She's the Man
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that as Viola pretends to be a boy, some situations arise where her male roommate's evolving affection for her borders on homoerotic. There are some sexual references (references to genitals) and mild language. There is some crass humor (one involves tampons) and some borderline jokes (divorced mom considers dating daughter's boyfriend).
What's the story?
Based on Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, SHE'S THE MAN centers on Viola, who hits a major road bump when she learns her high school girls' soccer team has been cut for lack of funding. When she asks to try out for the boys' team, the coach tells her flat out, "Girls can't be boys." With no support from her boyfriend, Justin (Robert Hoffman) or her mom (Julie Hagerty), Viola finds a way to takes her brother's place at his new high school, Ilysia. Outfitted with a short wig and briefly trained on how to be a boy, Viola-as-Sebastian rooms with Duke (Channing Tatum) and makes the soccer team. Viola soon develops a crush on Duke, who likes their classmate Olivia (Laura Ramsey), who in turn develops an interest in Viola-as-Sebastian. As the romantic confusion escalates, so do Viola's frantic efforts to maintain her masquerade. In a frenzied climax at a Carnival festival, quick-change-artist Viola attends as herself (flirting with Duke) and Sebastian (advising Duke as he pursues Olivia). All the while, Viola-as-Sebastian avoids taking showers with her teammates, finagles her way out of a hazing ritual, and proves her worth on the soccer field.
Is it any good?
Cute, crass, and happily unbelievable, SHE'S THE MAN is buoyed by Amanda Bynes' vivacious performance as a girl who pretends to be a boy. Increasingly unwieldy as the plot threads must be sorted out, the film relies heavily on the delightful Bynes (when she's not on screen for a few minutes, the energy sags considerably). Once Viola absorbs her boy-lessons, she finds it hard to be a girl, in scenes that go overboard: She gnaws at her food, straddles her chair, fights with fellow debutantes in the ladies' room. Eventually, she learns to be "herself."
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about gender roles and the limits of gender-based expectations. How are girls and boys trained to behave in specific ways? How does Viola come to see that lying to her mother, new friends, and eventual boyfriend is not the best way to make her point about gender equality? Families could also check out Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, upon which this movie is loosely based.