Fortunately for this sentimental coming-of-age story based on the young-adult novel by Ann Brashares and directed by Ken Kwapis, its target audience is youthful enough that the cliches may still retain a hint of freshness. Four lifelong best friends who've always supported each other are preparing to spend their first summer apart. Shy, lovely Lena (Alexis Bledel) is heading off to her grandparents' house in Greece. Spirited Carmen (America Ferrera) looks forward to spending time with the father she rarely sees. Athletic Bridget (Blake Lively), still reeling from her mother's recent death, intends to purge her unruly emotions at a Mexican soccer camp. Only rebellious aspiring filmmaker Tibby (Amber Tamblyn) is stuck at home, stocking shelves at a chain store and making what she ruefully dubs a "suckumentary." But before they go their separate ways, they discover a pair of vintage blue jeans that miraculously fits them all perfectly, despite their disparate shapes and sizes. The girls establish some ground rules (no washing, double-cuffing or wearing the jeans with a tucked-in shirt and belt; no saying you look fat or letting a boy take them off) and make a solemn pact: Each will keep the remarkable pants for a week, then mail them to the next girl with a note detailing the most exciting thing that happened while wearing them. It's refreshing to see a mainstream movie that places four young women squarely in the lead roles; the presence of men and boys never takes the focus from the powerful female friendships at the heart of it all. And while many of the film's big emotional moments seem contrived — Bridget fleeing her mom's funeral, Tibby befriending a girl with leukemia — the overall sweetness and typical fairy-tale twist help differentiate it from made-for-TV teen-problem pictures. All four young stars keep their story lines moving briskly, but the segments featuring Ferrera, who made such an impression in REAL WOMEN HAVE CURVES (2002), stand out — her vivid personality cuts right through the fluff. Readers hate to see their favorites messed with by filmmakers, and though devotees will notice changes from Brashares' novel — some slight and some more substantial — the film remains true to the book's spirit, and the deviations shouldn't alienate them. Assuming that they don't, fans of Lena, Bridget, Tibby and Carmen should be able to look forward to their further adventures, which Brashares explored in subsequent books.
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- Released: 2005
- Rating: PG
- Review: Fortunately for this sentimental coming-of-age story based on the young-adult novel by Ann Brashares and directed by Ken Kwapis, its target audience is youthful enough that the cliches may still retain a hint of freshness. Four lifelong best friends who've… (more)