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Overall Rating

Awesome: 12.9%
Worth A Look32.26%
Average: 19.35%
Pretty Bad: 4.84%
Total Crap: 30.65%

6 reviews, 26 user ratings

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She's the Man
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by brianorndorf

"Slight, but there are a lot of laughs"
4 stars

Admittedly a dumb teen comedy, “She’s the Man” is a charmer, mostly thanks to the comic abilities of star Amanda Bynes. The film is a goofy in all the right ways, and Bynes really digs into the cross-dressing element of the script, elevating the film away from typical teen bear traps of melodrama and putrid acting. It ain’t high art, but it’s a great little comedy.

Viola Hastings (Amanda Bynes) loves soccer, but when her high school shuts down the girls’ team, and refuses to let the ladies join the boys’ squad, Viola is left without options. When her brother Sebastian leaves secretly for Europe, Viola decides to take his identity and attempt to join the boys’ team at his private school. Once there, Viola must pass as a guy, which is pretty difficult when faced with an attractive roommate (Channing Tatum), a female classmate who loves her (Laura Ramsey), and Sebastian’s girlfriend (Alex Breckenridge), who wants to discuss their relationship.

It’s almost hilarious to read in the opening credits that “She’s the Man” was “inspired” by Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night.” I doubt the Bard ever imagined his work would inspire such moments as a jock sticking a tampon up his nostril to stop a nosebleed, but then again, who knew “Man” would be so funny and enchantingly wacky?

It all comes down to the Bynes factor. The young actress has been doing comedy for years now, even hosting her own sketch comedy show as an early teenager; yet in feature films (“What a Girl Wants,” “Big Fat Liar”), she’s been oddly muted. “Man” changes all that, giving Bynes a free pass to try out all her rubbery reactions and mine into the rich, fertile land of cross-dressing comedy. Bynes doesn’t quite know when to reel herself in, going too quickly to screaming for effect, but she’s endearingly madcap, and that energy is a rare commodity in her age bracket, where every actor seemingly wants to play in life affirming dramas. Bynes gets good mileage out of the Sebastian role, frantically trying to maintain her “boy” voice and suppress her female instincts toward the opposite sex, and she’s mostly hilarious going through the daily male rituals. Bynes elevates the material with her spunk, and deserves most of the credit keeping “Man” away from tedium with her resolve to keep the film fluffy and silly.

Director Andy Fickman (TV’s “Reefer Madness: The Musical”) also wants “Man” to be a lighthearted affair. He’s constantly battling the screenplay (co-written by two of the minds behind the dreadful “10 Things I Hate About You”), sticking in throwaway jokes and eccentric character business whenever he can. Every moment the film veers toward melodrama, Fickman is there to add a joke. And while the funny dissipates in the second half, Fickman surprises with his dedication to keeping “Man” comedically alive, and not succumbing to the teen genre instinct to become a squealing bore.

For every bad idea or clichéd bit of screenwriting (a carnival sequence where Viola must be both herself and Sebastian comes to mind), “She’s the Man” seems to offer a surprising twist on the obvious. Simply by making the central hunky male lead dim-witted and girl repellent is a sure sign that somebody’s paying attention behind the camera.

Of course, the film is filled with disposable, tuneless pop punk music, montages upon montages, and an ending that incorporates both “the big game” and a formalwear event; but there’s a bliss to Bynes’s performance, and “She’s the Man” in general, that’s completely unexpected, and warmly welcomed. Maybe Shakespeare would’ve approved after all.

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originally posted: 03/17/06 16:03:27
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User Comments

1/16/17 xgbvzvlia USA 2 stars
3/13/12 May Q. Horney How can she be the man? She's a man.....DUH! That's how. 3 stars
4/05/11 Jennifer Marquardt awesome movie, funny, entertaining, must see 5 stars
10/15/09 molly omg duke hot dam boii!!!! 5 stars
10/14/07 David Pollastrini Amanda Bynes is hot in this! 3 stars
12/08/06 Kourtney Allen very good movie, i would recommend 5 stars
11/13/06 cody a great romantic comedy even for guys, amanda bynes is fine and movie is cool. 4 stars
10/11/06 kristen i thought this movie was awesome i loved all the actors especially amanda aka the best 5 stars
10/01/06 Beau Amanda Bynes has great acting ability, shes so out there and has a great sense of humor 4 stars
8/14/06 Sharon this movie wasnt all I expected but I loved looking at channing tatum 4 stars
8/10/06 Felicia She's the Man *1 fn It was a Awesome & Funny Film ever Filmed 5 stars
8/07/06 she's the man fan " I found this movie over all to be very funny but it's definetly a teen comedy. 4 stars
7/30/06 San Lamar it was so funny 5 stars
7/24/06 Joyce Verhoeven I thought that the film would be nicer 3 stars
7/22/06 DHollings207 Amanda Bynes is a great talent, but this film isn't really funny 2 stars
6/22/06 julian backfece brilliant, she is stunny.. i loved her acting, sense of humor, manorisms. she has talent 5 stars
6/11/06 William Goss Entirely predictable yet surprisingly tolerable, with all the charm of a retarded puppy. 3 stars
4/27/06 tibby i thought it was funny and i really liked it 4 stars
4/21/06 Nienna better than i thought it would b 4 stars
4/11/06 Anthony Cute film but no "Mean Girls". 3 stars
4/10/06 Ron Newbold My daughter loved it - good for that age group 4 stars
4/06/06 Troy M. Grzych This concept has been done time & time again, rent "Just One Of The Guys" instead! 3 stars
3/31/06 Soha Molina no good 2 stars
3/28/06 John Aster Habig Amanda Bynes is hot, especially as a man too bad there were no lesbian scenes 4 stars
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  17-Mar-2006 (PG-13)
  DVD: 18-Jul-2006



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