Based upon the novel by Anne Brashares, "Sisterhood" stars Amber Tamblyn ("Joan of Arcadia"), Alexis Bledel ("Gilmore Girls"), America Ferrara (wonderful in "Real Women Have Curves") and Blake Lively (making her debut) as four friends who find a pair of pants that - magically - seem to fit each one of them. Carmen (Ferrera) finds out that her divorced father is about to marry a new woman, Bridget (Lively) tries to stir up forbidden romance with a somewhat older coach at a soccer camp in Mexico, Tibby (Tamblyn) finds herself stuck in retail hell at Wallmans in order to try and pay for a documentary she's trying to put together and finally, Lena (Alexis Bledel) finds herself faced with forbidden love with man from a rival family.
Each week during the Summer, despite their separation, the girls keep in contact with one another by sending the pants from one girl to the other, along with notes about their Summer. Director Ken Kwapis and crew manage to do a very good job smoothly transitioning from story-to-story-to-story, with each story getting a satisfactory amount of attention and development. We get to know a lot about each of these very different, sympathetic and engaging characters, and it's impressive that one doesn't feel shortchanged in favor of the others. Further credit goes to Kwapis and company for not turning several moments into Big Emotional Moments; although there is certainly some sentimental scenes, the movie keeps from being sappy. The movie unfortunately does tie everything up rather perfectly in the ending, but I didn't feel that things were forced.
All four main actresses do excellent work, although a special mention should go to Jenna Boyd, who is subtle and very effective as a young girl who tags along after Tibby, and eventually reveals to her something tragic. Also good in supporting roles are Bradley Whitford and Nancy Travis. Technical credits are generally fine, with John Bailey's cinematography being the highlight.
Overall, I was surprised by this flick. Despite certainly not being in the target audience, I thought that, while not flawless, this was a mostly moving, well-acted and enjoyable feature.
VIDEO: "Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants" is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen by Warner Brothers. This is a very lovely transfer that appears consistently bright and crisp throughout, with detail that is consistently quite good, with only a touch of softness in a couple of scenes (but that seems intentional.)
The presentation did show a couple of minor traces of edge enhancement, but this was hardly noticable, quite briefly seen and not much of a distraction at all. No other concerns were present. Colors remained rich and vivid, with nice saturation and no smearing.
SOUND: "Sisterhood" is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1. The presentation was understandably rather forward-oriented, as the drama was largely dialogue-heavy, with not much in the way of ambience or sound effects. Although the score does have some pop songs scattered about, I was pleased to see a movie where they were actually a rather good fit instead of seeming like they were there only to sell a soundtrack. Audio quality seemed fine, as dialogue sounded largely clear, as did the music.
EXTRAS: The main extra is a very giggly video commentary by the four stars (with Lively on the phone.) As much as I like these actresses, I don't think I could take a whole two hours of giggling, so despite the fact that they do offer a few interesting tidbits, so I'm glad this was only a commentary for a few scenes (a total of just under 20 minutes.)
"Fun on the Set" is a few minutes of the actresses joking around on the set and talking about how wonderful it was (honestly, most of the interviews are flat-out praise heavy) working with each other. We also get deleted scenes with optional commentary, a conversation with Ann Brashares, the trailer and footage from the in-movie documentary being done by Tamblyn's character.
Final Thoughts: I think nicely done movies with a lot of heart for this audience are pretty rare, so hopefully "Sisterhood" will find a bigger following on DVD. Warner Brothers has provided a fine DVD set, with good audio/video quality and a few minor supplements. Recommended.