"Over the Top Phonies"
SHE’S THE MAN is an over-the-top adaptation of William Shakespeare’s TWELFTH NIGHT.
Viola Hastings, played by Amanda Bynes, disguises herself as her twin brother Sebastian so she can play on the boys’ soccer team at his new boarding school, while he goes off to London for two weeks to make his name in music industry. Viola’s effeminate hairdresser friend teaches her how to be a man. Clueless, her loony, old-fashioned mother wants her to be a debutante.
Viola rooms with this school hunk, Duke, who only has eyes for the prettiest girl in school, Olivia, who in turn falls for Viola’s Sebastian because, of course, Sebastian understands women and is sensitive to how crude and thoughtless men can really be.
Duke teaches Viola how to be a better soccer star in return for her promise on how to get Olivia to fall in love with him. Olivia falls for Sebastian, while Duke falls for Viola when he gets to kiss her in the county fair kissing booth while she is posing as herself. In the meantime, the black soccer player falls for the ugly duckling science student, the balding headmaster is absolutely loony, the parents are out of touch, and the plot thickens and thickens and thickens until the real Sebastian and the cross-dressing Viola have to bare their private parts to straighten out the plot.
There are a lot of funny moments in SHE’S THE MAN. There’s also a lot of embarrassing, campy moments, and there are other moments that go beyond camp and are completely over the top. Some of this movie is a complete embarrassment to watch. Most of it just hangs together. The first-time director’s last movie was REEFER MADNESS, not a terrific credit for someone who wants to direct actors as weak as those in this movie. The movie’s caricatures are too broad, and the lead actress does not look the part when she disguises herself as a teenage boy.
Most of the messages in SHE’S THE MAN are absolutely abhorrent. Rather than the clarity of Shakespeare’s vision, this story completely confuses gender issues. Of course, if we were technically accurate, gender refers to language, and the issues confused by the movie refer to male and female sex. Often, the confusion is only to have a vehicle for salacious sexual comments. There is a scene, for example, when Viola gets accosted crudely by four babes, one after another.
There’s also heavy kissing and petting in SHE’S THE MAN, and the moral of the story is that anything goes, although there are a few, very mild moral caveats stated at the end. The final problem with SHE’S THE MAN is that many of the teenagers enjoyed it, which is not a good sign at all.
(PaPaPa, Ho, B, LLL, V, S, N, A, M) Very strong pagan worldview, with a cross-dressing theme with homosexual allusions, includes girl dresses as boy to get into boy's soccer team and a very very light moral resolution where the heroine realizes it's better to be who she is; 20 obscenities, seven profanities and lots of gender-bending jokes and a feminine hygiene joke; several fights including punching a person in the jaw, two guys scuffle, two guys and a girl scuffle, soccer team fights, and three girls fight; heavy kissing, no fornication, but many sexual innuendoes, jokes and references, including homosexual ones; upper male nudity, bathroom scenes and low-cut female dresses, salacious cheerleaders, girl soccer shots, and to solve the plot problem boy drops his pants so everyone can see he's a boy and girl lifts her blouse (nothing shown, however); drinking; no smoking but one legal drug reference; and, making fun of parents, authority, society, and propriety.
SHE'S THE MAN is an over-the-top adaptation of William Shakespeare's TWELFTH NIGHT. Viola disguises as her traveling twin brother Sebastian, so she can play on the boys’ soccer team. Her effeminate hairdresser teaches her how to be a man. Viola rooms with the school hunk, Duke, who only has eyes for the prettiest girl in school, Olivia, who falls for Viola's Sebastian because, of course, Sebastian understands women and is sensitive to how crude men can really be. Duke teaches Viola how to be a better soccer star in return for her promise on how to get Olivia to fall in love with him. The plot thickens and thickens until Viola and Sebastian have to bare their private parts to straighten out the plot.
There are funny moments in SHE'S THE MAN, but there are also many campy, extremely embarrassing moments. The caricatures are too broad, and the lead actress does not look the part when she disguises herself as a teenage boy. Most of the messages to family and children in SHE'S THE MAN are absolutely abhorrent. They are only mitigated by a few, mild moral caveats at the end.