Film Review: The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2

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Much has transpired in the lives of best friends forever Tibby, Carmen, Bridget and Lena and their shared globe-trotting jeans in the three years since the first "Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants."

But it's nothing compared to castmate America Ferrera's career in the interim, as the Emmy-winning breakout star of ABC's "Ugly Betty."

She remains very much the team player in "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2," a shapely sequel that retains much of the sparkle and warmth that made the original such a pleasant surprise.

With Amber Tamblyn, Alexis Bledel and Blake Lively also back for the ride, as well as several supporting characters, this perfectly satisfying female teen-oriented summer fling should form a modest bond with its demographic -- in the vicinity of the $39 million taken in by the original -- and again wear particularly well on DVD.

Finding its four protagonists somewhat older and wiser (and undoubtedly poorer after several years of FedEx-ing those magic pants back and forth), the sequel takes each character several steps further along the road to adulthood.

It's sort of like "Sex and the City" with curfews.

While Ferrera's Carmen finds herself occupying the spotlight at a theater festival in Vermont, Lena (Bledel) gets over her ill-fated Greek romance by taking a life drawing class at the Rhode Island School of Design, where she ends up having designs on the model.

Bridget (Lively) gains some perspective on her troubled family past by joining an archeological dig in Turkey, while self-styled Tibby (Tamblyn) remains back in New York as her relationship with Brian McBrian (Leonardo Lam) becomes complicated.

Taking over the reins from Ken Kwapis, director Sanaa Hamri employs the same nimble touch and refreshing knack for colorblind casting that made her feature debut, "Something New," so appealing.

Returning screenwriter Elizabeth Chandler, drawing upon several of Ann Brashares' novels, again strikes that easily digestible balance of unforced drama and sly humor, deftly played by its four leads.

Skillfully signing on for the first time are old pros Blythe Danner, Shohreh Aghdashloo and an unbilled Kyle MacLachlan as a highly theatrical director.
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