Mightn’t have been worth the $24 this reviewer spent on city parking to see it, but the target audience won’t much care for any post-teen’s opinion, anyway, because they’re all too conscious that it’s a club that only they know the secret password for.
Amanda Bynes, James Kirk, Lynda Boyd, Channing Tatum, Laura Ramsey, Robert Hoffman, Alex Breckenridge, David Cross
Knowing this latest tween comedy is inspired by the famous literary piece, Twelfth Night, most critics will be looking to detach the ‘speare’ from the Shake and pierce the film’s core with the implement’s pointed tip – and that’s before they’ve even got through the poppy opening credits.
Then there’s me, the guy that believes there’s an audience out there from everything – well, except perhaps “Basic Instinct 2” and “Chicken Little”, and those two definitely don’t play as a good double feature either – and if there isn’t, there will be. (Case 1 : The only action that the seats in the theatre showing, say, “Mallrats” or “Tommy Boy”, back in the day, saw was the whisk of a candy wrapper from the previous session of a more appealing more. And look at the audience the films have now – they’re sell-out cult DVD hits. Both of them.) Not that this Teenage “Tootsie” is ever going to live onto cult status – though I have been wrong about such things before, hello “Showgirls”! – But there’ll be definitely a teenager girl (or boy – after all, the lead is quite a cutie) just hurting to dive into the first-class fluff on offer.
When Viola (Amanda Bynes) is informed that girls aren’t allowed to try out for the soccer team, she’s pretty bummed out. Fortunately, she comes up with a way to get around the fact that she’s without twig and berries, and win a place in the team. With her twin brother Sebastian out of town, Viola’s convinced she can effortlessly take his place – thanks to a shockingly deep voice, long shirts, stick-on sideburns and a bowl cut toupee – for a couple of weeks. Cue the ‘falling in love with male roommate’ subplot, ‘school slime ball with mounting suspicions’ part, and ‘scenes where Viola comes dangerously close to being exposed’. Oh, and let’s not forget ‘the big reveal’ at the end.
Growing up, I was front row centre for a lot of these films – the ones where the girl dresses up as a guy, or the guy dresses up as a girl – and as a fourteen-year-old, I tell ya, I had a better time with them than curious cats have with plastic bags. To anyone else, they (films like “Just One of the Guys”, “He’s My Girl”, “Tootsie”) would’ve been complete garbage – and to a large part, they’re probably right, there’s not a lot of artistic merit here – but to a youngster and his choc-top, who’s essentially just out for a good time not a history lesson, it was cinematic Christmas.
The only way to review a film like “She’s The Man” is, needless to say, back in the mind frame of that young punk again. Would he have got a kick out of it? Would today’s teens get a kick out of it? Are the youngster surrounding you laughing? And the answer: a resounding (which pretty much means that even the thirty-year-old hiding inside, enjoyed it too – just don’t tell anyone) Yes. As a syrupy teen comedy with a lineage as steadfast as a hot water bottle in winter, it kicks goals. Not the type you’d want to watch on replay, but it still kicks ‘em.
It isn’t because of the template either. That’s as old as the cracks on the footpath. The real reason to watch is adorable teenage superstar, Amanda Bynes. Just as she proved in her last couple of films, “Big Fat Liar” and “What A Girl Wants”, Bynes is a pin-up princess that’s more interested in getting laughs than looking good. Power to her too. Byrnes is an absolute delight – just as she was in those previous films – and you’ll be hard-pressed keeping a straight face whenever she opens her mouth. Her delivery is ‘tight’. Hilary, Jessica, Ashley….they’ve got nothing on AB.
At the end of the day, “She’s the Man” mightn’t have been worth the $24 this reviewer spent on city parking to see it, but the target audience won’t much care for any post-teen’s opinion, anyway, because they’re all too conscious that it’s a club that only they know the secret password for.
Extras include several deleted scenes (some are actually pretty funny), an OK commentary (featuring the bubbly Bynes), an extended cheerleading sequence, and more shots of dudes kicking around soccer balls. Not a bad offering – for the youngsters, anyway.
Reviewer : Clint Morris