Thursday, September 27, 2007

Sydney White and the 7 Dorks

Hi-ho, hi-ho it’s off to mediocrity we go. Sydney White falls far short of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in its attempt to tell a modern version of the fairy tale. Is it cute? Yes, in fact it’s just so damn precious it gives The Care Bears a run for their money.

Amanda Bynes stars as tomboyish Sydney White. Sydney embarks on a new adventure to attend the college where her parents met and pledge the sorority her mother loved so dearly.

Raised by her father (John Schneider) on his various construction sites, after her mother’s death, Sydney is far from the ideal candidate the Kappa president Rachel Witchburn (Sara Paxton) wants in her house. It also doesn’t help that Rachel’s ex (Matt Long), the kindest and sweetest frat guy ever imagined on film, or anywhere else, falls for Sydney’s charms in record time.

When Sydney is denied membership in the sorority she moves into “the Vortex,” a rundown house on the end of campus row which houses the campus rejects, the seven dorks (Jack Carpenter, Jeremy Howard, Arnie Pantoja, Samm Levine, Danny Strong, Adam Hendershott, Donte Bonner). Sydney bands her new friends together to take on Rachel and the Kappa’s and take back the power of the school from the Greeks.

You can guess where the film goes from here. Sydney learns to be herself, discovers her voice and purpose, and finds true friends and the love she has always wanted. It’s so sweet you will retch. Nor is the film that smart or subtle - naming a character “Witchburn,” come on! To quote Buffy Summers, “All right, I get it. You’re evil!” Other major failings include an awkward scene shot in front of what I can only assume was a borrowed junior high school drama set, complete with an obvious mat painting which is supposed to be the campus at sundown but won’t fool anyone over the age of two months, a lack of any real funny moments or surprises, and a script that tries only hard enough to put its characters and the audience through the motions before tacking on the obligatory happy ending.

A final note on Ms. Bynes. I liked her in Hairspray as the dorky friend. She has a nice quality of cuteness and quirkiness which works for her in small supporting roles. As the main character in the film however you need a little more than just being cute, of course it doesn’t help with what she has to work with in this script. And who decided to give her such an awful tan before the film? When I first saw her on screen I thought there was a problem with the projector. And how come no one who meets her, neither her friends or enemies, comments on it?

Sydney White might be an okay video rental for young girls under 8 years-old. As a theatrical experience however it falls far short. The only people who live happily ever after here are those who pocketed some quick cash for making the film.

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