Once upon a time, Amanda Bynes made a movie called Sydney White that so lazily transplanted Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs to a college setting that it made one pine for a poison apple—and not, per the film’s opportunistic product placement, an email virus-poisoned Apple laptop. As broad as the Atlantic ocean, Joe Nussbaum’s tweener-geared fable finds Bynes once again in tomboy-yet-sexy mode, which is to say her Sydney is a thoroughly laughable creation who turns heads and drops jaws with her perky good looks, and is also a football and comic-book fan who—thanks to being raised by her plumber father (John Schneider)—longs for a super-deluxe hammer. A letter written by her dearly departed mother reminds Sydney to “live every moment,” but following that advice proves difficult once she arrives at school and attempts to pledge her mother’s sorority, a haven for bitchy Stepford Wives-in-training led by the campus’s resident evil queen, Rachel Witchford (Sara Paxton). Rachel prizes conformity and superficial beauty, and is consumed by a MySpace “Hot or Not” poll in which she’s ranked number one, and thus Sydney’s attempts to bring breakfast back to the starved sorority girls—as well as her unexpected climb up the Internet popularity charts—naturally leads to social humiliation at the hands of Rachel. Once publicly embarrassed, Sydney moves in with seven dorks in a ramshackle building Rachel wants to raze so she can build an elitist Greek center, all while dating a Prince Charming (Matt Long) whose suitability is confirmed by his affinity for video games. “We’re all dorks!” is Sydney White‘s big, dumb rallying cry for tolerance between the campus’s various subcultures (Hasidic Jews, Pacific Islanders, Goths), all of whom gather during the climatic Sydney-Rachel debate in a show of stereotype solidarity. An early scene in which a frat meathead growls from a balcony about the geeks congregating below makes plain the film’s status as a storybook-flavored update of Revenge of the Nerds, but I’ve seen that ‘80s classic, and Bynes—cute as she may be—is no Booger.
- Universal Pictures
- 90 min
- Joe Nussbaum
- Chad Creasey
- Amanda Bynes, Sara Paxton, Matt Long, Jack Carpenter, Jeremy Howard, Crystal Hunt, Adam Hendershott, Danny Strong, Samm Levine
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