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MatchFlick Member Reviews
She's the Man
5 reviews

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Movie Details

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Directed By
Andy Fickman

Written By:
Karen McCullah Lutz, Kirsten Smith, Ewan Leslie

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

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She's the Man (2006)
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Movie Review by Tony
July 19th, 2006

I like to consider myself a fairly open minded movie critic. I don't feel just because a movie is about something, you have to necessarily be it, to enjoy it. I enjoyed BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN, and I'm not gay or a cowboy. I enjoyed HOSTEL, and I'm not a killer or have any interest in killing. On the same playing field, I enjoyed MEAN GIRLS, SISTERHOOD OF THE TRAVELING PANTS, and now SHE'S THE MAN. Even though I am not the target audience, a girl, or who this film is intended for. But I'll respect a well-made film in it's genre.

SHE'S THE MAN is believe it or not based on "Twelfth Night, or What You Will" by William Shakespeare. Only this time set in the world of High School. Oh, what a world that is. Also, the sport of soccer is thrown in. Speaking of soccer, Amanda Bynes stars as Viola, who is a soccer star with her friends, but her school ends up cutting the girls soccer team. Her boyfriend Justin (Robert Hoffman) is not supportive of her choice to want to join the boys team. Which upsets her. Since she thinks she is just as good as them, if not better. Due to his selfishness, they end up separating.

Also, on Viola's plate is her overbearing and girly mother played by Julie Hagerty of AIRPLANE fame. Who wishes she was more girly and into dresses instead of soccer. She also discovers her twin brother Sebastian (James Kirk) is not going to boarding school and is instead attending London to pursue his musical career. Viola decides to pretend to be her brother, go to this boarding school, and face her own school in the big soccer match up and prove she belongs with the boys and can play.

Viola gets a male wig, adopts a male voice, hides her large breasts behind rolls of tape, and puts on fake sideburns. Her roommates are Duke (Channing Tatum), Toby (Brandon Jay McLaren) and Andrew (Clifton MaCabe Murray) who sense something is seriously wrong with this dude. The principal of this school is the hilarious David Cross, who has large quantities of personality, but low quantities of hair. The school also has the brace faced and intense Eunice (Emily Perkins) and spider loving Malcolm (James Synder).

SHE'S THE MAN rests on the broad shoulders of Amanda Bynes. If her performance fails, so does the film. Luckily, her performance is quirky, nuanced, charming, sweet, and funny all in one. She goes from her female voice and then realizing she must be male and coughs and goes to her manly voice while saying "Sup?" or "Which one do you wanna see naked?!?" She's a fearless comedian who is not afraid to put herself out there and I admire that. She plays it to where you are not supposed to believe she is a guy, but that's OK. That is humor behind it. If she played this straight up and serious, it would not have the level of laughs and situations that this film provides.

The story provides many avenues to show off the comedic stylings of Miss Bynes. Such as when it's soccer time, she provides wise reasons as to why she should be a shirt instead of a skin. Also, avoiding showers, and her hitting on guys with other guys. Calling them hot mommas, sexy ladies, pretty ladies, and not to mention avoiding her brother's hot but cruel girlfriend Monique (Alex Breckenridge). In the hands of lesser talent it would come off predictable and fall flat, but Bynes hits all the right notes and does this with a certain style that not many other could do. She has been doing comedy since she was a little girl and she knows what to do.

The plot device is that Viola likes Duke, who likes Olivia (Laura Ramsey) who likes Sebastian played by Bynes, and Sebastian likes Olivia. If you are confused, so was I. But in a weird sort of way it works Outside of the silly plot, which is just a way for Bynes to be Bynes, the film has some sweet subtexts about boys/girls, and high school life. Eunice who is early on played for cruel jokes and a doormat ends up being loved, cared for, and respected and a boy ends up finally telling her how he feels. Duke might be all muscles and abs, but deep down he is sensitive, which draws Viola to him. The film gets some truths about high school right, while also having some fun along the way.

But in the end, this is just a Bynes vehicle to be lovable with her chipmunk cheeks, long legs, and fun-loving personality. It's mountains better then STICK IT, and made me laugh much more then I expected to. I didn't feel insulted or groan when viewing this film. If you are able to step back, enjoy the film what it is, wants to be, and what it does, you will enjoy it. Maybe I'm just eternally young. I did enjoy GARFIELD after all.

Tony Farinella

Grade: B+

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