I was pleasantly surprised by this one – in part because I had low, low, low expectations. From what I remembered of the previews, it was a sort of “Babysitters Club Goes Traveling” – like those special edition books where the sitters go on vacation, or the one where Dawn and Claudia get trapped on a desert island – or a Now and Then re-make without the cool soundtrack and the young Devon Sawa. I expected it to be aimed squarely at the 8-12 set, the Lizzie McGuire demographic.
But it was a little more grown-up than I’d anticipated, still without trying too hard to be anything more than a sweet movie with a nice moral about friendship – and the real key was the cast, which was fantastic. Four reasonably big names from TV – Alexis Bledel from Gilmore Girls, America Ferrera from Ugly Betty, Amber Tamblyn from Joan of Arcadia, and Blake Lively from Gossip Girl, all teamed up to create a realistic circle of loving friends. They were actually friends, they were actually young, and it came through really well. The script didn’t have any real groaners or gaping plot holes, and the four characters take on some pretty heavy stuff with a reasonable level of realism, most of the time.
There are plenty of angles I could take to criticize this movie, if I were dead set on doing so – but for tonight, I’d rather just sit back and enjoy a feel-good flick about female friendship. I’ll look forward to the sequel, due out this year.
P.S.: I’ll add this to my list of chick flicks that depict genuine emotional bonds between women. Take that, Leah McLaren.