Sydney (Amanda Bynes) is a tomboy, brought up by her plumber father (John Schneider) after the death of her mother when she was nine. Keen to follow in her mother's footsteps and join her old college sorority, Sydney finds that being a Kappa is not at all what she expects. As soon as self-obsessed president Rachel Witchburn (Sara Paxton) notices that her ex-boyfriend Tyler (Matt Long) is showing an interest in Sydney, she expels her. Sydney then befriends seven dorks who live in the run-down Vortex and champions them to run for office against Rachel.
Review by Louise Keller:
Strictly for teenage girls, Sydney White is not totally without charms, but is too breathless, too cheesy and far too dorky to leave a favourable impact. The story? Amanda Bynes' Sydney leaves her tomboy existence to join her mother's former sorority at college, champions a group of dorks and makes being a dork fashionable. Ho-hum? You bet, and director Joe Nussbaum over-directs his cast in this reworked Snow White story (originally titled Sydney White and the Seven Dorks), that has little with which to work, except for a trite script by Chad Gomez Creasey.
Bynes has carved up a decent reputation playing squeaky clean teens and this one has, if nothing else, plenty of gusto. Compared to the skinny blondes with flawless complexions and lemon mouths, Bynes' Sydney is a breath of fresh air (not withstanding her heavy make-up), arriving on campus with a case filled with comic books and a matter-of-fact manner. Without trying, she steals Sarah Paxton's vile Queen Bee Rachel Witchburn thunder and boyfriend Tyler (Matt Long) by simply being herself. Rachel, a stereo-typical, model-thin blonde who mutters words like Prada, Gucci, Chanel, Armani to calm herself, thrives on her status as the 'hottest of them all', and has no qualms to use a bag filled with dirty tricks to rid herself of the competition. Described as 'some prissy girlie girl who probably doesn't know who Gandalf is', Rachel tries, but fails to undermine, compromise and embarrass Sydney, who comes to college with girlish hopes and dreams.
There are few laughs but even at 108 minutes, the film feels overlong. I liked Matt Long as Sydney's beau, and the ambience created with the seven dorks (one is so insecure he talks through his hand puppet; another is allergic to everything...) is rather sweet. But it is a sad affair if this is the best that is on offer in order to deliver the message to young girls that being an outsider is okay.
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SYDNEY WHITE (PG)
CAST: Amanda Bynes, Sara Paxton, Matt Long, Jack Carpenter, Jeremy Howard, Crystal Hunt, Adam Hendershott
PRODUCER: David C. Robinson, James G. Robinson, Clifford Werber
DIRECTOR: Joe Nussbaum
SCRIPT: Chad Gomez Creasey
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Mark Irwin
EDITOR: Danny Saphire
MUSIC: Deborah Lurie
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Mark Garner
RUNNING TIME: 108 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Hoyts
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: January 31, 2008