Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants

PantsmovieI didn't exactly have to be dragged kicking & screaming to "the pants movie" but it wasn't first on my list of must-see movies this summer. Lily, the instigator, & I generally go for darker fare, but it's been a tough month or two and hey, I totally dug another weird Lily suggestion, so I figured what the hell? If nothing else, it'd be great snark material for ye olde

Only it wasn't. I was bawling (quietly) before the credits finished rolling and pretty much weeping (as quietly as I could) through the rest of the film, when I wasn't smiling, that is. Lily's experience was much like mine, as was L.A. Jan's. In fact, I suspect this will be the reaction of most of the women who can get over the embarrassing, chick-lit title and get down with the recommendation. Because The Pants Movie is that rarest of rarities these days: a smart, funny, female coming-of-age story that doesn't talk down to its audience, just to them.

The movie weaves together the stories of four fast friends spending their first summer apart. The infamous pants of the famously horrible title are a pair of jeans that magically fit all four, though the girls vary in size as much as they do temperament. And here's the thing: not only does every one of them play her part straight down the middle, without commenting or playing at it, the four are authentically wonderful together. You absolutely buy that they have been together since they were born (their moms met in prenatal yoga) and you absolutely understand why they have stayed, and will stay, once the lessons and separation of summer are over, friends.

I have a few minor quibbles, mainly to do with the writers saddling poor Tibby (Amber Tamblyn) with a baby Yoda (Jenna Boyd) for her slice of the story. But Tamblyn and Boyd are great together (and individually) nonetheless, as is the entire cast, especially the other girls: Alexis Bledel, America Ferrara and Blake Lively.

Throw in some chewy, eye-candy extras (picture-postcard shots of the Greek Islands, reasonably non-gratuitous shots of Michael Rady and Mike Vogel with their shirts off) and you have quite possibly the best summer movie of the summer.

Even if that heinous title makes it the most embarrassing one to recommend.