There are loads of reasons why I shouldn’t like this franchise:
1. Four girls, who’ve been friends from babyhood, are about to face a summer apart. But, they find a magic pair of jeans that miraculously manages fit all their different shapes and sizes, so they decide to keep in touch by taking it in turns to wear and send the denim trousers to each other. And a few years later they do the same again. It sounds like silly teenettes bonding over fashion and is surely ridiculous and shallow…
2. These films both have the word pants in the title. Not cool.
3. In addition to the word ‘pants’, I’m not liking the American spelling of ‘travelling’.
4. If not being used negatively, the word pants for me conjures up images of Renee Zellweger‘s big knickers in Bridget Jones’s Diary, when she’s rolling around on the floor with Hugh Grant. Also not cool.
5. For some inexplicable reason, the girls decide not to wash the shapeshifting jeans. By the second movie those smelly pants must really stink. In addition to their numerous wears, those trousers have had a dip in a harbour and a roll in the sand.
6. Both movies are peppered with predictable boy meets girl storylines. Yawn.
7. The girls’ four different plotlines flit back and forth rather too much, especially in the second movie.
8. The Lena (Alexis Bledel) character also flits around too much – most of the time in floaty white dresses. It’s such a welcome relief when she gets that pants parcel in the mail. She is the weakest character in the first film. By the second, it actually looks like the filmmakers couldn’t think what to do with her, so just found a good looking male to strut his stuff and fill up her screen time.
9. I hate football, and there are far too many scenes featuring long-legged Bridget (Blake Lively) kicking a ball around. Double yawn.
10. Moody Tibby (Amber Tamblyn) has a fantastic storyline in the first film – a budding documentary film maker who’s befriended by an unusual kid (Jenna Boyd). In the second movie, her filming passion is completlely overshadowed by an ‘oops, I might now be pregnant’ storyline. Why doesn’t she take the morning after pill. Well, there wouldn’t be a story then, I guess.
11. America Ferrara‘s character Carmen struggles with her cowardly father’s remarriage in the first film. It’s a well-observed and moving storyline, but oddly her relationship with her father isn’t even touched upon in the second movie.
12. How much money do these girls have? Lena seems to be always popping over to Greece to see her Gran, like she’s just down the road or something.
Despite all of the above negativity, it may surprise you to learn that I actually enjoyed both these movies, and here’s why:
1. The jeans plot hook sounds sounds daft and should be annoying, but both of these movies charm and entertain (well, most of the time) as the four coming-of-age storylines unfold.
2. The magic jeans don’t have an overbearing role. They simply act as a symbol of the girls’ friendship and solidarity.
3. While formulaic young ‘love blossoms’ plotlines do take up a lot of the screen time, there’s enough genuine coming-of-age drama material to draw you into the worlds of these kids. From family dramas to unrequited love, grief and loss, we’ve all been there at some time or another.
4. It’s probably no surprise, but America ‘Ugly Betty‘ Ferrara, who also narrates, is great in both movies.
5. Willowy Bridget’s shallow presence in Pants 1 is eclipsed by her story in the second film where she is perhaps the most fleshed out character of all.
6. I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed these two movies, and would even go so far as to say that they’re teen movies that adults (albeit, mainly female adults) can enjoy.
Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 is showing on Sky Movies Premiere today, tomorrow and Thursday at 4.05pm, on Wednesday at 6pm, and Friday at 1.45pm
Click here to check out all the movies showing on UK TV today.