Welcome to the JOE-DOWN, a back-and-forth movie review blog by two snarky newspapermen named Joe from Minnesota, Joe Froemming and Joe Brown. We will take turns selecting a movie — any movie we want — and review it here. For this installment, Brown picked “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2.”
The Movie: “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2”
Starring: America Ferrera, Alexis Bledel, Amber Tamblyn
Director: Sanaa Hamri
Plot Summary: (From IMDB) Four college freshmen and best friends find that it may take more than a shared pair of jeans to help them stay in touch as their lives go in different directions.
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 65 percent
Brown: I think it’s time to trade the pair of spandex we had to wear for all that dancing in “Staying Alive” for a pair of of pants.
Overly bedazzled pants that don’t get washed among four people and still defy logic by fitting four people with distinct body types.
Froemming, it’s time to revisit the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.
Nearly three years ago, we met the sisterhood for the first time. We lamented. We raged. Hell, I even made up a scenario where one of the characters was so lonely she invented her own leukemia-stricken Tyler Durden.
The original nearly broke up. Nearly ended the friendship between Froemming and I.
So this time around, I wanted the sequel to finish the job because I want to watch the world burn. I feel that way mostly because I’m still irritated by the fact that these four girls found jeans that fit so well while I’m visibly flustered any time I go clothes shopping, even on Amazon.
So Froemming, while I pester my dad to use his frequent flyer miles, give us your initial thoughts.
There is one positive thing I can say about this sequel that nobody asked for: It is not as grating as the first one. But, I need to make this point, I still envy Bridget’s mom in this for taking herself out before having to witness any of this.
Brown: Jesus Christ, dude…
Froemming: You wanted angry Froemming? YOU GOT ANGRY FROEMMING!
Also, they have not washed these pants in what? Five years now. Four? Ass swamp would cause these four friends to be shunned by society for smelling like a bunch of soiled diapers set ablaze.
Why don’t you kick this off, Brown, while I weep silently at my desk.
Brown: We get a brief look back at the previous movie narrated by Carmen, and she literally uses the line “As far back as I can remember…” like she was (REDACTED) Henry Hill in “Goodfellas.” And immediately, I wished we were watching THAT movie. Because it’s the best.
Froemming: Not as good as “Pallies.”
We find out what our foursome is up to now.
Bridget: She’s playing soccer at Brown. Somehow I bet she got into that Ivy League school thanks to her Aunt Becky paying someone to affect her SAT scores.
Tibby: She’s pursuing her moving-making dream at NYU.
Lena: She’s still going to Greece a lot… I dunno. At least I remembered her name in this movie, so slight edge to the sequel?
Carmen: Well, she’s at Yale and she’s all mopey. I feel no sympathy for her because she’s just another one in this bunch at a prestigious school. She’s mopey about being in the Ivy League, making this movie “First World Problems 2: Electric Boogaloo.”
Froemming: I was wondering how such prestigious schools would let in four people who believe in magic pants. Then I remembered Mitt Romney, who believes in magic underwear, and this guy got into Harvard.
Brown: We hit our first stag with Lena, who breaks up with her Greek bae from the first movie, Kostas. I mean, it makes sense. It was a summer fling and you live across an ocean.
And then Lena acts all indignant when when Kostas moves on and gets a girl knocked up.
Look, I’d be weirded out seeing an ex with someone who’s preggers. But you don’t get to be all irritated like you’ve been done wrong. You wish them well, you give an awkward hug, you get blind, stinking drunk lamenting over it and then YOU MOVE ON, LENA.
Froemming: The subtitle of this movie should be “Four friends who would like to speak to your manager.” Because that is how entitled these little snots are.
Also, this movie has characters flying to Greece and back to the U.S. like it is a half hour trek. One, it isn’t, so this movie can go ahead and suck it. And two, that is not cheap airfare. Nothing about these girls’ homes or homelife tells me their parents are a Hilton or a Trump, so how the (REDACTED) are they jet setting across the world?
You know what? I am not getting snagged in the weeds of this stupid movie. Like Bridget’s mom, I want to end this quickly.
So we get one last day in wherever the hell they live, we see Tibby (the edgy one, because she works in a video store. I am glad streaming killed her career) has moved on in life after her Tyler Durden, Baily, has been shot out of her brain. She is dating Brian, who I think is really good at the arcade classic “Dragon’s Lair 3D,” which Brown and I loved to play in arcades! Right Brown! RIGHT? “Dragon’s Lair 3D” was such an arcade classic! I think we also played a lot of it on our GameBoy DS!
Brown: They play ports of arcade games. Inferior ports.
And sure, let’s go through each girl’s journey like we did in the first movie.
With that, let’s go to edge lord Tibby.
Tibby is working in a video store, which is a concept that is somehow more outdated than newspapers. Shoutout to the lone Blockbuster in Bend, Oregon. Of course hipsters were the ones that kept a video store alive.
Anyhow, Brian is really into her and they celebrate their anniversary through the romantic act of bangin’.
But we have a problem: the condom broke. Apparently Brian used an old condom his uncle gave him at his high school graduation. Surely, that condom left an indent in his wallet because it had been in there THAT long. Why would I know something like that? No comment…
Brown: Dude, Brian, you’re on the NYU campus. There HAS to be a campus clinic that has fresh condoms just sitting in a fish bowl.
How does Tibby respond to a potential pregnancy scare? By sheltering herself into her apartment surrounded by pizza boxes. So great, I live the same way depressed Tibby does.
Next we have Bridget, who is going off to Turkey to join a terrorist organization that radicalized her via the Internet.
Brown: Oh my god, yes! It’s made out to be an archeological dig but they open her visit into Turkey with every propaganda shot an American has seen in an “ISIS recruitment video.”
Froemming: We also have her still suffering the PTSD of her mom’s suicide, and her anger at her father.
Brown, was it me, or was the acting between father and daughter here incredibly bad? Like, worse than a Lifetime movie bad?
Brown: It wasn’t great. It’s even more jarring to know that these movies are not the worst acting we’ve seen from Blake Lively on the JOE-DOWN. That would go to “Green Lantern” without reservation.
Froemming: While packing her her journey to denounce the U.S. and marry in a radicalized terrorist cell, Bridget finds letters from her grandmother, which her father hid in a box in clear sight. Either she is really stupid or he is bad at hiding things. Or, I assume, it can be two things.
So she yells at her traumatized father and heads off to declare jihad on the West.
Next we have Lena. Nobody cares about this, it is just as pointless as the first movie, so I am skipping it.
Finally we have Carmen, who heads to Vermont with her actress friend to work on a community theatre play that takes itself way too seriously and is directed by Special Agent Dale Cooper from “Twin Peaks.”
I felt bad for Kyle MacLachlan here. One day you are in critically acclaimed David Lynch movies and “Showgirls,” the next you are in a movie about magic pants.
Brown: As a “Twin Peaks” and “Blue Velvet” superfan, what was your reaction to seeing MacLachlan on screen, Froemming? Also, how surprised were you to find out this was an uncredited role?
Froemming: I was flabbergasted. But, he did have a revival as both the Mayor on “Portlandia” and on the “Twin Peaks” revival, so he came out OK.
I am guessing the uncredited part was a request from him, and I don’t blame him. I kinda want my name stricken from this review because I am also embarrassed this is now connected to my life.
Brown: The internet is forever, Froemming. You don’t get off that easily.
So yeah, Carmen’s story. She goes to Vermont to an acting camp because she’s the Tibby of this movie and is all bummed her friends are doing, you know, cool stuff for the summer. Working as a stagehand at NYU, she will be doing the same in Vermont thanks to her friend Julia, who while not the same actress, looked suspiciously like Karen Page from “Daredevil”/”The Punisher.”
At this camp, they are performing Shakespeare’s “A Winter’s Tale.” Why they’re doing this in the summer, I haven’t a clue. After accidently dropping a curtain on one of the leads, Ian, she gets talked into auditioning for Perdita and knocks it out of the park?
I thought it was a ho-hum audition, but what do I know. Plus, Ian helped because he’s got a little Harvey Weinstein in him.
Naturally, Carmen develops feelings for Ian, who is trying and failing so hard at being Heath Ledger.
Froemming: And like Heath Ledger, I bet Ian was looking to check out in 2008 after this movie came out.
Froemming: Hey man, we could have avoided all of this. But no, you wanted an angry Froemming. This is on you, buddy.
Back to Tibby, because she is traumatized by the condom-breaking fiasco she is ghosting Brian. The movie has us believe that she is pregnant this whole time. So we sympathize with her rudeness to customers (thank you Netflix for ending the madness of the smug video store person) and being angry at Brian for his idiotic mistake. I would be super angry as well.
She drives up to Vermont to talk with Carmen, who is busy studying her lines. So, we sympathize because even her friends are not listening.
She then calls Lena, whose story I am not even repeating here because of how pointless she is, to ask her to bring a pregnancy test.
She hasn’t even tested to see if she is pregnant. Look, I get being scared after a condom breaks, that is normal. Everyone would be. I’ve been there myself. It is terrifying.
But to act like she is knocked up and using that to treat everyone like garbage? (REDACTED) you, Tibby. That is what crazy people do.
Brown: Hopefully Tibby reimbursed Lena for the test because she didn’t even need to use it.
What I hated the most about this whole pregnancy storyline is how much this movie vilified the idea of having a child. Yes, having a child is terrifying but this movie legit treats it like you’re sprouting the chestburster from “Alien.” This movie makes childbearing as bad as “Bohemian Rhapsody” made homosexuality out to be for Freddie Mercury. It’s really kind of (REDACTED) up.
Tibby was the one I had the most sympathy for in the original. Honestly, I don’t know if I had sympathy for anyone in this movie. Hell, even Lena’s sister is an unlikable ass in this for being the irritating younger sibling.
Froemming: Well, like Lena, her sister’s face is too small for her head, so at least that made sense with genetics and all.
So Tibby isn’t pregnant. She wants to make amends with Brian, but he is dating Lena’s little sister, which feels like it should be illegal, like Bridget’s romp in Mexico with the soccer coach in the first movie.
Speaking of Bridget, so she heads to Turkey, finds some skulls, befriends an older woman who tells her the importance of family or whatever, and she starts reading her grandma’s cards to her, which also contain money.
Don’t cash all those checks at once, Bridget, she may have had money at the time, but you could bankrupt her now.
So she flies to Alabama, because these girls have gold plated credit cards to do all this traveling…
Wait, have we mentioned the magic pants yet? No? Well, that’s because this movie seemed to also forget about them and shoehorned them toward the middle-end of the film. Hell, we didn’t even see them until a half-hour in.
It is as if this movie is not very good.
Brown: Well, before they all head off for the summer, they do take part in their pants tradition of breaking into a yoga studio, eating junk food and listening to 80s music while discussing the pants.
That is a dumb, dumb, dumb tradition. Bedazzled pants are not an excuse to commit breaking and entering.
Because you refuse to touch on it, I’ll explain Lena’s story quick.
Brown: So she’s at an art school for the summer and a recurring part of this is nude model drawing with this strapping lad named Leo who keeps making creepy eye contact with Lena while she’s shading his penis or something. Well, no, she’s too modest to ever draw that part of his body. Somehow, they hit it off but Lena hits a speed bump when Kostas flies to America to explain his situation: Yes, he knocked up that Greek broad but he doesn’t love her. He was finally able to break it off and he still has feelings for Lena.
Hey Lord Humongous, what should these two idiotic love birds do with this relationship?
Eventually, they end up together.
For your sanity’s sake, Froemming, should we sum up this quartet’s individual stories before getting to the ending in Greece?
- Carmen and Julia have a falling out. Julia is jealous of Carmen and goes on a date with Ian. This causes Carmen to suck at acting. Everything works out, Carmen’s mom has a baby and Ian carves his face up and moves to Gotham City to kill the Batman.
- Bridget meets her grandma and finds out that her mom was bipolar, and that lead to the problems with her father and her grandmother. She make sup with her father in another terrible acting scene.
- Tibby isn’t pregnant. But she still sucks as a person and I wish only the worst for her.
- Lena’s sister steals their magic pants and loses them in Greece. This causes them to all join a cult and eat cyanide because a meteor will destroy the Earth, per what their cult leader Lyle Lanley says. Wait, that was just what I was hoping for in my imagination.
Brown: OK, I’m starting to get worried about you, Froemming.
Froemming: So Lena, who has money lying around, just ups and FLIES TO GREECE TO FIND A PAIR OF PANTS.
Brown: Through this movie, we’ve seen Bridget fly to the Middle East and Alabama before returning home to Maryland (I think?), Lena fly to and from Greece two times and the rest of them ALSO head to Greece on a whim.
This makes me extremely salty as someone who has to budget for a long time before even contemplating a flight. And they go to foreign countries for a (REDACTED) pair or ratty pants that all four of them are not into doing anymore.
While I’m at it… OK, let’s say I buy into the mularkey that the pants fit all four girls in the first movie. That’s not happening in the second movie. The Freshman 15 is a real thing for everyone. I’m not buying for a second that all four of these ladies can still fit into pants they wore in high school. It’d be more believable if this were the Sisterhood of the Traveling Oversized Hoodie.
Froemming: Unlike Brown, I won’t resort to fat-shaming.
Brown: *Sigh* I hate you.
Froemming: So they all fly to Greece on Carmen’s dad or step-dad’s frequent flyer miles…
WHO HAS THAT MANY MILES TO FLY THREE PEOPLE ROUND-TRIP TO EUROPE?
And they get there, and they want to hook Lena up with her ex who has a child with another woman. What happened to Leo? I dunno, the movie just ignores that I think. Seemed like a nice guy, clean apartment and looked like an excellent cook. He’s not missing out on this toxic codependent friendship Lena is trapped in with three other sociopaths. Run, Leo, run like Forrest Gump escaping bullies and find yourself a better life.
Brown: I kept expecting that Kostas had the pants because he hooked up with Lena’s little sister. I mean, he knocked up one girl already and left her high and dry.
Apparently these pants — which at one point in the summer they all just pushed aside — are SO important they make flyers for them and search for, what, a week? What a hellish life you live when you can spend a week in Greece searching for (REDACTED) jeans you could reenact with a visit to Forever 21 and a glue gun.
Froemming: These college students are in Greece for at least five days. Again, where is this money coming from?
Brown: It comes from inheritance from Bridget’s dead mother, I assume?
Quick aside, I just found this out on IMDB: the person who plays Bridget’s dad… Blake Lively’s dad… is Erin Lively, Blake’s actual father.
How the (REDACTED) do those two have such little chemistry between one another when they’re actually flesh-and-blood related?!
Froemming: Maybe the old man just hates his daughter in real life? I dunno. Or he is not a trained actor, which would probably be more likely.
Brown: He’s a (REDACTED) acting coach!
Froemming: You know too much about the Lively family and I am now worried about Blake.
Anyway, Lena hooks up with her old flame and the pants are gone forever, meaning we don’t have another one of these garbage movies to sit through. Why don’t we hop on a plane a fly over to recommendations?
WOULD YOU RECOMMEND?
Brown: Naw. I’m good without revisiting this series. Also, Froemming post-“Traveling Pants” kind of scares me.