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She’s the Man

June 21, 2011

She’s the Man (2006)
Director: Andy Fickman
Actors: Amanda Bynes, Channing Tatum, Laura Ramsey

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Synopsis: Viola (Amanda Bynes) rebels against the decision to not let girls at her school play soccer. She disguises herself as her brother, and takes his place at his school, trying to win a place in the soccer team….

Review: She’s the Man arrived at the back-end of a 10-year Hollywood fad for rebranding classic works of literature into smart teen rom-coms (think ‘Emma’ becoming Clueless, ‘Pygmalion’ becoming She’s All That, and ‘The Taming of the Shrew’ becoming 10 Things I Hate About You). Thus there’s an inescapable air of familiarity with She’s the Man‘s reworking of Shakespeare’s ‘Twelfth Night’, and for the most part it is just another fluffy, disposable high school flick with an arch Shakespearean conceit. There is also a fairly conservative message at the heart of the film, with the two attractive couples eventually getting together, and the geeky girl getting endlessly humiliated and demonised. The film’s one saving grace is the performance of its lead actress, Amanda Bynes. I found something strangely endearing about her cross-dressing performance as Viola/Sebastian and if one can overlook the essential flimsiness of the construct whereby she supposedly looks like a boy, the delivery of her one-liners and her feel for physical comedy gives the film some undoubted charm. (June 2011)

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