Too, too long, these traveling pants. They're dragging on the ground, wearing out and wearing out their welcome.
But that's the only big hole in The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2, a sequel that actually improves, slightly, on the boy-crazy original.
It's about four disparate friends who stay connected through that one magical pair of blue jeans that fits the tall, the small, the slim and the zaftig among them. They share the pants by Fed Ex during their long summers and write letters detailing the adventures they have in those special jeans.
The four girls — America Ferrera is drama student Carmen; Amber Tamblyn is Boho film student Tibby; Alexis Bledel is Lena, the painter with a thing for Greek boys; and Blake Lively is soccer-playing archaeologist Bridget — are young women in college now. Carmen made it to the Yale School of Drama, where she's a little too eager to work backstage, avoiding the limelight.
That'll be tested when she goes to work for the very theatrical director played by Kyle MacLachlan in summer stock.
Bridget is off to Turkey to dig up some ancient Greek ruins, with the help of a kindly professor played by the great Shohreh Aghdashloo (The House of Sand and Fog).
Lena gets over the lost Greek boyfriend from the first film with an even prettier painter-artist-model (Jesse Williams) in her art class.
And Tibby, the funny one, goes through all sorts of melodrama with her film school beau, Brian (Leonardo Nam).
This was always pure fantasy, pretty girls ”struggling“ with lives of effortless privilege and achievement while dating gorgeous boys who spend every waking moment in the gym, apparently. But the players are older and better, now. The supporting cast (Blythe Danner turns up, too) is more distinct, with more to work with.
Director Sanaa Hamri (Something New) lets the laughs land, gives her wonderful supporting players nice moments and beefs up the weakest character and weakest performer (the leggy blond Lively) with the most support. Still, despite the far too generous running time, she wasn't able to tidy up some pretty serious loose ends in the who-is-dating-whom department.
But the Sisterhood has Greece and New York, Vermont and New Haven and four of the best young actresses of their generation going through college. If you're going to get stuck for two hours in what should have been a 90-minute formula ”chick picture,“ they at least make it endurable.