Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, The ** 1/2
Directed by Ken Kwapis. Written by Delia Ephron & Elizabeth Chandler, from the novel by Ann Brashares. Photography, John Bailey. Editing Kathryn Himoff. Music, Cliff Eidelman. Production design, Gae Bickley. Produers, Dabra Martin Chase, Denise Di Novi, Andrew A. Kosove, Broderick Johnson. A Warner Bros. Release. 119 minutes. Rated PG. Cast: Amber Tamblyn (Tibby), America Ferrara (Carmen), Blake Lively (Bridget), Alexis Bledel (Lena),Bradley Whitford (Al),Nancy Travis (Lydia), Rachel Ticotin (Carmen's mother), Jenna Boyd (Bailey).
Predictable and picturesque, The Sisterhood deals with four female best friends and inseparable classmates of whom three who will go to different places during the summer vacation and one, Tibby, will stay behind to work in a Wall-Martish megastore -and also make a documentary.
Before the girls separate they go on a thrift-shop expedition where, a pair of bluejeans (the title's pants) most miraculously turns out to fit all of them even though the gals' quartet is of different shapes and sizes. Pure magic. The pals buy it and decide that the pants will have to do the rounds for all four by going to one another via Federal Express.
One of the pals, the half-Puerto Rican Carmen -who lives with her divorced mother-will visit with her dad during the full summer. She gets a mega-shock when she finds out that the father is living with Lydia, a pure Anglo-Saxon lady, a divorcee with two overly-nice kids. A second shock for Carmen comes when she learns that dad is about to marry Lydia.
Bridget, the tallest, athletic and potentially sexiest of the quartet, goes to a soccer camp in Mexico - and sets her libido on the young soccer instructor.
The stay-at-home, camera-totting Tibby makes friends, unexpectedly, with a younger local girl. I will not reveal the turn of that relationship for many reasons.
Then there is very pretty Lena, the most quiet, almost timid member of the quartet. She has Greek grand-parents who live in the volcanic set of southern Greek islands called Santorini where Lena visits them. The movie, by and large, is pedestrian but from the first glance of Santorini the beauty of the place makes the film worth seeing. Santorini, which is thought by many to have been part of the legendary Atlantis is a wonder, from your first look of white, clustered homes and churches to its fascinating marketplaces and its marvelous waters. The island is introduced with the score of "Zorba the Greek," gets a royal photographic treatment… and is irresistibly gorgeous.
There, Lena meets Al (Bradley Whitford), a handsome fisherman, part-time, that is a he is on vacation from his studies at the University of Athens. The twist consists of Lena's grandmother (she speaks English) warning the girl that Lena's family and Al's people are traditional enemies. Not to worry, Lena's presence will terminate the old feud.
With the exception of Santorini, the movie, taken from a best-seller for teen-readers, is overlong and overstretched. Granted that its public is primarily one of youths, for older persons it is a partly sad, partly feel-good, generally unconvincing job. It feels forced, takes patience of a special sort, is too loaded with artificial plots. Even so, for what it is, its cast is good and (yes, I repeat myself) it makes you itch to buy plane tickets for Athens and then take a boat to Santorini.