”) is spending the summer on an archeological dig in Turkey. Carmen (Ferrera of “Ugly Betty”) is involved with a theater company in Vermont. And Lena (Bledel of “Gilmore Girls”) looks to get her mind off a lost love with some summer art classes at the Rhode Island School of Design.
Each of the friends provides a thread that weaves through the soft texture of the film. There are moments when the thread is dark. And there are times when it is not. But the threads are never boring because of the skill of this cast.
The movie is at its best when the threads come together. What is nice about Elizabeth Chandler's screenplay is the friends act like friends. They can be supportive. Then they become self-centered and moody. Like friendships in life, these aren't always the picture perfect relationships.
“Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2” is a throwback in terms of the topics each friend faces. Lena's awkwardness around a nude model, Tibby's shutdown over a pregnancy scare and the love triangle Tibby finds herself in seem like plotlines lifted from the 1960 movie “Where the Boys Are.” This light touch is a contrast to the more adult themes of the majority of current films aimed at teens.
The film is best when it plays it safe. The storyline about Bridget's search for the truth about her mother's death seems forced and at times fake. But even that thread can't distract from the overall warmth and simple joy of this movie made better by a cast that is a perfect fit.