The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants

Alexis_Bledel_in_The_Sisterhood_of_the_Traveling_Pants_Wallpaper_2_1280

What Is It?

This is a film being advertised as a “must see” for mothers and daughters. It’s the story of 4 friends who have known each other since birth. (There mom’s were in the same aerobic class.) They are all near 16 years old when they have to spend their first summer apart. Before leaving they find an amazing pair of jeans that fits them all perfectly. They come up with rules and decide that the magic pants will be kept with each one for a week, then mailed (unwashed) to the next with a letter about their adventures. After this it becomes 4 separate stories that are shared as they all come home.

How Was It?

First, I am NOT this films target audience.

The girls were likable. The idea of a sisterhood, having friends who will be there no matter what, is very appealing. This may be enough to ride people through the film. One of the down points for me was that the two actresses who I was most excited about seeing (Alexis Bledel of the “Gilmore Girls” and Amber Tamblyn of “Joan of Arcadia”) both turned in excellent performances but had stories that seemed to be throw away plots from their respective TV shows.

Each girls’ story seemed to be an attempt to hit the major concerns of most girls, though the resolutions seemed to be the kind that would have been written by a young teen girl, and totally unsatisfying to anyone looking a little deeper than “awwh, they are all happy now.” I’m not opposed to simple happy endings, but the situations they brought up were so complex, and the solutions were not only too simple, but lacking in depth. (HUGE SPOILER)

Girl

Earth Shattering Problem

Neat Solution

Amber Tamblyn
Tibby

Thinks the little girl she’s with is a pest

finds out she’s dying of leukemia

Alexis Blede
Lena

afraid to love, dresses in baggy clothes

wears clothing that shows her shape, disobeys her grandparents and dates a cute Greek guy.

Blake Lively
Bridget

Wants to deal with her mother’s suicide and dad’s emotional absence by sports and throwing herself at boys

goes to soccer camp, loses her virginity to a college boy

She’s 16!

decides it didn’t help because it was for “the wrong reasons.” (Later agrees to date the boy when she’s 20)

America Ferrera
Carmen

Betrayed by dad who walked out and now just wants her around to have a token spot in the his wedding to his new girlfriend

throws a rock at her dad through a window, yells at him over the phone,

decides it’s all better when she gets a token spot in his wedding.
(Hu?)

Is It Good For Kids?

Though there are many (too many) teenaged girls dealing with all these issues, they are definitely too “adult” for most younger kids.
You can check www.ScreenIt.com for a complete break down of elements shown on the screen.

Is It Good For Teen Boys?

There are far too many attractive girls wearing way to little: trading pants in front of the camera, checking to see that “everyone’s butt looks great in these pants,” soccer camp with girls in sports bras and hot pants jogging, and Lena getting over her baggy clothes thing by stripping to her underwear and swimming off a dock. (She is then joined by the cute Greek guy.)

I spent way to much time having to look at the walls until my wife told me they were clothed again.

Really I don’t think it’s good for teen girls to have this as an example either….

 

How about Spiritual Issues?

There is a lot of talk about faith, but there seems to be no reason for their faith. It is never clear what their faith is in. Then the dad that is living with his girlfriend has become a Christian (praying “in Jesus’ name”) to fit in with the family he now lives with.

I am also just bugged by Bridget’s experience. First there is nothing to deal with the fact that it’s statutory! Second, the Bible says that it will make you one with the other person. Even if it’s used wrong, it still creates an emotional bond, especially in an emotionally needy 16 year old girl her first time… The glib way this is handled robs it of all its power and sends a very wrong message… Its just something you can do, but don’t do it to escape other things.

What Is Your Recommendation?

I would say, if you are going to give some of your summer to the sisterhood, make sure you do go with your daughter, and talk about the huge issues they bring up and the simplistic Brady-esk solutions that answer them.

Though if you would like a fun film for “Girls Night” that deals with social pleasures or teen life, and even sex, but with better answers and a seemingly correct view, check out Jennifer Garner in “13 going on 30” on DVD.

13 Going On 30

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