Tan-Skinned ‘Sydney White’ Tragically Lacks Charisma of Fair-Skinned ‘Snow White’

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HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 1/5CHICAGO – I recently tagged “Illegal Tender” as the must-miss movie of the year. I stand corrected. That unconquerable 2007 cake now goes to “Sydney White,” which opened on Friday.

Matt Long and Amanda Bynes in Sydney White
Matt Long and Amanda Bynes as Sydney White in “Sydney White”.
Photo courtesy of IMDb

Nevermind Chad Creasey’s anemic story. Nevermind a cast laden with relatively unknown, pimply aged teens. Nevermind trite attempts at jesting that backfired.

Nevermind the neglect to rope in one of the most obvious concepts during college years – sex – and nevermind the overdone, “Nancy Drew”-like, from-no one-to-cool-cat rise to popularity by main character Sydney White.

Amanda Bynes, like, just can’t act. At least Emma Roberts as Nancy Drew could sell confidence, self-collection, strength and independence.

Bynes – who you may not remember from her roles in “Hairspray,” “She’s the Man” and “What a Girl Wants” – is actually caught revealing nervousness. Such trepidation wasn’t part of her character and is either reflective of her need to grow as an actor or director Joe Nussbaum’s carelessness of cutting it out.

Crystal Hunt in Sydney White
Crystal Hunt in “Sydney White”.
Photo courtesy of IMDb

While there’s some charm in White’s shrill thrill over seeing and touching her college crush’s hammer – yes, the kind you’d find at Ace Hardware (and since when does “PG-13” mean you’re devoid of Hollywood sexuality?) – she instead thrusts herself into the most tragically mocked sorority of them all.

The posh, perfectionist stereotype that may or may not actually typify some college sororities today certainly wouldn’t be appreciated in the minds of well-respected, classy sororities. The college Greek system can’t be stoked about its malevolent portrayal either.

Sara Paxton in Sydney White
Sara Paxton in “Sydney White”.
Photo courtesy of IMDb

Why from her upbringing with heavy-duty construction men you’d even believe for a second she’d fit into a college’s most girly, estrogen-packed place is well beyond me.

I suppose pledging because you’re a “legacy” kid and your mom is a proud member is honorable (even though the more important lesson should be to find your own identity).

While certainly not an Oscar-worthy performance, Sara Paxton as the Prada-epitomizing villain at least credibly sells her role (though I feel remorse for her addiction to the film’s theft of the HOT or NOT superficial system). Southern belle Crystal Hunt has bubbly charm.

If you were to tag any star in this film, you could only pick from the posse of video game-craving, girl-fearing dorks. They have panache.

Amanda Bynes in Sydney White
Amanda Bynes in “Sydney White”.
Photo courtesy of IMDb

I remember college. My dad was in a frat.

When it came my time, that same frat had me on their legacy list, too. I open-mindedly heard them out but instantly realized and decided a frat wasn’t for me. Why this film spends the majority of its 90 minutes belaboring that instantly obvious point is a waste of screen time.

In this modern-day adaptation of an age-old classic, the shockingly tan-skinned, wig-sporting Bynes as Sydney White does criminal injustice to the fair-skinned, charismatic Snow White. I want my money back and I didn’t even pay.

By Adam Fendelman

© 2007 Adam Fendelman, HollywoodChicago.com

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