Yet another take on “Twelfth Night” (in the current onslaught of Hollywood remaking every movie), it’s not a far off idea that “She’s the Man” sneakily tends to borrow so much more from the 1985 gender switching comedy “Just One of the Guys.” While you could easily make the argument that they’re adapted from the same material thus bound to be similar, it’s undeniable during the big “reveal” in the climax.
It’s something that the aforementioned eighties movie is known for.
Viola Johnson (Amanda Bynes) is in a real jam. Complications threaten her scheme to pose as her twin brother, Sebastian, and take his place at a new boarding school. She falls in love with her handsome roommate, Duke, who loves beautiful Olivia, who has fallen for Sebastian! As if that were not enough, Viola’s twin returns from London ahead of schedule but has no idea that his sister has already replaced him on campus.
“Just One of the Guys” is one of my favorite eighties guilty pleasures (thanks for the brainwashing, pap) and the eternally hot Joyce Hyser looked a lot like a young man, deep voice and all. For us, the audience, to believe that people around her buy her as a young man only insults our intelligence. Bynes with her poor deep voice, puffy cheeks, and pouty red lips looks like—a young girl dressing as a young man. Bynes, in all her appeal, charisma, and charm, has the ability to stand out as a comedic presence in truly good films, but is just vanilla (like all of her other early aught teen idol contemporaries).
Admittedly, “She’s The Man” has some entertaining moments, however fleeting (the restaurant scene, the soccer unveiling of Sebastian). David Cross is also hilarious, and Vinnie Jones is also very much a pleasure. One of the conundrums of “She’s the Man” is that it targets a teenage audience, yet seems to want to flaunt how much Amanda Bynes has—erm–grown. No matter how much the script quotes Shakespeare, and fires Cross at us, it’s basically a stock Hollywood comedy fodder. There is the cardboard love interest, the typical geeky supporting characters, and there’s even a musical montage set to bland pop music.
“She’s the Man” for all its Shakespearean influence, can’t hide that it’s another recycled teen comedy. There are ways to put creative spins on Shakespeare stories (“O”, “Scotland, PA”), but “She’s The Man” is a vapid, dull vehicle that fails in adding any kind of new spin or substance to the original stage play.