SHE'S THE MAN
In this modern-day adaptation of Twelfth Night, Viola Hastings (Amanda Bynes) disguises herself as her twin brother Sebastian (James Kirk) in order to infiltrate the all-male soccer team on his campus. Her efforts attract the attention of the school beauty, Olivia Lennox (Laura Ramsey), but Viola finds herself drawn to her team-mate Duke Orsino (Channing Tatum), who has designs on Olivia. The games and gender switches create a number of possible pairings, but each couple's fate will be determined by a single kiss.
Review by Lesley Chow:
One of the charms of this romantic teen comedy is its speed: even its sex change is a remarkably carefree, no-fuss event. When Viola decides to turn into Sebastian, the whole process takes place in a rapid montage: just a quick binding of the breasts, and a couple of attempts at mimicking homeboys, and she's ready. The screenwriters (who include Kirsten Smith and Karen McCullah Lutz, the pair behind Legally Blonde) pack the high-school plot with sympathetic "helper" figures, and tough guys who redeem themselves at the right moment: the characters may be predictable, but we're constantly surprised by their dialogue, and the way their features come into play.
Shakespeare's character of Olivia has always been attractive - an aloof woman, melting at the thought of a shadow - and Laura Ramsey is a lovely, sensitive ingénue. With her over-excited voice and appearance, Amanda Bynes is generally a manic presence - as seen in her TV show, What I Like About You. Yet playing Sebastian seems to humanise her: apparently her set of gestures is more becoming to a boy than a teenage girl. As a woman, she comes across as nervous and eager to please; as a man, she's almost fascinating, with that jerky, overactive body language.
This twitchy little man is a funny and individual creation, and the scene where Viola switches sex inside a castle of bouncing toddlers - just another identity lost in the mix - is superb. Maybe it's the loss of all that hair, but playing a "dude" seems to suit Bynes perfectly: her smirks and whispered asides comically suggest another character trying to get out. Yet once she reverts to being a girl, the interest is gone; when Viola shakes off her wig, sideburns and brows at the end, Bynes is back to being the self-conscious child star.
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SHE'S THE MAN (PG)
CAST: Amanda Bynes, Alex Breckenridge, David Cross, Vinnie Jones, Channing Tatum, Laura Ramsey
PRODUCER: Ewan Leslie, Jack Leslie, Lauren Shuler Donner
DIRECTOR: Andy Fickman
SCRIPT: Ewan Leslie, Karen McCullah Lutz, Kristen Smith
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Greg Gardiner
EDITOR: Michael Jablow
MUSIC: Nathan Wang
PRODUCTION DESIGN: David J. Bomba
RUNNING TIME: 106 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: April 6, 2006
VIDEO DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow Home Entertainment
VIDEO RELEASE: September 7, 2006