banner image

:: She’s The Man

In the tradition of Ten Things I Hate About You, Andy Fickman’s new comedy is Shakespeare for the schoolyard. She’s the Man is an imaginative adaptation of Twelfth Night that has something for everyone. There’s romance and girl power, sports and hit-in-the-groin jokes and with its references to the classic tale, parents could almost call it educational.

Viola (Amanda Bynes) is furious when the girls’ soccer team is cut at her school. When her free spirited brother takes off to London for two weeks, she dresses as him so she can go to his new school and try out for their boys team. As ‘Sebastian’, Viola is unexpectedly a hit with the ladies, setting up some hilarious moments. The beautiful Olivia gets a crush on Sebastian who is really Viola, but Viola only has eyes for roommate Duke, who’s crazy about Olivia and thinks Viola’s a guy. Matters get more complicated when the real Sebastian’s girlfriend shows up and nearly reveals Viola’s identity.

Amanda Bynes (What a Girl Wants) plays Viola with zest and enthusiasm. Although a relative newcomer to Australian screens, this up and coming young actress has worked steadily on US television for the last decade and gained a reputation as a great comedienne. Although not entirely believable as a boy, her comic delivery and physical humour work really well in this film. Channing Tatum (Coach Carter) is athletic and charming in the role of Duke, guaranteeing the gasps and daydreams of many a teenage girl. Laura Ramsay (Lords of Dogtown) plays the final side of the love triangle as Olivia. This ultra-nice role unfortunately doesn’t give her much scope to reveal her talent or sufficiently develop Olivia’s personality.

Welsh football star Vinnie Jones (Snatch) brings some authenticity to the football scenes as Coach Dinklage, and the young cast also rise to the occasion. They had two months of intense training with a professional soccer coach before the shoot, so it really is them playing in most of the film.

She’s the Man is less serious than Bend it Like Beckham and more serious than the American Pie school of teen comedy, yet it will appeal to fans of both. This film has some great messages for young people, encouraging them to overcome peer pressure and empowering them to pursue their dreams. Several of the jokes do fall flat, but these moments are rare and quickly replaced by a cinema full of giggles and gender-bending enjoyment.