Amanda Bynes, now 20 years old, is starting to come into her own but has a long way to go before proving she can duke it out with the big boys. And in "She's the Man," that statement can be taken literally. Slightly veering away from pre-teen fluff, Bynes plays a girl who pretends to be a boy to show that she can play soccer just as well as the guys.
"She's the Man" skews a tad older in audiences, although the premise still lends itself to the pre-teen crowd. The back of the box quotes a critic from "Westwood One," whatever that is, that claims this movie is "Mean Girls gets a classic twist." As a big fan of "Mean Girls," I have to say that's a pretty ambitious and ultimately ludicrous statement, as this movie is never as clever nor as funny as the Lindsey Lohan classic. Still, the movie has a few things going for it.
First off, the plot is clever, at least in principle. Viola (Bynes) dresses up as her brother Sebastian to play on a guy's soccer team, only to become interested in her male roommate Duke. However, Duke is in love with Olivia, who likes Sebastian (only it isn't Sebastian but Viola) because "he" is so in touch with his feminine side. Ultimately, things get quite complicated as the secrets become more involved.
Second, Bynes is starting to look quite hot - well, at least when she's not dressed up as a girly-looking boy.
And that's about it. The rest of the movie is pretty lame, though not to the point where you couldn't watch it if you had to. The movie's clever plot only partially makes up for lackluster dialogue, which is about as standard as it comes. Bynes struggles playing a dual sex character, and really is never convincing as a boy. The movie resorts to jokes where Bynes suddenly lowers her voice halfway through a sentence to cover up her girlish tone, and is constantly struggling to say cliché "male" things. While it would be difficult to realistically dress up as the opposite sex, I can't imagine it would be that hard to stay in character. Girls know how boys talk, and the things Bynes are forced to say just don't make much sense.
Without good dialogue, most comedies are toast, and "She's the Man" is no exception. While there are some funny parts, most of the jokes fall painfully flat.
A lot of effort went into the concept and hiring attractive actors, but the screenwriters apparently checked out before the first page was written. "She's the Man" isn't a horrible movie, but with bland writing it doesn't have much going for it.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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