MOVIE REVIEW- Seem familiar? 'Sydney White' a pleasant re-hash
There's not a moment in the college comedy Sydney White that isn't likable. In fact, there's nothing in the movie you haven't liked before. It's Mean Girls meets Revenge of the Nerds meets Heathers, Pumpkin, Saved! and National Lampoon's Animal House, for starters, with even a touch of Spartacus thrown in.
The characters and situations are all introduced in the first 15 minutes or so, then the film follows their destinies as if they were in a Greek tragedy. That's Greek as in Greece, not the fraternity-sorority system the movie lampoons.
Amanda Bynes plays the title role, a wise but unsophisticated freshman who was "raised by construction workers," including her plumber father (John Schneider). She's on a scholarship at her late mother's school, Southern Atlantic University, where she expects to be accepted as a "legacy" by mom's sorority, Kappa Phi Nu.
The Kappas' president, who is also Student Council president, is Rachel Witchburn (Sara Paxton). You may as well get used to the Snow White parallels. Sydney is Snow and Rachel the Evil Queen, who is constantly checking her computer to be sure she's still "the fairest of them all," according to a campus poll on MySpace.
The Handsome Prince is Tyler Prince (Matt Long), president of Beta Phi Rho, the cool fraternity. He and Rachel dated in middle school until she dumped him. She's been trying to get him back ever since, but at least she has him working with her on the Witchburn-Prince Greek Life Center, which will be the focal point of Greek Row as soon as it can replace the Vortex, a rundown rattrap built to provide overflow housing for students who don't fit anywhere else, literally and figuratively.
When Rachel is being hypercritical of the pledges, she can't find anything wrong with Sydney, although she tells Sydney's roommate, Dinky (Crystal Hunt), "Lose the big hair. This isn't Dallas." (I'm not sure if she means Dallas or Dallas.) It's obvious that Sydney won't fit in with the Kappas. Aside from Rachel's jealousy when Tyler shows an interest in her, Sydney isn't blonde. Duh.
So Snow/Sydney moves into the Vortex with seven dorks and starts plotting to save the campus from Rachel and those in her thrall. Their plan involves a coalition of minorities, including Jews, ROTC members, and one lone tranny representing the LGBT community.
It's pleasant– well, unpleasant whenever Rachel appears– and predictable, right up to the "We all feel like outsiders" speech that gets everyone in touch with their inner dorks. Hollywood operates on the principle that if you enjoyed it before you'll enjoy it again, so if you want to encourage their lack of originality, enjoy Sydney White.