Oct 2, 2009

[Movies] She's The Man (2006)

She's The ManIt was only after watching Sydney White that I started to see the potential pattern in many Amanda Bynes films. Sure, we already know she's always going to be typecast as the next evolutionary step of the hip tom boy / girl who is one of the boys as compared to the extremely frigid female intellectual of the 90's movies (think Julia Stiles).

It seems that she's certainly developed a knack for appearing in modernized versions of classic stories. In Sydney White it was the fairy tale Snow White. In this movie, she's taken the Shakespearean path that other teen movies have taken such as 10 Things I Hate About You addressing The Taming of the Shrew. This time around it's the play Twelfth Night, which made for a very interesting choice of film indeed.

She's The Man is yet another movie about high school and the need for girls to prove they're just as (or even better) than boys. Viola (Amanda Bynes) is the star player on the women's soccer team - that is until the team gets cut from the school roster. After a failed attempt to join the boy's soccer team, she then tries to figure out a way to prove to her the coach and to some extent her ex-boyfriend Justin (Robert Hoffman) that she's worthy of playing amongst the boys.

OliviaImage via Wikipedia

Opportunity lands in her lap when her twin brother Sebastian (James Kirk) has snuck off to London to compete in a contest with his rock band and leaves her behind to cover for him. Given their physical resemblance, she decides to impersonate her brother for the first few weeks of school, get into the boy's soccer team at her brother's school and compete against her home school and defeat the team that denied her. There she ends up rooming with Duke Orsino (Channing Tatum) who is also on the soccer team and is smitten by Olivia (Laura Ramsey). Viola eventually begins to fall for Duke while Duke remains in love with Olivia and Olivia seems to be falling in love with Viola in her disguise as her brother as Sebastian.

Yes, this was really based on a play by William Shakespeare. Now are you impressed?

To get it out of the way, yes, Channing Tatum remains to be a good mindless reason to watch this movie. He walks around shirtless a LOT and he's playing the classic I'm-really-a-sensitive-guy role that women seem to love. Plus there are all the classic moments of Channing starting to get attracted to Amanda disguised as a boy then freaking out at the potentially homosexual feelings afoot.

Beyond that bit of eye candy discussion, the movie was a pretty decent translation of the original play and would still carry its own weight without the knowledge that there was a classic play behind this whole thing. The elements included were done in a manner that made sense in modern terms but also created references to the classic comedic tale.

Plus the folks behind it managed to keep the comedy level high even by modern standards without resorting to overly slapstick or toilet humor.

Amanda was pretty decent as always and I'm glad they let her be more of a girl this time around than she has been in some of her other films. It's only after she's lived life as her brother Sebastian for a significant period of time does she really begin to exhibit stereotypically masculine behaviors.

The movie makes for good low-intelligence entertainment when you just want to park your brain with a funny movie to pass the time and with the side bonus of Channing Tatum eye candy sequences. Hooray for gratuitous shirtlessness!

She's The Man gets 4 soccer balls out of a possible 5.

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