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PopEntertainment.com > Reviews > Movie Reviews > She's the Man

MOVIE REVIEWS

SHE'S THE MAN (2006)

Starring Amanda Bynes, Channing Tatum, Laura Ramsey, Jonathan Sadowski, Robert Hoffman, James Snyder, Alex Breckenridge, Amanda Crew, Jessica Lucas, James Kirk, Emily Perkins, Vinnie Jones, Robert Torti, Julie Hagerty and David Cross.

 

Screenplay by Ewan Leslie and Karen McCullah Lutz & Kirsten Smith.

 

Directed by Andy Fickman.

 

Distributed by Dreamworks SKG.  105 minutes.  Rated PG-13.

She's the Man

The opening credits of She's the Man say that the film is based on William Shakespeare's play The Twelfth Night.  This may even be technically true.  Granted, it is a very, very loose translation, but how faithful was O to Othello or 10 Things I Hate About You to The Taming of the Shrew?  Using the skeleton of classical literature to create teen entertainment is nothing new.  West Side Story was doing it almost 50 years ago and Clueless brought the style up to date for a new generation about a decade in the past.

Really, though, there is nothing classical or pretentious about She's the Man, except perhaps for the occasional debutante ball and the odd choice to use classical music during the rare fight scenes which pop up.  Actually, if you get technical, She's the Man is much more akin to Just One of the Guys -- an underrated and rather clever 1980s teen sex comedy -- without the gratuitous nudity so it can attract star Amanda Bynes tween-age base.  (And no, I don't remember whether Just One of the Guys claimed to be based on Shakespeare, but who knows?)  Truthfully, the storyline has been done hundreds of times over the years -- in films as varied as Tootsie and Yentl.

TV star Bynes (currently of What I Like About You, formerly known for All That and The Amanda Show) plays Viola, a female soccer star in a school where the girls' team has been scuttled due to budgetary constraints.  When the boys' team refuses her a tryout, she decides to pretend to be a boy -- more specifically her brother, Sebastian -- to get to play on his school's team.  Luckily for her, Sebastian had been expelled from their school and then decided to run off to London to play with his band for a few weeks rather than go to the new school. 

Since no one has seen Sebastian, Viola is able to blend in as much as possible as a guy -- attracting girls who see her as a sensitive boy and falling for her roommate, who also seems interested in Viola when she is seen as a girl. 

Confusing, huh?  Of course this has all the problems of this style of film.  Viola and Sebastian do look somewhat alike, but not that much that when Sebastian returns everyone would still not notice the difference.  Their divorced parents (Julie Hagerty and John Pyper-Ferguson) are horribly self-absorbed -- so interested in the country club and the debutante ball that they do not notice that BOTH of their children are not where they are supposed to be for two whole weeks.

Yet, I do have to admit it, I really enjoyed She's the Man.  Sure, it's formulaic, but it is fun and the audience it is courting will not know its sources.  Amanda Bynes is adorable and funny in the role.  Everyone ends up happy.  Even the super-nerdy girl finds true love.  What's not to like? 

She's the Man has a pure heart and succeeds on its own level brilliantly.  (3/06)

Jay S. Jacobs

Copyright 2006   PopEntertainment.com.  All rights reserved.  Posted: April 5, 2006.

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Copyright 2006   PopEntertainment.com.  All rights reserved.  Posted: April 5, 2006.

 

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