Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Movie Review: She's The Man

Okay, before I get into this review can I just say to the many, many Skander Keynes fans who have reached this site after searching on Google for such phrases as "Does Skander Keynes have a girlfriend?" that I really don't know if he does and I'm not likely to ever find out. That said, given the fact that he's, like, twelve years old, and also that none of you are ever likely to meet him anyway, I really doubt that it matters. All I ever did was say that I thougth he was good as Edmund in The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe! Still, thanks for the hits girls....

Now that's out of the way, I have a quick observation - either the Internet Movie Database ( is the greatest single resource for movie fans the world has ever known, or it is the main repository for all the inane drivel in the world. Possibly, it's both. I say this simply because when I write my movie reviews I always check IMDB for the actor's and director's filmographies (and names!) and there is ALWAYS, ALWAYS a post titled "Worst Movie Ever." This usually sits next to a post speculating that the film will be the end of the leading lady or leading man's movie career. It's just a bit sad, really.

Okay, finally, on with the review. Now, who honestly thought that when I posted the words "I saw a great movie at the cinema tonight, so I'll try to get a review up sometime this weekend" the other night that I could possibly be referring to this Amanda Bynes starring adaptation of Shakespeare's Twelfth Night? As I suspected...none of you....

This is Hollywood.....doing football (soccer for you yanks) a teen comedy....based on Shakespeare. Okay, Hollywood's track record when it comes to football is that should have us worried....but the track record when it comes to teen comedies based on Shakespeare isn't so bad. The most notable success that springs to mind here is "Ten Things I Hate About You"....a film which I personally love (yes, I am odd, thank you), which is based on The Taming of the Shrew. Trying to think of a good Hollywood film that includes football is pretty much impossible...even the British find it hard to make good movies about the beautiful game, with Bend It Like Beckham being one of the few films to actually stand out. Of course, Bend It Like Backham and She's The Man have two important things in common - they're about girls playing football.

Oh, if you were hoping for a plot summary, you're not going to get one - go see the film instead! This film succeeds in the football area for a number of very simple reasons. Firstly, it portrays the game as being physical and played with passion. Secondly, the score lines are realistic, with the big game at the end being a simple 2-1 affair. Thirdly, it references David Beckham, and one character has a pin-up of Frank Lampard, showing that someone working on the film actually put in some effort to learn something about football. Lastly, it has Vinnie Jones in it. I can't make up my mind if Vinnie's acting in this is awful or if it's him deliberately trying to be funny. But the presence of at least one actual, former top flight football player just lends this film a bit of credibility that it otherwise wouldn't have had.

Amanda Bynes is great in this too. If, like me, you're British, you've probably heard of her but won't actually know who she is. She's best known for doing TV stuff in the US, and her biggest movie role was as the voice of Piper in the CG animated film, Robots (ah, how we mourn the loss of the funny Robin Williams....maybe we'll find him somewhere, someday, with the funny Steve Martin who's also left us...). I heard one reviewer say that Amanda Bynes is the actress you call after Lindsay Lohan and Hillary Duff have turned you down, but neither of those actresses would have been able to play the role of Viola in this movie. First off, I don't think either of them could have been as convincing prentending to be Viola's brother, Sebastian. Lohan paid too much for those breasts to strap them down, and Duff is just too much of a girl. Secondly, I'd be afraid that either of them would simply snap under the weight of some of the football tackles in this movie. Bynes is incredibly cute, but she hasn't slipped into that unreal "Stupid Girl" world that both Lohan and Duff seem to inhabit these days.

This movie is genuinely funny, as well, which is always an important factor in any comedy. The cast is largely fairly unknown (I think that Vinnie Jones is technically the biggest movie star in the whole film!) but that certianly doesn't hurt the film. I would warn anyone going to see it that during the first ten to fifteen minutes you'll probably find yourself slightly uneasy and wondering if this is, in fact, going to suck. It won't, believe me.

Oh, the only other thing I want to say about this is that the film includes one of the best cat fights in the history of cinema, worth the admission price alone!

Rating: 7.5/10

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