105 Min | Comedy – Romance | April 2006
IMDB Rating: 6.4
Director: Andy Fickman
Starring: Amanda Bynes, Laura Ramsey, Channing Tatum
She’s the Man Review: “She’s the Man” is a ridiculous but ultimately entertaining teen movie which takes the gender-bending action of Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night” and drops it in the middle of a modern-day American boarding school. The premise should sound familiar because screenwriters Lutz and Smith also penned “10 Things I Hate About You,” another twist on Shakespeare, starring the likes of Julia Styles and Academy Award nominee Heath Ledger. It’s more of the same, of course, but seeing Shakespeare’s work go Hollywood, and, thus, be ripped to shreds, continues to amuse. “She’s the Man” also focuses on a decidedly less bitter heroine than the shrew, Katarina, played in 1999 by a very stilted Styles. If that makes the film less witty, who cares? Not half of this film’s target audience, who came mostly to see Channing Tatum with his shirt off.
Like Kat in “10 Things,” Viola (Amanda Bynes) is a tomboy and a soccer star on the women’s team at Cornwall Prep. Her life is soccer, which becomes a problem when her school cuts the women from the sports program. Better than most of the boys, Viola wants to suit up with them but is snubbed by both the coach and the team’s captain – her boyfriend. So it’s “end of discussion end of relationship.” In “She’s the Man”, Viola hatches a plan to pursue her sporting dreams at rival school Illyria, where her twin brother has just enrolled. Twin brother, Sebastian, is skipping off to England for two weeks and nobody at Illyria has ever met him. She begins to gear up for Illyria’s season opener against Cornwall and has to navigate a complicated love-triangle, in addition to other challenges like taking a shower alongside her male teammates, without them finding out about her girl parts.
Other than that, “She’s the Man” offers audiences the simple pleasure of Amanda Bynes who seems to be a natural in comedic roles. Her Sebastian/Viola is definitely a caricature but it’s a perfectly illustrated one. From her mixed-up half southern, half Canadian drawl, to her crotch grabbing and Eminem-like posturing, Bynes has a lot of fun and, as a result, the jokes land. It’s a teen movie, so the ending is typical and cheesy. While sister film “10 Things I Hate About You” had a wild feminist streak in it and touched on somewhat weighty issues, such as the pressure to have sex, “She’s the Man” lacks a serious undercurrent. But this is probably a good thing. “10 Things” was, at times, too earnest and moralizing. “She’s the Man” doesn’t pretend to be more important than it is. It’ll earn a spot on the shelf, in between “Bend It Like Beckham” and “Legally Blonde.”