Sydney White
August 29, 2007

Just got back from a sneak preview of a fun new movie I think a lot of my readers will enjoy: Sydney White. It’s a loose retelling of Snow White, only the dwarfs are now seven dorks, and the heroine is played by Amanda Bynes as a construction-working comic geek. Who starts out as a sorority girl … but as always, the actress pulls it all off with good humor.

Sydney White poster

She’s off to college, trying to live up to her mother’s legacy, but she soon finds that the princess who runs the local sorority doesn’t much care for her unpretentious ways and acceptance of outsiders. Think Mean Girls mixed with Revenge of the Nerds with a house out of PCU.

The movie isn’t subtle — the frat boy love interest is named Tyler Prince, for example — but it’s entertaining. And some of it is only obvious afterwards, as when it took me fifteen minutes to get the literal poisoned apple (although I was pretty tired tonight). I thought translating the Magic Mirror showing the most beautiful into a Hot or Not #1 website ranking was a nifty idea.

Prince is played by Matt Long (who according to IMDB also played “Young Johnny Blaze” in Ghost Rider). He’s very cute, and I like the way he’s fascinated first by Bynes’ tomboyishness. Another vague comic connection: John Schneider does a great job playing the dad. I’d like to have seen more of him, actually.

I thought it was cool that half her going-off-to-college luggage was a suitcase full of comics. (The only ones we recognized were Usagi Yojimbo and Rex Mundi, so obviously a Dark Horse girl.) Many of you will either identify with or want to meet a together chick like that. And she’s never made fun of for it.

When we first see the group of dorks, they’re arguing over whether pirates or ninjas are better, something else many of you will identify with. One of my favorites was played by Danny Strong (Jonathan on Buffy, although I liked him better as Doyle on Gilmore Girls) as a Grumpy blogger. (Sadly, his website URL doesn’t really exist; promotional opportunity missed there.)

Bynes does a terrific job. Her expressions really sell the sometimes familiar material, and she’s always a pleasure to watch. As we meet the misfits she becomes friends with, KC and I kept whispering to each other how they matched up. Sleepy was the easiest. Bashful was obviously the kid who only talked through a puppet. (We love puppets!)

At first we thought the hypochondriac was Doc, but then we realized he was Sneezy. Dopey was the puppy-like boy scout, so Happy must be the sex-obsessed one played by Samm Levine (Freaks and Geeks). I guess there’s a joke in there about self-pleasure making one happy. There’s even a reshoot of the famous “dwarfs go off to work with their tools slung over their shoulders” sequence that has the best reworking of “Hi ho”.

We did think that the evil witch girl should have gotten more of a comeuppance, but I think her ultimate downfall (come on, you knew it was going to happen) will be more painful to her in the long run than a more obvious humiliation.

How can you not like a college film where the big inspirational “come on, we can pull together and do this” speech revolves around taking a lesson from when the Avengers fought the Black Knight who’d trapped a city in foam glue?

Sydney White opens in wide release September 21. It’s rated PG-13 for “some language, sexual humor, and partying”. Since when is that last one something that has to be noted? I’m surprised, since I didn’t notice much objectionable. We had a great time seeing it.

10 Responses  
James Schee writes:  

I saw commercial for this the other day and it lookd fun. It didn’t even have any comic book references, but that’ll be an interesting side bonus. Sounds like a fun date movie.

David Oakes writes:  

“How can you not like a college film where the big inspirational “come on, we can pull together and do this” speech revolves around taking a lesson from when the Avengers fought the Black Knight who’d trapped a city in foam glue?”

Some days that’s the only way I can get out of bed in the morning.

Tommy writes:  

I have a celebrity crush on Bynes (and honestly, I think my wife does too) so I was already looking forward to this but knowing that its chock full of nerd bait is just awesome. Thanks Johanna, this was a fun review.

Johanna writes:  

James: It was. KC and I had a nice dinner and a movie out.

Tommy: “celebrity crush” — that’s a cool way to put it. That’s what I have too. Amanda’s so cute!

Laura writes:  

I just saw this movie and it was great. As a nerd myself I got a lot of the jokes (not all of them as I’m primarily a Lord of the Rings/Harry Potter dork). I definitely want to see this movie again.

Johanna writes:  

Glad you enjoyed it! I’m hoping for a nice DVD package in a few months myself for re-watching.

jacky writes:  

“Viola, One Poisoned Apple” (MAC) was hilarious…

Alexis writes:  

this is my all-time fave movie! i love it!!!

Emily writes:  

I thought this movie was very good and
well planned. I know that it has some theatrical moments but, out of the whole
thing it could be a good pre-teen movie.
This is my favorite movie I have seen in
probably 2 years.

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