September 19, 2020 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

At the Movies: Catching Up with the Sisterhood: Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 **1/2

With Blake Lively currently burning up the small screen in Gossip Girl, what better time to revive her breakthrough portrayal of Bee, the vivacious blonde in The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series. Although there is no word whether there will be a third Sisterhood film, 1 and 2 now exist, with a lot of stuff happening between the two films both on screen and off.

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 picks up after the four true blue friends, Tibby (Amber Tamblyn), Lena (Alexis Bledel), Carmen (America Ferrera) and Bridget (Blake Lively) have graduated high school and gone on to college. The girls have all gone on to fabulous universities and begin to navigate the uncertain waters of adulthood, and that means relationships and men.

This isn’t going to be a movie about the careers these women are building for themselves so much as it is about how they find their confidence with the opposite sex: is it true love? How do you trust? What if the cute guy likes you and not your friend? Of the three, Bridget, ironically, is the only one without a love story. Instead she pursues family ties and tracks down the story behind her mother’s suicide. Yes, if you think the sex is too much for your kids to see, try having them wrap their minds around the depression and suicide of a mother.

Sisterhood 2 seems to lack what the first film had in spades: the chemistry between the four girls is sorely lacking. While they were off living out their own private dramas, the film was about their support of each other. That part of it is mostly absent and what you get are four girls who feel sorry for themselves, thus preventing us from feeling sorry for them.

The girls have matured, though, and with that comes things you don’t expect from teenagers. They can’t just melt away inside their own emotions; what they do now requires thought and decision-making. Less pouting and more empowerment would have gone a long way to save Sisterhood 2.

All four girls handle the material and show growth as actresses. While Lively was the clear standout in the first film, there isn’t any one who dominates the sequel, perhaps because director Sanaa Hamri chooses to overlap rather than linger on the individual storylines. This shortchanges the drama a bit, as there is a feeling that it’s all rushing by too quickly. The weakest story of the four is Fererra’s. Somehow she’s gotten herself the lead role in a Shakespeare play. There isn’t a single part of it that’s believable. It isn’t that Ferrera isn’t capable of handling a lead, it’s that it all happens for her too easily and predictably.

Like Gossip Girl, what generally draws the most criticism from Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 is the sex stuff, specifically, a pregnancy scare for Tibby (Amber Tamblyn). Although the conversation revolves around a broken condom, writer Elizabeth Chandler and Hamri tread lighter than you’d expect and certainly lighter than you remember if you think back to your early twenties and what you might have been doing.In the end, Sisterhood 2 isn’t a bad film. You can’t really go wrong with these four actresses, the clothes they wear, and the locales, namely Greece. It isn’t particularly enlightening, but it is a good next step to take for these characters who are on their way to bigger and better things.

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