Loosely inspired by Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, She’s the Man is a fun tale set in modern-day U.S.A. that may be flawed but is far too much fun to ignore.
How far would you be willing to go for something you love? For the love of soccer, Viola Hastings (Amanda Bynes) is willing to go to any extreme. She’s the captain of her school’s soccer team and her boyfriend Justin (Robert Hoffman) even says she is better at the sport than most of the guys on his team. When the school cuts budgets and Viola’s team is taken down with it, Viola’s optimism suggests that the girls join up with the boy’s team – a suggestion that only gets scoffed at and causes her to lose Justin. Fortunately for her, inspiration strikes and Viola comes up with an ingenious plan…
Her opportunity to continue playing presents itself when her twin brother Sebastian (James Kirk) decides to take his little band to London without his parent’s knowledge. During Sebastian’s absence, she decides to pose as him at the private school their parents just enrolled him in – after all, the faculty and student body have never even seen Sebastian, she’s got this. With a little bit of “magic” from her hairdresser friend, Paul, Viola transforms into “Sebastian.” With this complete, Viola tells her mother (Julie Hagerty) a white lie in order to keep up the façade and off she goes to follow her dreams. With just one goal in mind, Viola finds her work cut out for her – she must learn to dodge Sebastian’s high-maintenance girlfriend Monique (Alex Breckenridge) and put in the occasional appearance as herself. Then she meets Duke (Channing Tatum), the cute star player on the team she is now a part off. Unfortunately for Viola, the popular girl at school, Olivia (Laura Ramsey) starts crushing on “Sebastian,” Duke is in love with Olivia, and Viola begins to fall for her “roomie,” Duke – only trouble is, Duke thinks Viola is a he!
Are you confused yet? She’s the Man has no shortage of fun cases of mistaken identity and cute romantics. There are certainly plenty of different but connected plots and subplots in this adorable teen flick. I remember the first time I saw this one laughing myself silly (much to the chagrin of my father – he wondered what I could find so humorous) and loving it but also being a bit taken aback at some of the material knowing it was geared towards young teens. Since then, I have seen countless other “teen” flicks and have come to realize (sadly) that this film is tame in comparison.
A bit quirky, the movie is made all the more cute by its amusing antics and spot-on witty humor – which is mostly carried by funny-girl Amanda Bynes. As an actress, I think she was and still is one of the funniest people on the big-screen; her natural talent at physical humor as well as delivering witty zingers seems quite “natural.” One of the funniest scenes involves a package of feminine products and nose bleeds. (I know, it sounds crude.) Whether the scene may in reality be a tactless example of writing, the fact remains: It was hilarious. Partly it is because of everyone’s reactions and partly the laughs come because of a secondary scene that comes about because of that. As twin siblings, James and Amanda complimented each other with a resemblance and looking back, it was a lot of fun seeing Channing in this as it was likely one of his early roles that launched him as the superstar he is today.
Given the decline of entertainment today, this movie might actually be one of the “cleaner” PG13-rated comedies that are geared towards teens. Unfortunate as it may be, the movie still has a lot of cute moments. Very few movies have such an easy, breezy way of amusing me. This one did that times ten. Am I saying that everyone will agree with that? No. Nevertheless for older, mature teens who are able to weed out the “bad” to get to the heart of the story, She’s the Man is a fun summer-time popcorn flick.
(Be aware: There is one scene that calls for a girl and a guy to “prove” their gender – he drops his pants and she lifts her shirt [all off-camera]. A big joke is made about Viola finding the time to shower; there is also a scene of her in the boy’s locker rooms [again, nothing is shown]. Skimpy clothing is revealing and there are a few kisses. Language is minimal.)