Back Shelf Beauties
by Willie Waffle

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She's The Man

Some of you may have noticed the commercials for She's The Man inform us how the movie is based on Shakespeare's Twelfth Night (as if some professor is sitting there watching TV in the middle of the night, sees the ad and figures, "hey, if it's based on Shakespeare, I might want to check out that teenie bopper, Amanda Bynes romp."). However, I will not spend my time comparing Shakespeare to Amanda Bynes. That would be a waste of brain cells, and, if the people who wrote it and directed haven't put that much thought into the plot and script, why should I?

Bynes stars as Viola - a top notch soccer star at her high school, who is upset to learn the ladies team has been discontinued. Betrayed by her boyfriend, when she wants to tryout for the boys' team, Viola has a chance to get her revenge and prove women can be just as good as guys (Testify Sister! You Go Girl!). Her twin brother, Sebastian (James "My parents were nerds" Kirk), wants to skip the beginning of the semester at a nearby rival school to perform with his band in some London music festival, so she masquerades as he, joins the boys' soccer team, and looks forward to defeating her boyfriend's team in the big rivalry game they have in a few weeks (something tells me Shakespeare could have described that a little more smoothly than me).

Can she keep up the charade and fool everyone at the new school into thinking she's a he? Will Viola fall for her hunky roommate and teammate, Duke (Channing Tatum)? What will she do if a gal falls for her? Would that make the movie become Brokeback Soccer Pitch?

She's The Man starts off on the right foot with some wacky (although over the top and simplistic) crazy, silly fun, but starts to lose steam as it tries to be more serious. Bynes is able to get some good laughs as she tries to pass for a guy, often when Viola lets her girliness slip through, whether it be her voice, attitude or what she says to the other guys. However, I worry director Andy Fickman often takes things too far to the extreme.

Too often in the movie, people who are different or uncool are made to be ridiculous and freakish. For example, the nerdy girl, Eunice (Emily "She's super hot in real life" Perkins) has massive head gear, braces that resemble Medievel torture devices, and a personality that borders on psychotic, while Viola's mother (Julie Haggerty) is clueless to the point of being mentally incompetent. All of it is too simplistic and obvious. Then, the movie tries to be some sort of whimsical comedy of errors as several love triangles pop up, but none of them are all that compelling, and the audience can easily figure out what is supposed to happen next, because we have seen it several times before.

Fickman can't deliver the big drama at the end, when the audience is supposed to get wrapped up in the climax and pray that Viola will get the guy and win a victory for women's equality (the pitiful dialogue doesn't help), and we get treated to more mistaken identities than a bad episode of Three's Company (a Cindy Snow/Jenilee Harrison-era episode, not the classic comedy of Suzanne Somers). Plus, I'm sure someone from the Shakespeare family is considering a lawsuit.

2 Waffle (Out Of 4)

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