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...She's the Man
— Tagline for the movie
is a 2006 teenaged Romantic Comedy
starring Amanda Bynes (The Amanda Show
) and Channing Tatum
. Not a critically acclaimed film (then again many romantic teen films are generally not), it bears some resemblance to Twelfth Night
, clearly an attempt to capitalize on the success of 10 Things I Hate About You
which updated The Taming of the Shrew
. While not as close of a High School A.U.
as 10 Things I Hate About You
was to its source material (nor as big of an success) it has its moments.
Viola (Amanda 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 brilliant plan to show them and her Jerkass ex-boyfriend that a girl can play just as well as a boy.
Basically, Viola has a twin brother, Sebastian (James Kirk, no, not that one
), to whom we can pretend she is similar in appearance,
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 perfect timing for Viola to pretend to be her twin at his new school and play soccer on their boy's team. Contrived Coincidence
? We think not!
With the help of a Gay Best Friend
, Viola becomes Sebastian!Viola, enters Illyria, and voilą!
(the pesky problem of how their parents aren't realizing what's going on is that Illyria is a boarding school and the parents are divorced, so both Viola and Sebastian simply tell each that they are staying with the other, because it's not like divorced parents ever call each other to care for their children.
) Her roommate is Duke, the eventual Love Interest
but Sebastian!Viola has problems at first because of Sebastian's permanent record (he's a troublemaker, what can we say) and the fact that Viola is still a girl. Eventually with the sprinkling of Magical Queer
magic, Sebastian!Viola is accepted into Duke's group of friends but is still second string for the boys soccer team.
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 (see above)
The film contains examples of:
- 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, though.
- Always Camp
- Bathroom Stall of Overheard Insults: Monique in the bathroom stall while Viola and Olivia are talking.
- 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.
- Coach Nasty: Subverted. Coach Dinklage starts out as one of these, but turns out to be a pretty okay guy in the end.
- 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.
- Eek, a Tarantula!
- 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."
- 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.
- Fundraiser Carnival
- 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. Seriously.
- Hooked Up Afterwards: Several characters such as Olivia and Sebastian (the real one), Justin and Monique and also its hinted that Andrew and Paul get together.
- I Need to Go Iron My Dog: "I've gotta go change my...feet."
- Love Dodecahedron: The tagline pokes fun at this.
- My Sibling Will Live Through Me: Viola lives through Sebastian...well, just his life really.
- 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.
- Mr. Fanservice: Channing Tatum, who spends a lot of the movie without a shirt on. He's even introduced shirtless.
- 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.
- No Periods, Period: The tampax moment. One of the most hilarious parts of the movie.
- Out-of-Character Moment
- Pair the Spares: Olivia and Sebastian? They don't know each other and Viola just gets them together at the end of the soccer game. In some ways it makes more sense than the source material. 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.
- Also, 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.
- Lampshaded and justified in the beginning. No one at the school had seen Sebastian before. Afterwards, that's a little less plausible.
- 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.
- Pet Homosexual: Paul.
- Polar Opposite Twins
- 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.
- 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
- 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 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.
- Stalker with a Crush: Duke to Olivia.
- 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
- Tomboy: Viola, as much as her mother wants her to be a "lady."
- 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.
- Mentioned in the audio commentary when they discuss the difficulty of casting a man who looked like Amanda Bynes.
- Walking Shirtless Scene: Channing Tatum. In several scenes. Yay.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Malcolm's tarantula disappears from the movie after the scene where it scares Duke and Viola.
- Wholesome Crossdresser: Viola
- Willing Suspension of Disbelief: The audience can pretend Viola looks like Sebastian. It works fairly well.
- She can pull off looking like a boy. Looking like her brother takes a bit more suspension.
- 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.