SHE'S THE MAN
Is it just me, or does this soccer game have more nudity than most?
As far as teen comedies go, SHE'S THE MAN ($30) is one of the better recent offerings, even if the premise isn’t exactly original. If one has followed teen comedies for the last two decades, SHE'S THE MAN will certainly remind one of a little film called JUST ONE OF THE GUYS, which also featured the same premise of a high school girl pretending to be a boy to pursue her own extracurricular interests. However, SHE'S THE MAN seems to have a more aristocratic pedigree than the 1980’s era teen comedy, since SHE'S THE MAN is loosely adapted from William Shakespeare’s TWELFTH NIGHT. Also on the plus side for this teen opus is the fact that SHE'S THE MAN features the perky and adorable Amanda Bynes in the film’s gender-bending role.
The plot of SHE'S THE MAN follows the misadventures of a female soccer player named Viola (Amanda Bynes), who wants to prove herself good enough to play for the boy’s team, when budget cutbacks at her high school leaves the girl’s team benched for the season. Viola’s convoluted plan to secure herself a place on the boy’s team involves her pretending to be her own twin brother Sebastian (James Kirk), who is ditching the first two weeks of school at the private academy that he is scheduled to attend. Since Sebastian will be a new student at the school, Viola expects to easily masquerade her way on to the boy’s team, which will give her the opportunity to kick the butts of the team back at her own school. Of course, complications arise when Viola (in the guise of her brother) finds herself attracted to a teammate named Duke (Channing Tatum), while at the same time said "Sebastian" attracts the amorous attentions of a teen hottie named Olivia (Laura Ramsey). The cast of SHE'S THE MAN also features Robert Hoffman, Jonathan Sadowski, Alex Breckenridge, Julie Hagerty, Vinnie Jones, David Cross, Amanda Crew, Jessica Lucas, Brandon Jay McLaren, Clifton MaCabe Murray and James Snyder.
Dreamworks Home Entertainment has made SHE'S THE MAN available on DVD in a 1.85:1 widescreen presentation that has been enhanced for playback on 16:9 displays. This is a great looking transfer, which produces a uniformly crisp and nicely defined image. Colors are vibrant and the hues are rendered without flaws. Blacks are pure, whites are completely stable and the picture has smooth contrast. Additionally, shadow detail is just fine for this type of material. The film elements appear virtually pristine and appreciable grain is relatively mild. Okay, sure, SHE'S THE MAN isn’t something one is likely to pop in their player as a demo disc, but it always looks great. Digital compression artifacts are a non-issue.
SHE'S THE MAN comes with a Dolby Digital 5.1 channel soundtrack, which features a fairly standard comedy mix. As expected, most of the sound is localized to the forward soundstage, while the surrounds provide general ambience and musical fill. There are some moments where the outlying channels snap to life, but it’s never particularly showy. Fidelity is strong, with the track creating a good musical presence throughout. The bass channel keeps the sound from becoming anemic, but then again, the material doesn’t lend itself to anything more significant. Voices have a natural quality, plus the film’s dialogue is always easy to understandable. A French 5.1 channel, plus English and Spanish surround tracks have also encoded onto the DVD, as have English subtitles.
Animation and sound serve to enhance the DVD's interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to standard scene selection and set up features, as well as a nice complement of supplements. SHE'S THE MAN comes with two separate running audio commentaries, the first features director Andy Fickman, co-writer/producer Ewan Leslie, plus actors Amanda Bynes, Channing Tatum, Laura Ramsey, Robert Hoffman and Alex Breckenridge, while the second includes Ewan Leslie and producer Lauren Shuler Donner. Next up, we have a Pop-Up Trivia Track that nicely supplements the production information provided in the commentaries. Making The Man is a fifteen-minute behind-the-scenes featurette that mixes fluffy interviews with some interesting bits. The Troupe runs eight minutes and places its fluffy focus on the actors. Inspired By Shakespeare’s… is a four-minute piece that looks at the portions of the plot lifted from the immortal bard. Eleven minutes of Deleted Scenes are offered with optional commentary. A Gag Reel, Music Video for Dave Lichens Let Go, plus a Cast Photo Album and Bonus Trailers close out the supplements.
As far as teen comedies go, SHE'S THE MAN is amusing good fun that wont rot your brain. Dreamworks’ widescreen DVD edition of the film looks great and sounds just fine, moving it to the head of the teen comedy class.
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