I’m just going to start off by saying that this is not the kind of movie that I would pick to watch on my own time. It was my wife’s night to pick which movie we were going to watch, and she had several from which to choose from; but when she saw that I had recently purchased “Sydney White” for her from our local video store she opted to watch it over all the other contenders. Personally, I had no opinion either way about this movie; I hadn’t heard whether it was good, bad, etc.; so, I was pretty much open to whatever the movie had to offer, I just hoped it was at least a decent movie watching experience.
“Sydney White” is the story of a young woman (Amanda Bynes) who is in her first year of college, and well, things aren’t going as smoothly as she’d planned. After trying to get into an extremely popular sorority, she has found herself ostracized by those she had tried to fit in with and is now living with seven undeniably awkward and socially inept guys in a frat house that resembles more of an old-time, rundown home than your standard college campus fare usually does. As Sydney begins to evaluate her life, which has grown somewhat more complicated due to a burgeoning romance with a modern day prince (in her eyes) named Tyler (Matt Long), and her position on the social ladder of her school, she decides to take a chance and stand up for the outcasts and show the upper echelon of the college hierarchy that being popular isn’t always about doing what is conventional or normal.
This movie, as you may have guessed already, is a modern day re-telling of the classic tale Snow White and the Seven Dwarves mixed with your typical coming-of-age comedy. Just like other comedies of this sub-genre, “Sydney White” is pretty standard stuff, without a whole lot of new ground being covered, so it’s pretty easy to be able to predict exactly what’s going to happen next and just how the story will most likely end. One difference that “Sydney White” does have from all the other entries in this grouping is the fact that it does mix in the fairy tale element of Snow White to shake the standard proceedings up just a bit. Granted you still know (or at least can make a really good educated guess) how the movie’s going to end up, but with the references to the classic tale (both subtle and obvious) the movie manages to be elevated above its merely average status, which is quite rare for this genre.
Amanda Bynes (“She’s the Man”) continues her streak of semi-offbeat comedies that manage to entertain her target audience without resorting to the crude jokes or sexual humor that tends to seep into every aspect of this genre. Amanda does another good job here, essentially playing the same character, or one very similar, to the sweet, funny, and sometimes awkward character she played in “She’s the Man”; except this time she doesn’t have to dress up like a guy for half the movie. Matt Long as her love interest Tyler Prince (hmmm, I wonder which character from the fairy tale he could be) does a good job as your standard run-of-the-mill cool guy who has the quintessential heart of gold. In this movie, Matt is given an opportunity to show that he is a fairly well-rounded actor by trying his hand at comedy after his semi-dramatic (possibly over-dramatic at times) turn in the early portions of 2007’s “Ghost Rider”. Sara Paxton, who I vaguely remember from the oh-so forgettable spoof “Superhero Movie” is adequate as the modern day queen, but she proceeds to go to no effort at all to hide the fact that she is up to no good from the moment she first appears in the movie; the least she could have done was make us try to work for the relation to the fairy tale, not just beat us over the head with the obviousness. Regarding the cast members that portrayed the seven dorks (in this case), it was nice that the guys weren’t always in your face with which one they were portraying; and in a few instances I actually had a hard time deciding who certain ones were supposed to be. Although, I bet if I would have been able to remember the various names of the dwarves in Disney’s version of the story, I wouldn’t have been as hard-pressed to figure out who was who. Lastly, it was nice to see veteran actor John Schneider playing the loving father (a role he perfected on TV’s “Smallville”) to Amanda Bynes’ character. John doesn’t appear a whole lot in the movie, but he manages to make the most out of what little he is given, and his appearances are most welcome when they occur, as they are essentially the only real dramatic aspects of the story.
Containing a decent amount of humor, some heart-warming moments, and neat references to the fairy tale on which the story is based, “Sydney White” is one of the few worthwhile efforts to come out of the sub-genre of coming-of-age comedies in the teen comedy category in quite some time. So, I would have to say that “Sydney White” is a movie that is at least worth watching once.
“Sydney White” is rated PG-13 for language and sexual references.