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The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 (2008)

Warner Home Video
Blu-ray Disc Released: 11/18/2008

All Ratings out of
Video: 1/2
Audio: 1/2

Review by Mike Long, Posted on 11/16/2008

Most likely because many Americans can be lazy and ignorant, many films which are labeled as "Chick Flicks" don't deserve that title. It seems that every romantic comedy which is released is slapped with that label, even if the man character is male. (The reasoning being that "hot" men are cast in the movies to attract more women.) Truth be told, a well-made rom-com should be appealing to both men and women, and I can name many movies from the genre which I've enjoyed for the simple fact that they made me laugh. Yes, "Chick Flick" is thrown around way too much and it should be reserved for movies which truly deserve it, such as The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2, a movie which is aimed squarely at women.

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 is the sequel to the 2005 film which introduced us to a group of friends who discovered that a seemingly magical pair of jeans could fit all of them (despite their varying body shapes) and that wonderful things seemed to happen when they wore the jeans. The second film picks up the following year. Carmen (America Ferrera) is studying at Yale and has become involved as a stage-hand in the theater department. Bridget (Blake Lively) is at Brown, wear she's a soccer star. Tibby (Amber Tamblyn) lives in New York and studies filmmaking at NYU. She also works in a video store. Lena (Alexis Bledel) attends the Rhode Island School of Design where she's working on her painting. Along with their school work, the girls also have relationship issues. Lena learns that Kostas (Michael Rady), whom she met and fell in love with in Greece, is now married. Tibby has been seeing Brian (Leonardo Nam), but she's afraid to open up to him. As the school year comes to a close, Carmen is excited about spending the summer with her friends. Thus, she's disappointed to learn that everyone has plans. Bridget is going to Turkey for an archaeological dig. Tibby plans to stay in New York and work on her script. Likewise, Lena wants to continue her painting. So, Carmen takes a chance and goes to Vermont for a drama camp. Can the traveling pants keep the friends together when they are so far apart?

The first thing that you'll notice about The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 is that it assumes that you've seen the first film, as there's very little re-cap of the events of that movie. It gives a brief introduction of each character and then jumps right into the story. And that's the last time that anything happens quickly in this movie. From that point on, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 feels every bit its 2-hour running time. Director Sanaa Hamri (who, ironically, is known for music videos) doesn't rush anything here and the movie drags at times.

This isn't helped by the episodic nature of the film. The movie bites off more than it can chew by trying to tell four stories at once. The amount of time spent with each character is probably equal by film's end, but, at times, it feels as if the movie is simply jumping around sporadically, attempting to tell every story, but failing to provide us with the attention to detail needed to fully embrace each tale. And, as with any episodic film, each viewer will probably pick a character or storyline about which they care the most, and they may become antsy waiting for the movie to get back around to that part.

Of course, this may also have something to do with the fact that the urgency of the four stories isn't equal. I won't give away too many of the details here, but Tibby and Bridget find themselves dealing with true personal crises during the film and both have emotional breakthroughs. In contrast, Carmen gets tricked into auditioning for a play. If you've seen the film, then you know that the stories don't carry the same emotional weight. And Lena's story...well, it's sort of all over the place. She's trying to get over Kostas, when she meets a new guy whom she likes. We never get any real drama from Lena, as she vacillates between her old love and a new one. (Of course, this may have something to do with the fact that Bledel can't act.) During the course of the film, Carmen is upset that the girls don't stay in touch like they used to. When we see what Tibby and Bridget are experiencing, we understand why they don't have time to talk, and as for Lena...well, her story's not worth hearing anyway.

As noted above, we've lost our way when it comes to identifying "Chick Flicks". Make no mistake about it, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 is most certainly a "Chick Flick". This is the equivalent of watching a reunion of four old friends, and being forced to hear them recount stories which aren't all that interesting. And, in true "Chick Flick" fashion, all of the men are "hot" and people can travel cross-country or around the world at the drop of a hat. (I was so pleased when someone actually stopped to explain how a last-minute trip was paid for in the film's finale.) Fans of the first film should enjoy The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2, as will most older teenagers, but given some of the mature themes here, I would heed the PG-13 rating.

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 gets Bedazzled on Blu-ray Disc courtesy of Warner Home Video. The film has been letterboxed at 1.78:1 (despite the fact that the box lists the aspect ratio at 1.85:1) and the Disc contains a VC-1 1080p HD transfer which runs at an average of 18 Mbps. The image is sharp and clear, showing no grain and no defects from the source material. The colors are very good, most notably bolder colors, such as reds and blues. The picture has a very nice depth and the landscape shots in Greece look fantastic (as if you could step into them). The image shows a nice amount of detail as well, as the picture is never soft. Well-balanced, the image is neither too dark or too bright. The Disc offers a Dolby TrueHD 5.1 audio track which runs at 48 kHz and an average of 1.5 Mbps. This track provides clear dialogue and sound effects. Being a dialogue-driven drama, one shouldn't expect great audio effects here. There are some decent stereo effects throughout the film, and in some scenes, the use of off-screen sounds in the left and right speakers is impressive. However, other than musical cues, truly notable surround and subwoofer effects only manifest in a scene with a thunderstorm.

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 Blu-ray Disc contains only three special features. "Go Jump off a Cliff" (4 minutes) examines the location shooting in Greece and how the actresses prepared for the scene where they jump into the water. (We also learn that the scene wasn't in the original script.) The Disc contains a 4-minute GAG REEL. We get 4 ADDITIONAL SCENES which run about 8 minute are are introduced by Director Sanaa Hamri. With the the intros removed, the scenes are all quite short and only show some small character moments.

Review Copyright 2008 by Mike Long