First Takes: New movies opening locally this week |

First Takes: New movies opening locally this week

Yes, the pants still exist, but now they’re covered in patches and jewels and etched with the memories and dreams of the four young women who’ve been wearing them.

And they still travel ” to New York and Vermont, Turkey and Greece, and points in between. But the magic in those jeans, and in the bond that linked the friends who’ve shared them over the years, seems to have faded.

The sequel to 2005’s surprisingly tolerable “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants” finds our eclectic group of heroines a little bit older and wiser and a lot less connected to each other. Makes sense that they’d go off to college and begin forming separate lives, but the film from director Sanaa Hamri (“Something New”), taking over for Ken Kwapis, feels disjointed, too.

It bounces from one girl’s story line to another’s without much tonal cohesion, and it doesn’t help that the situations the characters find themselves in are often soapy and contrived. (The script from Elizabeth Chandler is based on the second, third and fourth books of Ann Brashares’ series of novels.)

One consistency remains, though: America Ferrera pretty much steals the whole movie out from under her co-stars as the quick-witted Carmen, who’s now studying drama at Yale. Tragic Tibby (Amber Tamblyn) is at NYU film school and, somewhere along the way, transformed herself into a Goth version of Liza Minnelli. Gorgeous tomboy Bridget (Blake Lively) is playing soccer at Brown and struggling to heal from her mother’s suicide. And quiet Lena (Alexis Bledel) is an art student at the Rhode Island School of Design. Stuff happens, then they giggle about it all afterward.

PG-13 for mature material and sensuality. 111 min. Two stars out of four.