Sydney White

Movie Review #842: Amanda Bynes’s charisma drives Sydney White forward through its clichés and stereotypes.

★★★
By Red Stewart

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Comedy, Romance
Rated PG-13 (contains alcohol use, profanity, suggestive dialogue)
108 minutes

I always love it when older literature is modernized in the film industry as it allows us to revisit many classics with a new spin! This isn’t always successful of course (“Romeo + Juliet”), but for the most part the new results are fun to watch.

Such is the case with Sydney White which, if you couldn’t tell, adapts the Snow White story to the college setting. Our eponymous protagonist (Amanda Bynes) is cast out of her favorite sorority by the evil Rachel Witchburn, and is rescued from her depressive state by seven dorks. After recovering, she vows to fight back against Rachel, all the while falling for the local hottie Tyler Prince.

Ever since “Fast Times at Ridgemont High”, there have been a set of clichés and stereotypes every school comedy needs to follow in order to be classified under the genre, like nerds never getting laid and rich white girls being bitches. The trick to not making it seem old is to go through them all with a fresh amount of energy, and in that regard Bynes is perfect in the lead role. She has this charisma and liveliness to her that adds so much excitement to most of her movies, and “Sydney White” is no exception. The comedy seems to come naturally no matter which character she’s dealing with, and she can switch to a serious attitude in the blink of an eye.

The rest of the cast is so-so. While I’m sure they’re talented and probably exceeded in other films, they’re limited to playing formulaic characters here so there’s not much range or depth I can praise.

There is an underlying drama to “Sydney White”, but it’s the typical rising/falling action we’ve come to expect from these teen movies. Still, if “Snow White and the Huntsman” and “Mirror Mirror” just haven’t done it for you regarding alternate takes on the Snow White story, then I recommend Sydney White.

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