Sydney White


By Clint Morris

As far as teen comedies go it’s not “the most beautiful of all” but “Sydney White” leaves a much better taste in your mouth than a poisonous apple, so it can’t all be bad.

Literary classics getting the contemporary rework were all the rage a few years back – there was “O”, a modern-day version of “Othello”; the Shakespeare-inspired teen pic “Ten Things I Hate About You”; and “Emma”-inspired “Clueless” – but like a crying baby at night, they seemed to have ultimately quieted down. Until now.

“Sydney White” could be compared to going to a family Christmas party – doesn’t sound that exciting, and ultimately isn’t that eventful, but thanks to that one ‘funny’ and ‘charming’ guest it ends up a lot more tolerable than you expected. In this case, the element that perks proceedings is teenage comedienne Amanda Bynes.

Though she’s yet to really score a major hit, or prove herself outside of fluffy family films, Bynes is always on target in the movies she does do. The girl seems to know her audience – bubble-gum chewing I-pod listening 14-year-old girls – and seems quite content with what she’s in; her films are what they are and fit nicely into the ‘if it’s not broke, don’t fix it’ box. But, they’re not for anyone over the age of 15.

Ms Bynes’ films are usually thinly-written teen comedies with pretty girls, pretty boys, oodles of pop music, cutesy romance and a young spunky lead making cutesy jokes… and “Sydney White” is pretty much the same – except for the ‘thinly-written’ part.

Chad Gomez Creasey’s – who penned the pic in college – screenplay for “Sydney White” is actually rather clever… it plonks ‘Snow White’ or Sydney White (Bynes) into college where she has a run-in with the head of her new fraternity (Sara Paxton) and has no other option but to bunk with the Seven ‘Dorks’ down the road. Meantime, she’s being courted by the local Prince Charming (Matt Long of Tvs “Jack and Bobby”) much to the disgust of White’s nemesis. There’s some inspired moments in the film – has obviously thought long and hard about how he’s going to fit in all the ‘Snow White’ references into the film, but does so, and effectively (The ‘Hi Ho’ gag is a highlight).

Bynes is her usual bubbly, entertaining-self in “Sydney White” and quite frankly, with not much else that ‘special’ in tow, she is the main ingredient of the pie. It’s a dish that’ll undoubtedly be too sugary for some, and too bland for others, but the target market will slurp up “Sydney White” with a large ladle.

See it before your acne disappears.