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Monday, August 11, 2008

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2

I only vaguely remember the original The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, which doesn’t speak volumes about its ability to mesmerize; either that or it reveals a lot about my encroaching dementia. One thing I do remember is that I thought it asked a great deal for us, the audience, to believe for a second that the same pair of jeans would fit wispy Alexis Bledel as they would the ample America Ferrera. It’s not just that. It’s a whole hygiene issue too. I mean, it’s one thing to share your clothes with your sister or a best friend, but I wouldn’t pass my pants around to three other teenage girls no matter how much I liked them. Ewww. Worse yet, to quote the Sisterhood itself: "Rule # 1. You must never wash the Pants." That just plain gross. You never know who might be going commando or who might be getting an unexpected visit from ‘Aunt Flo.’ And then there’s someone like my cousin Tammy. When she was a teenager she was producing more yeast than most commercial bakeries. That’s not something I want in my Calvin Kleins and I doubt Blake Lively would want it either. Uh-uh.

So now it is a couple of years later than the original and the oh-so-cleverly titled
The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 picks up as the four principles of the first film are finishing up their freshman year of college and reuniting for a week in New York before scattering again for individual adventures of their own around the globe. This won’t be just any summer for these young women. As they continue to Fed-Ex the seemingly magical pants back and forth to one another, each will encounter challenges they have never faced before. For Tibby (Amber Tamblyn; Spiral) it means an unexpected crisis in her long-term relationship with boyfriend Brian (Leonardo Nam; Vantage Point). For Lena (Alexis Bledel; tv’s “Gilmore Girls”) it is a lesson in lost love; for Carmen (America Ferrera; tv’s very own “Ugly Betty”) the test is in finding confidence in her own talents, and for Bridget (Blake Lively; tv’s “Gossip Girl”) the summer means learning to forgive and learn to understand a greater truth from a long-ago tragedy.

All of these episodes slide back and forth as fluidly as a single application of MONISTAT® itself with each story overlapping the other in true soap opera tradition, eventually bringing the ladies back together by the end for a shared holiday of sorts in Greece, where all four young women can vogue their way through the cobblestone streets of glorious Mykonos while framed by the blue Aegean sea.

Responsible parents may question at what age they should allow their daughters to see
The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2. I know, the idea of ‘responsible parents’ is as dated as the idea of the horse and buggy, but in the slim chance a few of you still exist, let me just suggest that you may want to consider that the film does deal with some rather adult issues, including ***SPOILER ALERT*** the loss of virginity, an unwanted pregnancy scare, male nude modeling, and the aftermath of a parent’s suicide. I know these are all real world issues, but if your kids are 7 to 10 you might not want to drop them off at the theater and be surprised later with some really outrageous questions.

My friend Marita works at Barnes & Noble and tells me that there are four Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants books. Apparently screenwriter Elizabeth Chandler, who adapted the original for the screen, worked with the books’ author Ann Brashares to merge pieces from the third and fourth books in the series into this screenplay, which explains the “growing pains” the young women experience in this movie. In ‘book years’ much of the more adult action takes place in the last book, meant for older (teenage) readers, when the protagonists would be college seniors. Unfortunately, the movie does not make this distinction, so it looks like the Sisterhood is having one hormonal summer vacation in their Freshman year. You can count me in!

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