Film / She's the Man

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"Duke wants Olivia who likes Sebastian who is really Viola whose brother is dating Monique so she hates Olivia who's with Duke to make Sebastian jealous who is really Viola who's crushing on Duke who thinks she's a guy..."
— Tagline for the movie

She's the Man is a 2006 teenaged Romantic Comedy starring Amanda Bynes (The Amanda Show) and Channing Tatum which is loosely based on Shakespeare's Twelfth Night.

Tomboy Viola (Bynes) is intensely into soccer, so much that when her school, Cornwall, cancels the girl's soccer team and refuses to let her play on the boy's soccer team she hatches a plan to show them and her Jerkass ex-boyfriend that a girl can play just as well as a boy. Viola has a twin brother, Sebastian (James Kirk, no, not that one), and this brother has decided to run off to London for two weeks to play with his rock band just before he is to start at Corwall's rival school, Illyria. The twins decide to help each other and solve the other's problem at the same time.

With the help of her sharp-dressing hairdresser pal Paul, Viola becomes Sebastian!Viola, enters Illyria, and voilà!. It's not a perfect disguise, but no one at the new school has met Sebastian (so they don't know the difference), and their parents are clueless because they're divorced and Illyria is a boarding school. Viola and Sebastian simply tell each that they are staying with the other, Her roommate is Duke (Tatum), the eventual Love Interest, but Sebastian!Viola has problems at first because of Sebastian's permanent record (he's a troublemaker) and because Viola is still a girl under her disguise. With a bit of help from her hairdresser friend, Sebastian!Viola is accepted into Duke's group of friends but is still second string for the boys soccer team.

Enter Olivia who becomes Sebastian!Viola's lab partner, though Duke has a massive crush on her. Duke, who has issues talking to girls, tells Sebastian!Viola this and asks for her his her help. And so begins the Love Dodecahedron as described in the poster.

The film contains examples of:

  • Adapted Out: The subplot involving making "Malvolio" appear to be insane doesn't exist in this adaptation.
  • All Love Is Unrequited: Viola loves Duke, who loves Olivia, who loves Sebastian, who is actually Viola. Eventually they get it all sorted out happily.
  • Ambiguously Gay: On the one hand, Viola's friend Paul is, well, a hairdresser with Always Camp tastes and considerable talent for teaching her how to look and act like a sharp-dressed hunky guy. (The kind he'd like to date, perhaps?) On the other hand, he rarely appears in public without a couple of beautiful and intelligent gals as his arm candy, and they seem to be more than just friends with him. Camp Straight, or maybe bisexual? Your call.
  • Bathroom Stall of Overheard Insults: Monique in the bathroom stall while Viola and Olivia are talking. A massive no-holds-barred Cat Fight ensues, albeit one without any male witnesses (other than maybe in the audience outside the fourth wall, that is).
  • "Billy Elliot" Plot: The basic plot revolves around the fact Viola isn't taken seriously as a female footballer.
  • Brick Joke: "Do you like cheese? My favorite's Gouda."
    • Viola tries to cover up the discovery of her tampons by pretending she uses them for nosebleeds. Later after Duke gets into a fight, she returns back to their room only to find him with a tampon up his nose.
  • Butt-Monkey: Malcolm, who plays the character of Malvolio in the original.
  • Chewing the Scenery: Amanda Bynes bites into the scenery and doesn't let it go when she's playing Sebastian. (In a behind-the-scenes interview, she states that her peformance as Sebastian is based on Jack Black.)
  • Compressed Hair: Viola's long, thick hair somehow fits underneath a fairly short wig. While any cosplayer can tell you it's possible with a wig cap and hair grips, Viola's shown to wear the wig directly on top of her hair.
  • Covers Always Lie: Tomboy Viola doesn't like dresses and high heel shoes, and in the movie she exclusively wears pants/shorts and sneakers even when she's dressed as herself and not Sebastian!Viola. The only few times she wears a dress is because her mother forces her to. Yet on the cover she's wearing a very short skirt and high heels.
  • Embarrassing Ringtone: Olivia has Aqua's Barbie Girl for her ringtone. This causes some problems when she's impersonating her brother Sebastian and she forgets to change it.
  • Everyone Loves Blondes: Olivia Lennox has Duke and Malcolm chasing her and the rest of the guys admiring her but she would rather have the honest Sebastian.
  • Exact Words: After Viola switches with her brother in the game, she convinces her coach to give her a second chance by saying "I've changed."
  • Foreshadowing: Monique confuses Viola for Sebastian when she was wearing a hoodie and comments on their resemblance.
  • Fundraiser Carnival: Olivia's mom sets up a kissing booth at one. Olivia's friend warns her about a lecherous old man who keeps coming back, much to her disgust.
  • Gender Bender: Confusion all around when no-one can seem to tell that Viola is Sebastian...
  • Genre Savvy:
    • Principal Gold can recognize the Crash-Into Hello between Viola and Olivia as soon as it happens.
    • During his meeting with Viola he lampshades that he'll probably ending up running into her at inopportune times.
  • Groin Attack: When Viola gets hit by the soccer ball. Could also be a Crowning Moment of Funny.
  • Half-Identical Twins: Viola can get away with looking like Sebastian, but she clearly is... er... a girl.
  • High School A.U.: Of Twelfth Night.
  • Hilarity Ensues: Everything gets messed up just in time for the climax at the soccer game. It's William Shakespeare.
  • Hooked Up Afterwards: See Pair the Spares below. Andrew and Paul are also shown seated at a table together during these couples' debut (although Paul's arm candy gals are there with him too).
  • Hypocritical Humour: Monique makes fun of Viola's supposed lack of curves though she and Viola don't have that much difference in their, err, proportions.
  • I Need to Go Iron My Dog: "I've gotta go change my... feet."
  • Jerkass Has a Point: While he was being rather a dick about it, Cornwall's coach did have the facts on his side in stating that girls generally don't have as much of the requisite physical prowess for sports that boys have. Of course, the science proving this deals with averages, meaning that some outlier gals (such as Viola, for one) do have the necessary prowess to compete with boys. What really makes the coach a jerk is that he wasn't even willing to let Viola and her friends try proving that any of them were outliers; Illyria's coach proves to be much more sensible and on the level about this upon discovering one of his first-stringers is a girl.
  • Love Dodecahedron: The tagline pokes fun at this by laying it out and emphasizing the gender disguising.
  • Male Gaze: When Olivia walks into the cafe, the guy's POV (and the camera's) shifts to her backside.
  • Mistaken for Object of Affection: One night Olivia decides go through with and surprise "Sebastian" with a kiss. She unknowingly kisses the real Sebastian, who has no idea who this infatuated girl is; not that he's complaining...
  • Mr. Fanservice: Channing Tatum, who spends a lot of the movie without a shirt on. He's even introduced shirtless.
  • Ms. Fanservice: The cheerleaders during the final game, and Olivia at numerous other times.
  • Mythology Gag: Numerous references to lines from the original play come up, either slightly altered ("You're weaving a really tangled web here") or direct ("Some have greatness thrust upon them"). And although Malvolio's character in the original play is replaced by a guy named Malcolm, Malcolm's pet tarantula is named Malvolio.
  • Naked People Are Funny: In the middle of the game, Sebastian and then Viola are asked to prove which sex they are. The respective public proofs they give are incontrovertible.
  • No Periods, Period: The tampax moment. One of the most hilarious parts of the movie.
  • Operation: Jealousy: Olivia's going out with Duke to get "Sebastian" to fall for her. This goes about as badly as one might expect in a comedy, but does have the inadvertent benefit of directing Toby back to the Hollywood Homely Eunice when he sees her with "Sebastian" on a double date: as he points out to the others, Eunice has to be at least somewhat attractive if she's got a date with The Casanova, so he was obviously right to be interested in her earlier when they were ribbing him about this attraction.
  • Pair the Spares:
    • Olivia and Sebastian? Introducing your brother to your friend who you think will be good for him and then them going to a party together is rather less silly than the actual marriage that happens in the play.
    • Toby and Eunice as well, they even appear at the debutante party at the end.
    • Viola's Jerkass ex-boyfriend Justin and Sebastian's Jerkass ex-girlfriend Monique.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: It's fairly obvious, when Sebastian and Viola are on screen together, that no-one could possibly confuse them for the same person. It's Lampshaded and justified in the beginning. No one at the school had seen Sebastian before. After he finally arrives, it gets a lot less plausible to the point that the writers have to weasel a couple of Contrived Coincidences (Olivia keeping her eyes closed and Sebastian putting on some "war paint" right before the game) to make it work. In fact, the director commentary says that they had to cut a scene where a couple of people see Sebastian up-close before the game because it completely shattered the Willing Suspension of Disbelief.
  • Passionate Sports Girl: All Viola wants to do is play soccer. When the girls' team gets cut and she isn't allowed to try out for the boys team she realizes that if she joins the rival team and beats the school that rejected her she can prove that she should get to play.
  • Polar Opposite Twins: As stated concerning Sebastian and Viola in a yearbook that Malcom studies as part of his... opposition research at one point.
  • Sarashi: Viola binds her chest with bandages. At one point, they get caught in a cabinet drawer during a talk with the principal. She tries to pass it off as just leaning there while she struggles to get the bandage free.
  • Really Gets Around: Viola while posing as Sebastian gets some help from Paul's arm candy gals to make "him" look like a real player so the other guys will think this somewhat clumsy and seemingly dorky "guy" a Casanova who might be worth befriending for some advice on getting girlfriends for themselves.
  • Rule of Cool: Viola was not a student at Sebastian's school. Their team should have had to forfeit when the truth was revealed. On the other hand, if Viola's school had tried to invoke that rule, Sebastian's could have pointed out that refusing to even let the girls try out violated Title IX.
  • Setting Update: Shakespeare in a soccer-themed movie in a modern-day high school setting.
  • Share the Male Pain: When Viola gets hit in the crotch with a soccer ball, all the boys wince. Yet she doesn't notice... until a few moments later and then starts (badly) faking her pain.
  • Single Woman Seeks Good Man: Out of all the guys who likes her, Olivia prefers honest Sebastian (who is actually Viola in disguise). She would later meet and fall in love with the real Sebastian.
  • Sound-Effect Bleep: Just as Viola is about tell her ex-boyfriend just what she thinks of him, the coach blows his whistle.
  • Suppressed Mammaries: An in-universe version with Viola, justified since Paul is careful to teach her this finer point of how to disguise herself as a guy.
  • Sweet Polly Oliver: Viola whenever she's dressed as Sebastian.
  • Sweet on Polly Oliver: Duke's reaction to Viola when she's dressed as Sebastian, which gets him a little creeped out at one point when she "role-plays" a girl for him so convincingly.
  • Tomboy: Viola loves playing soccer and has a strict "no ruffles" policy. This upsets her mother who wants her to be a "lady."
  • True Love Auto Correct: Olivia falls for "Sebastian", not realizing he's really Viola (who is not interested in her that way) in disguise. Upon meeting the real Sebastian, Viola's twin brother, she falls for him instead.
  • Twelfth Night Adventure: Well, it is based on Twelfth Night...
  • Twin Switch: Viola takes her twin brother's place at Illyria.
  • Uncanny Family Resemblance: Viola and Sebastian look passable as Half-Identical Twins, although when both are onscreen at the same time it's obvious nobody could mistake them for the other. It's mentioned in the audio commentary when they discuss the difficulty of casting a man who looked like Amanda Bynes.
  • Villain Team-Up: Malcolm and Monique toward the end of the film.
    Malcolm: (laughably sinister tone of voice) Allow me to introduce myself...
  • Walking Shirtless Scene: Channing Tatum in several scenes.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Malcolm's tarantula disappears from the movie after the scene where it scares Duke and Viola.
  • Wholesome Crossdresser: Viola is only cross-dressing in order to play on her new school's soccer team.
  • Willing Suspension of Disbelief: The audience can pretend Viola looks like Sebastian. While she can pull off looking like a boy, looking like her brother takes a bit more suspension. It's a moot point until much later because it's stated early on that no-one at Illyria has seen Sebastian, so looking like a boy is the only thing that counts.
  • You Go, Girl!: When Viola isn't taken seriously by her sexist soccer coach, she attempts to prove him wrong by joining the opposing school's team.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Film/ShesTheMan