Just so everyone is on the same page: "She's the Man" is a modern-day reworking of William Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night," tweaked in order to allow TV goofball Amanda Bynes to play the cross-dressing Viola -- who, in this version, bends genders to pose as her brother Sebastian in order to get her big break on the boys' soccer team of rival prep school Illyria in the big game against her own alma mater of Cornwall. Love ensues, along with much confusion as to who loves whom, and who's got what under whose trousers.
Hey, whatever. Updating the Bard for high school worked wonders for Heath Ledger and Julia Stiles in "Ten Things I Hate About You" which brought "The Taming of the Shrew," kicking and screaming, into modern dress -- and "She's the Man," while not quite as tightly conceived as its predecessor, does a fine job of making contemporary merriment out of a classical rom-com.
If Bynes never quite manages to pass as a boy -- she never gets the physicality right, and her imitation of jock talk sounds like a speech impediment -- we get the feeling that she knows it perfectly well, and her constant eye-popping astonishment that everyone around her keeps buying the ruse becomes its own giddy running gag.
Director Andy Fickman is also smart enough to surround Bynes with a cast of bright young faces: Laura Ramsey as Olivia, who lusts after
Viola-as-Sebastian; Channing Tatum as Duke, who lusts after Olivia while Viola-as-Sebastian lusts after him, and Emily Perkins as Eunice, who lusts after anyone in her line of sight. And it certainly doesn't hurt that the adult cast includes David Cross, Julie Hagerty and Vinnie Jones, who seem to have written most of their own dialogue.
The ring-tone gag, though? That's so totally Shakespeare.
DreamWorks' enhanced-widescreen DVD -- the first to be manufactured and distributed by Paramount Home Entertainment -- supports the feature with a slew of extras, some of which even have some substance to 'em.
There are two audio commentaries, both of which feature co-writer Ewan Leslie; on one, he's paired with producer Lauren Shuler-Donner, and on another, he shares audio space with chirpy star Bynes, director Andy Fickman, and supporting players Channing Tatum, Laura Ramsey, Robert Hoffman and Alex Breckenridge. (You might want to watch that one with the on-screen factoid track, "Shakespeare, Soccer and Such," just so you get a more rounded picture of the production.)
The disc also includes three production featurettes totalling just under 30 minutes of making-of material (the one that looks at the modernization of Shakespeare is particularly clever) and nine deleted scenes viewable with optional commentary from Fickman, Bynes and Leslie. The package is rounded out with a gag reel, a photo gallery, and a music video for Dave Lichens' soundtrack single "Let Go."
STUDIO: DreamWorks Home Entertainment
RELEASE DATE: July 18th
TIME: 105 minutes
DVD EXTRAS:French and Spanish audio dub; English subtitles; audio
commentary; trivia track; deleted scenes; production featurette; music
video; still gallery.
'She's the Man'
Robert Hoffman and Amanda Bynes in 'She's the Man'