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Film / Sydney White

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A modern take on "Snow White" (originally titled Sydney White and the Seven Dorks) starring Amanda Bynes.

Motherless girl Sydney White, raised by her father and a group of construction workers, goes off to college with plans of joining her mother's sorority, Kappa Phi Nu.

She quickly makes friends with the other Legacy, ditzy blond Southern Belle Dinky, and meets the President of Kappa's brother frat, Tyler Prince—who just happens to be the Kappa president Rachel Witchburn's ex. He flirts with her, but Rachel sees and immediately dislikes her.

Sydney is allowed a bid due to the fact her mother was a Kappa, but things do not go well for her. Despite bonding with her fellow potentials, Rachel hates her, she isn't rich, and Tyler has developed quite an interest in her, much to Rachel's disapproval. On the first night of hazing, she brings an inappropriate date to date dash: hypochondriac, allergic, Vortex-dwelling Lenny. She likes him, but Rachel forces her to ditch him and sticks him with the check for some thirty people.

Everything blows up when, at the dance, Rachel kicks Sydney out, telling her, "You will never be a Kappa." Homeless and feeling she has failed her mother, she goes out into the rain, sobbing on the street with her bags in front of the Vortex, so named for sucking in losers—a rundown, former student overflow housing on Greek row. Rachel wants the Vortex torn down for her country-club gym for Greeks. Lenny and Spanky, two of the seven dorks, offer her a place to stay.

In the morning, Sydney notices just how run down the place is and suggests some repairs. Grumpy Gurkin, writer of People', rants about the control Rachel and the rest of the Greek oppression have on campus, making it impossible to get repairs. Later that day, she spots sign-up sheets for student council, sparking their Freedom to the Seventh Power party, stepping out of her own box, and a showdown debate with Rachel.

This work provides examples of:

  • Absurdly Powerful Student Council: Apparently, popular cliques in the dozens can overpower and control a student body in the thousands. Also, budgets can be abused to allow university-owned property to fall below building codes. And Greek organizations can dominate campus life so much that non-Greeks don't even have their own dorms. While it's certainly greatly exaggerated, it's worth noting that rich and powerful people often come out of these organizations and often pump money into the university through donations. It would make sense to keep the Greeks happy as they have connections to these alumni.
  • All Guys Want Sorority Women: The sorority is portrayed as extremely Serious Business in part because of how popular it makes the girls with guys, emphasized by the online Hot Or Not list.
  • Almost Kiss: Sydney and Tyler almost kissed after their first date until Spanky falls off the house, getting busted for spying.
  • Alpha Bitch: Rachel, president of the Kappa Phi Nu House, who kicks Sydney out of Kappa Phi Nu just because she felt threatened by her growing popularity and Tyler's attraction to her.
  • Big Bad: Rachel is extremely bitchy, destroying Sydney's life—again, just because she felt threatened by her.
  • Big Brother Instinct: The guys in the Vortex develop this for Sydney throughout the movie. Even going so far to give Tyler the If You Ever Do Anything to Hurt Her... speech before their date.
  • Big "NO!": When Rachel sees Sydney is now number one on the online Hot Or Not list.
  • Birds of a Feather: Dinky revealing her allergy of gluten, which Kenny also has, is what results in her crushing on him. This leads to them being a Beta Couple.
  • Break the Haughty: Rachel eventually gets what's coming to her—not only does Sydney win the election instead of her, she's kicked out of Kappa by the girls she abused.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: Rachel borders on Stalker with a Crush when she shows up in Tyler's room, claiming to have read his emails.
    Rachel: We're just friends and, you know, I don't like him like that. Only a little. You know, occasionally. When his shirt's off.
  • Cloudcuckoolander:
    • George. Unable to tie his own shoes, manages to innocently win at poker every time, and still believes in Santa.
    • Also Terrence, who spends the entire movie doing bizarre experiments no one else understands and making unprompted comments about the statistical likelihood of various events occurring.
  • College Is "High School, Part 2": The popularity contests and social hazing seem more important than, y'know, attending classes and earning degrees.
  • Computer Virus: The day before the debate and election, Rachel hires a hacker to destroy Sydney's files using a virus called "The Poison Apple". Sydney is then forced to stay up all night in the library doing her work. When Sydney finishes, she falls asleep in the library and is almost disqualified for not showing up, but Tyler wakes her with a kiss just in time.
  • Deceased Parents Are the Best: Kappa Phi Nu was a much more pleasant house when the president was Sydney's mother, who died when Sydney was nine years old.
  • Driven by Envy: Rachel, jealous of Tyler's attraction to Sydney and of Sydney's increasing popularity on the online Hot Or Not List, blocks Sydney's induction into Kappa Phi Nu by falsely claiming Sydney has lied about her background and cheated on a Kappa quiz.
  • Expy: Every main character is a reference to someone from the original fairy tale (or the Disney version, in the case of the dorks).
    • Sydney is Snow White, the more beautiful girl who threatens Rachel's position in the social hierarchy.
    • Tyler, by virtue of being Sydney's love interest, is Prince Charming.
    • Rachel is the Witch/Stepmother/Queen as she's the main antagonist who is threatened by Sydney's beauty.
    • Dinky is Rose Red (her last name is Rosemead).
    • Lenny is Sneezy (he has allergies). Terrence is Doc. Gurkin is Grumpy (angry blogger). Spanky is "Happy" due to the references to "keeping [himself] happy" (by masturbating). Jeremy is Bashful (talks through his puppet due to chronic shyness). Embele is Sleepy (exchange student with jet lag). George is Dopey.
    • Rachel's laptop showing the Hot Or Not list is the Magic Mirror, which points out Sydney's existence to her.
    • The Computer Virus Rachel sends to Sydney's Apple computer is a hi-tech update of the Poisoned Apple.
  • Gender-Blender Name: Especially at the beginning, when the construction workers are signing a card for "Syd", it's suggested that Sydney might be male. She's actually a girl.
  • Give Geeks a Chance: Or in this case dorks, but the message is still the same.
  • Good Parents: Sydney may be Raised by Dudes, but her father cares for her very much.
  • Gray Rain of Depression: Right after Sydney is kicked out of Kappa Phi Nu, it starts raining hard.
  • Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Dinky is this, as she's the first person to accept that Sydney is Not Like Other Girls, and even they eventually form a true friendship.
  • Hand Puppet: Jeremy communicates exclusively through one of these, named Skoozer. He eventually stops using it at the end when he overcomes his shyness.
  • Hidden Heart of Gold: Tyler takes Sydney on their "date" to a church to feed the homeless, somewhat surprising Sydney that he's so generous... until it's revealed that he's actually there to work off community service hours for a prank he pulled... and then revealed that he actually fulfilled his requirements a year ago, but he still keeps coming.
  • If You Ever Do Anything to Hurt Her...: Gurkin threatens to unleash the power of the internet on Tyler if anything happens to Sydney on their first date and register him as a sex offender in all 50 states—and Canada.
  • Like Brother and Sister: Sydney's friendship with the seven dorks is this.
  • Meaningful Name: Tyler Prince, Sydney White, Rachel Witchburn—take your pick.
  • Missing Mom: Sydney was only nine years old when her mom passed away.
  • Oh, Wait!: Sydney says this to Rachel.
    Rachel: [talking about Dinky] Hi, Sydney. Nice to find some people you fit in with.
    Sydney: It is nice, isn't it? If only there was a place for a superficial, materialistic bitch to fit in. Oh, wait, there is.
  • Proud to Be a Geek: During Sydney's debate, people stand up and proclaim themselves dorks.
  • Raised by Dudes: Sydney was raised by construction workers, and can wolf-whistle with the best of them.
  • Shout-Out: To The Brothers Grimm.
    Gurkin: Things are looking grim, brothers.
  • Sinister Sorority Sisters: Sydney initially wants to join Kappa Phi Nu, which her mother was president of. However, she finds that the sorority is now run by Rich Bitch Rachel Witchburn. Rachel enjoys abusing her power over her fellow sisters and blocks Sydney from joining the sorority for fear that she would outshine her. Rachel is also head of the student council and uses her power to ensure that the Greek organizations get preferential treatment. When her power is threatened, she isn't afraid to use underhanded tactics to get what she wants.
  • Single Woman Seeks Good Man: Why did Dinky fall in love with Lenny? It’s because she sees him as Endearingly Dorky, and even confessed that she’s in love with a dork. And, because of their allergies.
  • Still Believes in Santa: George is a Cloud Cuckoo Lander who still believes in Santa.
  • Student Council President: Rachel is student council president and the head of Kappa.
  • The Talk: Due to her mother dying before she went through puberty, Sydney was given "The Talk" by her father. His profession as a plumber led to some interesting use of tubing.
  • True Love's Kiss: Parodied. After Sydney's files are erased by the Computer Virus "The Poison Apple", Sydney is exhausted from staying up all night rewriting her paper and falls asleep in the library, causing her to almost miss the presidential debate and be disqualified. Tyler finds her and treats it as if she would never wake up, culminating with the kiss to "break the spell".
  • TV Genius: There's no actual proof that Terrence is a genius, he just sort of does weird and random stuff... until he shows up in a flash car, having sold his predictive analytic probability theory to for ten million dollars. Maybe not a genius per se, but close enough for a fairy tale ending.
  • Welcome to Hell: Rachel says this to the new girls hoping to pledge to Kappa Phi Nu.
    Rachel: Welcome to hell, skanks! This is pledge enlightenment!
  • Witch with a Capital "B": Rachel, but only in a symbolic way. Her surname is Witchburn to draw the connection between her status as the Alpha Bitch and the Wicked Witch.