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Movie Review

Sydney White a.k.a. “Sydney White and the Seven Dorks”

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for some language, sexual humor and partying

Reviewed by: Jeanne Sockwell McRorey
CONTRIBUTOR

Better than Average
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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Tweens
Genre:
Comedy
Length:
1 hr. 40 min.
Year of Release:
2007
USA Release:
September 21, 2007
Copyright, Universal Pictures
Copyright, Universal Pictures
Copyright, Universal Pictures
Copyright, Universal Pictures
Copyright, Universal Pictures
Copyright, Universal Pictures
Copyright, Universal Pictures
Copyright, Universal Pictures
Copyright, Universal Pictures
Copyright, Universal Pictures
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Copyright, Universal Pictures
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Featuring: Amanda Bynes, Matthew Long, Sara Paxton, Jeremy Howard, Crystal Hunt
Director: Joe Nussbaum
Producer: Guy McElwaine, Clifford Werber, James G. Robinson
Distributor: Universal Pictures

“Freshman year is no fairytale.”

Quick—Name all 7 of the Dwarfs in the Walt Disney movie “Snow White and the 7 Dwarfs”! Half the fun of this movie is matching each cast member to the original Snow White characters. The other half is dedicated to the real plot of the story: Good vs. Evil.

In this 2007 version, the dwarfs are all dorks with various degrees of eccentricities, living in the same “frat house” called the Vortex. The charming Snow White is Sydney White (Amanda Bynes of “Hairspray” and “She’s the Man”), only daughter of a widowed plumbing contractor (John Schneider—Jonathan Kent in TV’s “Smallville”/Bo Duke in “Dukes of Hazzard”).

Tomboy Sydney was raised in the plumbing business and is quite a little handy-person. The story opens with all of “the guys” giving their coworker Sydney a good-bye present for the start of her college career. The college, however, has a lot for Sydney to live up to: it is the same college and the same sorority her Mother had been pledged to. Sydney ends up living in a dilapidated frat house with seven eccentric guys and keeps this movie rating a PG-13 (for some language, sexual humor and partying) It has good direction, a decent (and I mean decent) script and a group of cast mates that are all outstanding.

The storyline is the same—we have the prince to meet, evil “sisters,” and even a computer is a “character”—do you know which one?—but switch to modern-day colleges with the struggles of trying to fit in with new people, new experiences—but the same you. Then, you discover these new people are just like you—they’re trying to fit in, too!

Sometimes it takes only one person to change something that needed changing.

Clothes seemed to get skimpier as the movie progressed. Sydney starts out in t-shirts and jeans and the tank tops she later wears (because everybody else wears them) seem to show more cleavage than necessary. Nothing vulgar.

I could have done without the boys bathroom pee scene. But, nothing vulgar or distasteful here either. Our “Bashful” character is so shy he converses through a dog hand puppet. Asked if she has a problem with that and Sydney replies “As long as he doesn’t try to hump my bunny slippers.” Most tweens won’t probably even catch on to that phrase, but it’d be sad if little Janie asks Grandma to tell her what “hump my bunny slippers” means.

If you’re offended by the term “boobs,” you won’t care for the scene where all of Sydney’s house mates are in the bathroom looking in awe at her sports bra hanging to dry. One says “That thing has felt boobs!”

The Vortex is referred to as the crap hole once.

And, “Damn It” was said once. I do not believe I heard one “Oh My God!”, even.

It seems all ages of kids love to use the word “fart.” In one scene, a sorority sister is trying to keep Rachel out of her room: “You can’t go in there—I just farted!” (Didn’t keep Rachel out.)

One semi-naked scene of all 7 boys. “Semi” because you could only see from the belly-button up. But, you KNEW they were naked because they stripped off their clothing heading for the hot tub at a party. The plan was to get them out there under false pretense (the Kappa girls), turn the lights on and “expose” the boys!

Professor Carleton (Brian Patrick Clarke—lots of tv series exposure: “Baywatch”, “Touched by an Angel”, “ER”) plays an inspirational character that gives his students the idea to “think outside the box” where your connection to the human race is concerned. Here is where just about every problematic theme on the human race is covered: The Jewish People, the Gothic stylists with all the black, ethnic race (Polynesian hula dancers in native dance costume), and even people concerned with gender identity is included.

My opinion of “Sydney White”: Go see it. Take the tweeners or your best pal. It is a cute movie that DOES have a message: the message of Jesus Christ to love one another. We only have one life on this Earth, so be firm in what you believe and see it to the end. A line in the movie near the end: “Step out of your little world to meet others trying to fit in.”

Violence: None / Profanity: Minor / Sex/Nudity: Minor

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.


Viewer Comments
Comments below:
Positive
Positive—This movie was a delight. The underlying premise that a child should not be asked to relive their parents’ lives was well delivered. Stereotypes abounded but with great fun, nothing in a mean spirit. My 16 yr old daughter and the other girls in the theater laughed out loud, as did I. And we all cringed at those embarrassingly funny situations that arise between awkward boys and cute girls.
My Ratings: Good / 4
—Bill Walters, age 58
Positive—This movie was overall pretty good with a cute story and a very “Cinderella” feel to it. I watched it with my daughter, and there is only one thing that is really bad. Otherwise, it is fine with very little language. This movie is more for the tweens or teens.
My Ratings: Good / 4
—Jane, age 41
Positive—A cute comedy, the underlying message is: “what’s inside counts more than outer appearances.” The beautiful heroine of the movie shows guilt for treating an “outcast” inconsiderately. However, she repents after being outcast herself, and uses her gifts of charisma, and loveable personality to show a whole college that everyone is deserving of respect, no matter what they do or look like. It’s a story of parental love and acceptance, forgiveness, and the discovery of inner beauty. Just as Christ mingled with the social outcasts and gave them dignity, Sydney White does some of the same! A refreshing message especially for teens.
My Ratings: Better than Average / 4
—Sandra K., age 47
Negative
Negative—This is one of THEEEE *stupidest* movies I’ve ever seen in my entire life! Couldn’t believe Amanda Bynes and John Schneider would lower themselves to such!! A waste of good brain power, I’ll tell you that! My friend and I sat there and actually snickered the whole time—not at the movie, but at the fact that we were subjecting ourselves to sit thru’ it. AAAARGH!!!…
My Ratings: Average / 1½
—Reva, age 48
Comments from young people
Positive—I thought it was a great movie. My mom and I went to see it so we could have some time together, and I thought it was really good! It kept me laughing practically the whole time! I would highly recommend it!
My Ratings: Better than Average / 5
—Ashley, age 14
Positive—This was a highly entertaining film!!! I completely enjoyed it!! The subtle comparison to the fairy tale was quite amusing!! I do agree though, some words/scenes were inappropriate, and it did deserve its PG-13 rating, but, overall, it is a happy feely-good movie.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Heather, age 14 (Italy)
Positive—“Sydney White” is an adorable and fresh film. The modern-day “Cinderella” movies have been used soo many times, that this was kinda nice. Nobody has ever done a modern-day Snow White before. Morality-wise, it is a pretty clean movie. The language is pretty light compared to most movies today… one thing the reviewer didn’t mention is when Rachel Witchburn is waking up the sorority pledges at midnight and shouts, “Welcome to Hell, skanks”… I don’t believe I heard an “Oh my God” either… The attire worn by the girls in the movie are not terrible, but it’s not the most modest either. Small little “budi-shorts” are worn by the girls, and a brief scene with Rachel and her two “sisters” are sun-bathing in bikinis… some of the formal dresses are low-cut. One of the dorks is very sexually-obsessed, which was a bit unneeded. I don’t even know which “dwarf” he is suppose to be. (I don’t remember a sex-fanatic dwarf in the classic Snow White).

Overall, I do recommend this movie. I find it on a borderline between Average and Better-than-average. I decided to go with Average, considering some of the content. But it is very tasteful and hilarious. I would watch it again (and in fact am going to watch it with my mom tonight).
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Alexxus, age 13 (USA)
Movie Critics
…tween girls could do a lot worse than this sweet, well-meaning fairy tale…
—Katey Rich, Film Journal International
…How hard could it be to make a clever parody of Snow White? Very hard, apparently. …
—Peter Howell, Toronto Star
…Happy premise, dopey script… culminating in a big campus election between Sydney, espousing Clintonian diversity, and Rachel, the Republican defender of the status quo…
—Liam Lacey, The Globe and Mail
…a carnival of ethnic and social stereotypes that are rising up against the lily-white status quo…
—Jan Stuart, Newsday
…Modern fairy tale has only a tiny bit of magic…
—Roger Moore, The Orlando Sentinel