Posted on Tuesday, March 14, 2006 at 12:00 AM
She's the Man
Don't bother reading reviews for She's the Man. Well, you could probably read the review in the latest Seventeen or Teen Weekly, and come out unscathed. But the majority of reviewers will not be of the demographic this movie is intended towards. Those reviews will therefore not inform the youthful women this movie is aimed at. Then again, I am not a 15-19 year old girl. You should still read my review.
I enjoyed the movie. The issues I had with the film will, in my opinion, appeal to those interested in seeing Amanda Bynes in her latest. Once again a movie asks the audience to believe in an unbelievable desire and from there develop that into something believable. She's the Man, unlike the drama that is These Girls, is a comedy. Therefore there is a great deal that is unbelievable in She's the Man but it is in those moments that the movie tries for humor. Gauging by the reactions of the audience at large, let alone my own personal glee, the movie succeeds.
I found She's the Man was one 8 minute action montage after another. You can summarize the movie based on the sequence of quick-edited montages. Girls play soccer. Girl becomes boy. Girl arrives dressed as boy at school. Girl as boy unsuccessfully tries out for soccer team. Girl almost gets caught at carnivale being boy while falling in love with her/his roommate. Girl dressed as boy grows in football/soccer skills until noticed by coach becomes first string. Important soccer game happens interspersed with big revelations made to the entire cast bringing about an end to the comedy and the movie.
And after writing that paragraph I understand my issues with the movie. So many things happen, need to happen, within the plot of this 90 minute movie that any stopping for breath and understanding will without fail cause some element of the plot to not resolve to satisfaction. It's like throwing pieces of string into the air and then trying to knot them all into one long string before they hit the ground. In attempting to stay true to Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night" upon which the film is based so much needs to happen that a great deal of characterization is left out. But that isn't necessarily at issue. It's not perfect. But it is funny.
Just because it is based on Shakespeare don't hesitate for a moment to think that it needs to be academic and intelligent. Shakespeare wrote for his audience, and in his comedies he aimed for the laugh whenever and however he could. In "A Midsummer's Night Dream" Shakespeare puts the head of a donkey on a man and then makes a faerie queen fall in love with him. In She's the Man Viola inspires Duke Orsena to put a tampon up his nose to stem its bleeding. So-called educated reviewers will take issue to that, in the mis-guided notion that Shakespeare would be up in arms over such physical and over-dramatic comedy. But it had the audience laughing which is what a comedy is all about.
The setting is contrived, the characters are flat (but not stale) and everything ends in complete bliss and happiness for all concerned. This is what happens at the end of "Twelfth Night." People smiled as they left the theatre. This is what happens in a feel-good comedy. If you are looking for something else in a 15-19 year old - young woman picture see These Girls. But I have a feeling that if you want to see She's the Man then you will enjoy She's the Man.
3 stars out of 4
Kyle Gould is a University of Calgary Graduate in English devoutly trying to make the 25,000 dollar piece of parchment not just a glorified ink blot. Currently it would serve better as a Rorschach test. Feel free to throw some ink his way at email@example.com.