Plot: Viola (Amanda Bynes) loves soccer and she is the star of her school’s team, or at least she was. The girls soccer program winds up a victim of budget cuts and when she tries to join the boys squad, they refuse to even consider her. This frustrates her to no end, so when her twin brother skips town for a couple weeks, she has a wild idea and decides to take a risk. As no one knows her brother is even gone, she dresses like him and goes to this school, with hopes of joining the soccer team there and proving she can hang with the boys. But can she keep up the facade, trick her new classmates, and thrive on the soccer field?
Entertainment Value: A teen comedy based on Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, She’s the Man is of course ridiculous, but a fun, brisk watch. The premise is a well worn one, as a girl disguises herself as a boy to be able to pursue her goals, but this one knows it is just a light comedy, so it keeps things fun. In other words, the movie knows Amanda Bynes is never believable as a male here, but it has fun with that and lets the silliness of the concept shine through. The humor is light and consistent, with slapstick moments and quirky dialogue, with an emphasis on Bynes’ comic abilities and she carries the movie quite well. The over the top, silly nature of the material is bound to be dismissed by some, which is fine, but if you’re just after a fun, brisk movie with a charismatic, adorable lead, She’s the Man is a solid choice.
The cast is the main reason She’s the Man is as fun as it is, as most of the performers embrace the silliness and turn in colorful performances. Amanda Bynes is the main draw here and she carries the movie, with a ridiculous and over the top effort that is always immense fun to watch. She bubbles over with charm and charisma here, making the most of the movie’s humor and playing off her costars well. I like how she can elicit a laugh with just a well timed facial expression or awkward reaction, just a super fun performance here. David Cross also brings his usual hapless, cringe level presence to the table, while Channing Tatum, Laura Ramsey, Vinnie Jones, and Julie Hagerty round out the main cast.