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Film / Sam

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Sam is a 2016 Gender Bender Romantic Comedy film directed by Nicholas Brooks and written by Nicholas Brooks and John J. Gallagher. It stars Natalie Knepp, Sean Kleier, Morgan Fairchild, and Brock Harris.

Sam (Brock Harris) is a womanizer with a real chip on his shoulder about women in general and his best friend Doc's (Sean Kleier) fiancee in particular. After leaving a bachelor party drunk and angry, Sam stumbles into 'Ye Olde Curiosity Shoppe'. The shopkeeper (Stacy Keach) listens to Sam complain about women, and after expressing disapproval of Sam's misogyny offers him a mysterious drink. The next day, Sam wakes up as a beautiful woman (Natalie Knepp). "Samantha", as Sam now calls herself, is forced to live as a woman and pretending to be her male self's cousin until she can find a way back...


Sam contains examples of the following tropes:

  • Attractive Bent-Gender: Technically in play in that everyone treats Samantha as a stunner (albeit initially as a stunner who really needs a makeover). However Sam is also a Handsome Lech so it isn't really an upgrade as such, just a good looking man being turned into a good looking woman.
  • "Begone" Bribe: Cynthia cements her role as a bitch by offering to write Samantha a check for whatever she wants if she leaves and never sees Doc again.
  • Bisexual Love Triangle: Of sorts. Doc finds himself in the middle of a love triangle between his ex-girlfriend Cynthia and his new love interest Sam (who is actually a man transformed into a woman but reciprocates Doc's feelings).
  • Book on the Head: Blondell trains Samantha to walk with a book on her head to improve her posture as part of her Girliness Upgrade. Blondell himself demonstrates this for her, and is much better at it than her (at first).
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  • Camp Gay: Blondell (albeit a more subdued version). He's a gay man who's very sophisticated, with vast knowledge of stereotypical feminine behavior (he trains women how to act that way).
  • Cat Fight: The hostility between Samantha and Cynthia gets physical at one point. It's entirely a philosophical question as to whether this counts as Would Hit a Girl, but hey, Cynthia started it.
  • Character Title: It's named after the main character.
  • Closet Key: Doc for Sam, who never loved any woman or man or anyone until he met and found love with the male Doc.
  • Color Me Black: Sam is hateful misogynist who makes a drunken rant about the uselessness of women to the proprietor of The Little Shop That Wasn't There Yesterday. The next morning, he wakes up to discover that he is now female.
  • Femininity Failure: He-Man Woman Hater Sam underdoes a Gender Bender and has no idea how to act feminine. When being taught how to be more presentable by Blondell, her Makeover Montage includes her making such mistakes as putting a skirt on backwards.
  • First Law of Gender-Bending: Once the change happens Sam seems to be stuck as Samantha: the shop has vanished into thin air and there is no other way back. Samantha does consider gender reassignment surgery but after Doc reveals what that would actually involve she's sufficently shaken to decide against, at least for now. Eventually the shop does return and Samantha is offered the chance to go back to being male. She turns it down.
  • First Period Panic: When Sam experiences his first period after undergoing his Gender Bender, he assumes that he is hemorrhaging. It is up to his best friend Doc, who is a gynecologist, to explain what is happening.
  • Forgot to Mind Their Head: Samantha is hiding under desk with Margaret when her boss Seymour sticks his head under the desk. Samantha sits up suddenly and bangs her head on the underside of the desk.
  • Gender Bender: The entire focus of the plot sees the male Sam magically turned into the female Samantha.
  • Gender Bender Angst: Sam is a He-Man Woman Hater who undergoes extreme angst after being transformed into a woman. She even considers undergoing gender reassignment surgery to become male again (an option that's almost never mentioned in most Gender Bender works).
  • Hair Flip: One of the feminine tricks to attract male attention that Blondell teaches Samantha is the hair toss. Doc is visibly stunned when she demonstrates it for him.
  • Heel Realization: Samantha. About half way through the film Margaret has a conversation with Samantha about her crush on Sam (having no idea that Samantha and her 'cousin' are the same person). What provokes Samantha to feel so guilty is not that Margaret is complaining about Sam's jerkishness, but actually the reverse, that she misread his insensitive behavior as being a facade, when Samantha knows full well it was really just insensitivity.
  • He-Man Woman Hater: Sam is an unrepentant misogynist who states that "women are only useful for one thing". The proprietor of The Little Shop That Wasn't There Yesterday causes him to undergo a Karmic Transformation.
  • If It's You, It's Okay: After being transformed into a woman, Sam/Samantha never considered himself to be gay or bisexual but falls in love with Doc and chooses to stay as a woman to be with him regardless.
  • Jerk-to-Nice-Guy Plot: In a variation, Sam is a He-Man Woman Hater who begins his journey to being a nicer person when he suffers a Karmic Transformation into a woman. He slowly goes from a woman-hating Handsome Lech to being the sweet-natured, thoughtful young woman Samantha genuinely in love with someone. She ends up choosing to stay as a woman, having both fallen in love with Doc and grown to like being a woman for its own sake.
  • Karmic Transformation: After being rude and disrespectful about women to the proprietor of The Little Shop That Wasn't There Yesterday, He-Man Woman Hater Sam wakes up the next morning and discovers that he has become a woman.
  • The Lad-ette: Initially Samantha is this, acting like the slob she was as a male and dressing in whatever casual clothes she can find. After spending a couple of weeks getting a Girliness Upgrade from a fashion and style consultant she becomes much more feminine in dress and manner but is still happy to throw around a football.
  • Lessons in Sophistication: When Sam undergoes his Gender Bender, he has no idea how to act as a woman and so comes across as The Lad-ette. Although his boss is pleased with "Samantha"'s performance, he decides that she cannot meet with clients with her current standards of dress and manners and sends her to Blondell for training in how to be more ladylike.
  • The Little Shop That Wasn't There Yesterday: Ye Olde Curiosity Shoppe is a classic example complete with enigmatic shopkeeper. An offhand reference hints he may be an angel (or possibly a ghost), but his identity is never confirmed.
  • Literal Transformative Experience: As a result of his time as a woman, Sam not only reevaluates his attitude towards women, but also his attitude towards love, and his relationship with his best friend Doc. At the end of the movie, Sam is offered the choice to turn back but decides to remain a woman and be with Doc.
  • Love Redeems: It's Sam falling for Doc that causes him to become less of a jerk and more nicer and open to love.
  • Love Triangle: Samantha/Doc/Cynthia. This is revolved by Doc dumping Cynthia (his girlfriend) who didn't treat him well, and ending up with Samantha.
  • Makeover Montage: Samantha's sessions with the image consultant Mr. Blondell, which allow her to dress, look and move more like a woman.
  • Mistaken for Gay: Cynthia briefly suspects that Doc is actually gay and is attracted to his childhood friend, Sam. She's only half wrong, as Sam is now Samantha.
  • Mood Whiplash: The first fifteen minutes or so before Sam arrives at 'Ye Olde Curiosity Shoppe' are noticeably darker with Sam played as an unrepentant jerkass misogynist. After he turns into Samantha the story becomes much lighter and more comedic Samantha is played more as a Jerk with a Heart of Gold even before her Character Development.
  • Necktie Headband: Steve is wearing his necktie as a headband by the end of his Stag Party.
  • Nice Girl: Samantha turns into one grudgingly while Margaret is one from the start.
  • Noodle Implements: Apparently Seymour and Lulu's sexual adventures prominently feature a spatula in some capacity.
  • No Periods, Period: Averted. Sam, now transformed into Samantha, gets her period and, never having experienced one before, thinks she is hemorrhaging.
  • One-Word Title
  • Plucky Office Girl: Margaret mixed with a dose of Hypercompetent Sidekick. She does a lot of work both Sam and his boss take credit for all the while nursing a hopeless crush on Sam. After Sam becomes a woman, "Samantha" strikes up a genuine friendship with Margaret and feels a lot of guilt for taking advantage of her for so long. Later after a successful report Samantha and Margaret both work on Samantha persuades her boss to give the promotion to Margaret.
  • Protagonist Title: The protagonist is Sam.
  • Relatively Flimsy Excuse: After experiencing a Gender Bender, Sam poses as his cousin "Samantha".
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: A mild example. The original slovenly, badly-groomed Samantha is already quite cute and manages to attract her fair share of male attention; but once she's been given a makeover, that cute girl is suddenly, as Seymour aptly puts it, stunning.
  • She Is Not My Girlfriend: When Blondell refers to Doc as Sam's boyfriend, both Sam and Doc immediately correct him.
    Samantha: Oh, he's not my boyfriend.
    Doc: I'm not her boyfriend.
    Blondell: They both said, rather loudly...
  • Single-Target Sexuality: Explicit in Samantha's case. After becoming a woman, she finds she no longer has any sexual interest in women, but she is also still sexually uninterested in men. That is, until she finds herself becoming attracted to Doc - after which point, Doc is the only person who inspires any arousal in her whatsoever.
  • Something Only They Would Say: Samantha tries to convince Doc of her real identity by bringing up a couple of really private anecdotes that only Sam and Doc know about. It doesn't work, because Doc comes to the more logical conclusion that Sam simply told these private things to this crazy woman.
  • Spiritual Successor: To Switch. The plots and main characters are similar, though unlike in the earlier film Sam is still alive when he is transformed into a girl and Samantha both survives and makes a definite choice to become a woman permanently.
  • Stag Party: At the start of the film, the misogynistic Sam attends his friend Steve's bachelor party. He leaves the party drunk and angry and ranting about women when he stumbles into The Little Shop That Wasn't There Yesterday and his problems really start.
  • They Call Me MISTER Tibbs!: Alexander Blondell insists that his clients address him as Mr. Blondell. Sam's repeated attempts to refer to him as "pal", "buddy" or even "Alexander" are met with a polite but firm correction:
    "It's Mr. Blondell. M-I-S-T-E-R B-L-O-N-D-E-L-L."
  • Trans Equals Gay: More like transformation equals gay. After being transformed into a woman, Sam eventually comes to realize that he's fallen in love with Doc and decides to stay as a woman to be with him.
  • Unkempt Beauty: Pre-makeover Samantha. Even dressed in baggy sweats, with messy hair, no makeup and...less-than-stellar hygiene, she's quite pretty.
  • Wrong Name Outburst: Cynthia sneaks back into Doc's apartment and attempts to reconcile with him by massaging him while he's asleep. Not quite waking up, Doc murmurs "That feels good, Sam". This leads to Cynthia assuming that Doc is gay.