(PG-13) 3 Stars
Just about everything and everybody in this teenybopper movie is cute. Usually, I would hate that. But, to my surprise, I enjoyed watching She's the Man. Maybe it has something to do with my love of great literature. See, we learn in the opening credits that William Shakespeare's Twelfth Night served as inspiration.
As sacrilegious as it sounds, even that is cute. The characters and locations in She's the Man are named after their opposites in Shakespeare's cross-dressing classic that launched a franchise of imitators, from Some Like It Hot to Bosom Buddies to Big Momma's House 2. Only this time, Shakespeare's story moves to the high school soccer field where Olivia (Amanda Bynes) is determined to prove that she can outplay the boys - including her evil ex-boyfriend.
So it's Soul Man meets Shakespeare in Love meets Ladybugs. In other words, She's the Man breaks no new ground. It's a high-concept, formula-based vehicle for Bynes - who we'll keep seeing on the big screen. Yet, it still works.
It helps that most of the characters and the actors who play them - especially Bynes and her love interest, Duke (who looks like he's 26) - are likeable and fun to watch. It helps that the music peppered throughout the movie - while non-descript - isn't unbearable. And it helps that the story isn't overloaded with hokey perilous situations, manipulating us into worrying too much about the characters or what happens to them. We know everything will work out OK. And then it does.
While most of the humor here is sophomoric, the overall point the movie makes about girls being able to accomplish what they want is a good one for teens. It also offers a great message about how boys and girls should look past their assumptions and stereotypes of the opposite sex and see everybody as an individual.