Four teenage girlfriends are spiritually connected by a pair of magical jeans in coming-of-age story The Sisterhood Of The Traveling Pants. It sounds like a touchy-feely Gap commercial, but this fantastical premise jars with a refreshingly realistic look at girls making the tricky transition to womanhood. America Ferrera (who made a compelling debut in Real Women Have Curves) and newcomer Amber Tamblyn shine brightest in this engaging yarn, although Ken Kwapis' leisurely direction renders it a little baggy in places.
According to Hollywood (and the novel by Ann Brashares), growing up always happens over a single long, hot summer. In this case the girls are separated for the holidays with Lena (Alexis Bledel) finding first love in Greece; Carmen (Ferrera) visiting her dad (Bradley Whitford) and his new family; Bridget (Blake Lively) testing her sexual prowess at soccer camp; and the moody Tibby (Tamblyn) left behind to stack supermarket shelves.
"A COMFY FIT"
The girls play pass-the-parcel with the jeans, which they believe to have mysterious life-changing properties but in truth, provide a facile way of tying separate storylines. Unfortunately a couple of these subplots are left wanting. Lena's holiday romance is an enjoyably adolescent version of Shirley Valentine but it's short on laughs. Meanwhile Lively's femme fatale is intriguing but sadly underdeveloped. Ultimately it's Tibby's friendship with a little girl (Jenna Boyd) that proves most moving while Ferrera is supremely charismatic as the no-nonsense Latina. Towards the end, Kwapis drags out the drama otherwise The Sisterhood Of The Traveling Pants is a comfy fit for the Judy Blume crowd.