RUNNING TIME: 119 Minutes
• Additional scenes with commentary by Ken Kwapis
• Fun on the set: behind-the-scenes gags and laughs
• Suckumentary: rough cut of Tibby and Bailey’s documentary
• Sisters, Secrets, and the Traveling Pants: see and hear the
gal pals as they watch selected scenes and talk about them
• A conversation with author Ann Brashares
• Theatrical trailer
No cute anecdotal opening this time. If you’re of the male human species and you watch this movie, your testicles will shrink to the size of raisins. I myself have an appointment for an experimental nut transplant next week. You’ve been warned…
"Looking good plenty time. Tell me is there any more room for me
In those jeans.
Pretty thick like I like it, tell me is there any more room for me
In those jeans
Looking tasty really scrumptious
Tell me is there any more room for me
In those jeans…"
Lord, I’ve covered some sloppy, schmaltzy, chick-tastic movies in my time here. Movies that I had to go and wash the estrogen off my hands as soon as I’d unwrapped them. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants is Steel Magnolias or Beaches for a new generation. I half expected either Debra Winger, Julia Roberts or Barbara Hershey to come in for a cameo and just die to give this thing even more XX-chromosome street cred. Pants is dripping with feeling, female angst and bonding, and pretty much the entire experience of being a young woman and coming into your own in this big bad world. It covers first times, first loves, father issues, mother issues, sibling issues, friendship issues, work issues, weight issues and generally anything you’d see on any given episode of Oprah.
Piss off the pants and you take your life in your hands.
The basic premise centers on four friends: Tibby (Joan of Arcadia’s Amber Tamblyn), an aspiring filmmaker with about as much sun to her disposition as a cave; Lena (Sin City’s Alexis Bledel), a shy little thing who dabbles in art; Carmen (Real Women Have Curves’ America Ferrera), a feisty and plump Latina whose father left her and her mother when she was 10; and Bridget (newcomer Blake Lively), a smokin’ young soccer wiz who goes after what she wants but is really hiding the pain over her mother’s recent death. Homegirls since birth, the four have done and shared everything together and are faced with their first true experience apart when they go their separate ways for the summer. Tibby is stuck home working at Wallman’s, a not so slick jab at Walmart; Lena is going to Greece to spend the summer with her grandparents; Bridget is off to a Mexican soccer camp; and Carmen is going to South Carolina to spend quality time with her father (Bradley Whitford) for the first time since they left.
I like big butts and I can not lie
You other brothers can’t deny
That when a girl walks in with an itty bitty waist
And a round thing in your face
You get sprung, wanna pull out your tongue
‘Cause you notice that butt was stuffed
Deep in the jeans she’s wearing
I’m hooked and I can’t stop staring…
- Sir Mix-A-Lot
Right before they part ways, the four friends, all of different body types, find a pair of old jeans in a second hand store that magically seems to fit them all perfectly, even Carmen, who is the largest of the bunch. If you can suspend as much disbelief as it took to accept that Rocky left a preschooler at home to go to Russia and came back to Sage Stallone, you’ll be just fine with this. Anyway, they resolve to keep in touch by Fed Ex-ing each other the pants and using them to document their separated experiences, yet remain united by way of the denim.
While in Greece, Lena is the first to don the pants and meets a handsome native, Kostos, when she falls into the ocean, gets the pants caught and almost drowns. At first shy, she gradually opens up to Kostos, but is then dismayed to learn that he’s from a family with which her family has a long-standing feud. Pulling a Romeo and Juliet however, it’s not long before Lena falls in love and begins sneaking around with him, which eventually comes to bite her in the ass when her grandparents find out.
One of the more seedier journeys of the pants? Kiddie porn…
Meanwhile, Tibby is suffering through domestic bliss while also trying to complete a documentary (suckumentary in her own lingo) on the lameness of human existence. A chance encounter at work with a precocious 12-year-old girl named Bailey (the third Olsen Twin, Jenna Boyd) finds Tibby with a new tagalong who is interested in helping her with the film. Bailey turns out to be a natural with getting people to talk, often initiating conversation on her own and surprising Tibby and the subject with obscure facts that she’s read in magazines. Although Bailey drives her crazy, Tibby comes to depend on her presence just to get through her own bad experiences with work and family. Tibby lets Bailey in on the story of the pants, and even lets her try them on. But Bailey has a secret that threatens to put an end to their emerging friendship. MINI SPOILER – INVISOTEXT ON: Bailey’s dying from leukemia. END SPOILER.
"Does God like it when you talk to him in the pants?"
While in Mexico, Bridget, who is the de facto leader of the bunch due to her single-minded determination to have her way, sets her sights on landing a handsome young coach, which is strictly forbidden. She flirts shamelessly with him, follows him to a local bar, and spends time alone with him, even though he’s resistant to her advances. When Bridget gets the pants, she tarts herself up and heads down to the beach at night, making sure that he sees her go. Considering that she’s the hottest thing this side of Jessica Alba, he of course follows her and uglies are thereupon bumped.
Finally, when Carmen gets to her father’s house, she’s horrified to discover that he has a new pre-fab family in the Stepford form of Lydia (Nancy Travis) and her two WASP teenage children. What’s more, Carmen is also shocked to learn that her father and Lydia are going to be married and that she’s going to be a bridesmaid. From there, Carmen struggles to fit in with the whole Brady Bunch scenario and is especially humiliated when she absolutely doesn’t fit into the bridesmaid gown. Ultimately, Carmen blows up at her father’s new family situation and returns home. Once there, she has to work through her issues with her father as Tibby has to work through her issue with Bailey. Bridget soon returns, feeling empty from her whole experience because she couldn’t share it with her maggot-riddled mother. And Lena finally rejoins the group after working out her relationship with Kostos with her family. They then all have to help Carmen resolve her issue with her father and road trip to his wedding. And this is already probably five paragraphs more than this story deserves, so I’ll stop there.
Scariest journey of the pants? Appearing in The New Partridge Family telemovie.
Is this film unabashedly a chick flick? You bet your last tampon it is. Is it a bad movie? No, not really. In fact it’s pretty watchable, minus the whole nut shrinking effect of course. Veteran TV director Ken Kwapis has experience in this type of film via his work on Beautician and the Beast and he even has Chewer cred as a director on Amazing Stories, The Larry Sanders Show and Freaks and Geeks. He does pretty solid, if unspectacular work here and keeps the four stories moving along at a decent pace. The film was written by romantic comedy veteran Elizabeth Chandler (Someone Like You, What a Girl Wants) and girl power scribe Delia Ephron (Bewitched) from the Ann Brashares novel. They manage to keep the four stories separate and singular enough while also keeping them linked. The story has few surprises and everything pretty much ends as you think it will.
I’m betting that most guys are only going to see this if they get sucked into the estrogen vortex by their female other. See it on a Friday night, sleep it off and mainline college football on Saturday and NFL on Sunday and you’ll be fine.
6.0 out of 10
WTF?! Where’s her pants??!!
Like the story, the look is fine, if not spectacular. Although there is some location shooting in Greece that offers some nice Greek countryside vistas (I think I’m actually lactating at this point). It’s shot in 1.85 to 1 also. Of course, Blake Lively in a sports bra don’t suck.
7.2 out of 10
The soundtrack and score are about what you’d expect, with songs by Natasha Bedingfield, Alana Grace and Brandi Carlile and a score by Cliff Eidelman (The Lizzie McGuire Movie) in Dolby 5.1 Surround. Take a buble bath and just sit back and enjoy.
6.8 out of 10
Additional scenes with commentary by Ken Kwapis – Seven minutes that didn’t quite make it. The movie ran at nearly two hours. I’m surprised there weren’t more scenes that didn’t quite make it…
Caption A: My choice for the sequel? Sisterhood of the Traveling Sports Bra
Caption B: "Mmmm, now suck the other big toe, Mr. Davis"
Fun on the set: behind-the-scenes gags and laughs – Five minutes of guffaws and tomfoolery.
Suckumentary: rough cut of Tibby and Bailey’s documentary – Another five minute quickie, this time a rundown of the characters in the film narrated by Tibby and showing some of the sucku-footage shot during the movie.
Sisters, Secrets, and the Traveling Pants: See and hear the gal pals as they watch selected scenes and talk about them – A video commentary where Tamblyn, Bledel and Ferrera sit around in Sisterhood style and give their takes on certain scenes for almost 20 minutes. Unfortunately, Lively phoned hers in…literally.
A conversation with author Ann Brashares – A nine-minute piece where Brashares comments on her origins as a writer and the origins of the story, mixed with comments from the actresses.
There’s really nothing groundbreaking in the special features here, but there’s enough to keep fans of the film happy – for about 47 minutes anyway.
5.3 out of 10
5.5 out of 10