Mark Reviews Movies


1 ½ Stars (out of 4)

Director: Joe Nussbaum

Cast: Amanda Bynes, Sara Paxton, Matt Long, Jack Carpenter, Jeremy Howard, Crystal Hunt, Adam Hendershott, Danny Strong, Samm Levine, Arnie Pantoja, Donté Bonner, John Schneider

MPAA Rating:   (for some language, sexual humor and partying)

Running Time: 1:48

Release Date: 9/21/07

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Capsule review by Mark Dujsik

Lacking the simplicity of its fairy tale source material, Sydney White is the story of Snow White in overdrive, but for all its attempts at modernizing the story, the movie is overly cluttered with formulaic plot complications that push even the boundaries of its source and a story that drags. It takes 45 minutes before the script even gets to the inciting incident. That's 45 minutes of annoying, clichéd social stereotypes, all-too familiar exposition of the even more familiar plot that's to follow, and pushed callbacks to the fairy tale before the movie spends another hour doing the same thing. Sydney White (Amanda Bynes) has just gotten into her deceased mother's alma mater and is preparing to join the same sorority. The sorority's president Rachel Witchburn (Sara Paxton) doesn't take too kindly to Sydney, because her ex-boyfriend Tyler Prince (Matt Long, and no, I am not making these names up) has taken a liking to the new girl. Things go badly at initiation, and Sydney is left to take up housing with a group of seven dorks. The sorority girls are annoying, a point the movie makes so many times, it becomes equally annoying. The nerds are equally extreme stereotypes (one talks with a puppet, one writes a blog, one has had jet lag for three years, and they all play video games, recreate their favorite role-playing battles, and marvel at the presence of a sports bra in their abode), but they are admittedly endearing. There's a plan to tear down their living quarters to make room for a Greek life center, and Sydney organizes the nerds to take down the oppressive Greek-oriented regime that is the student council. Wait, isn't that Revenge of the Nerds? Anyway, the mirror on the wall is a "hot or not" website for the school, the poisoned apple is a poisoned Apple, and the only genuinely clever, unaffected reference to the old story is the appearance of the phrase "Heigh-Ho," which turns into a greeting. There are lots of montages as Sydney learns and disdains the sorority life and teaches the dorks how to embrace their dork-ness. The whole thing is, well, just kind of lame, and it even ends with an "I'm Spartacus" climactic scene. By the by, during that scene it's probably best to recall the vulgar meaning of the term "dork," just to have a chuckle or two apart of the many at the expense of the movie.

Copyright © 2007 by Mark Dujsik. All rights reserved.

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