Sydney White (and the Seven Dorks) (2007)

Rated: PG-13
Grade: C+BCC=C+
Budget: $12 million (unconfirmed)
Box Office: $12 million US, $0.5 million Int’l

Directed by: Joe Nussbaum, who previously made American Pie: Naked Mile, Sleepover, and George Lucas in Love.
Starring: Amanda Bynes, Sara Paxton, Matt Long, jack Carpenter, Jeremy Howard, Crystal Hunt, Adam hendershott, Danny Strong, Samm Levine, and John Schneider (yes, John “Bo Duke” Schneider).

In this updated adaptation of Snow White, A down-to-earth girl raised by her dad and his carpenters goes off to school to pledge her mothers sorority, which turns out to be run by a narcissistic ice queen who kicks her out. She moves in with seven outcast dorks and leads them to social victory against the Greeks who want to tear down their little cottage on dorm row, all while building a romance with the prince of the best fraternity.

Entertainment Value: C+
No one is going to claim that this is the next great anything, even though the idea and a couple of the adaptations were clever, but I found it generally entertaining, if predictable. The idea of making a “who’s hot” website the modern equivalent of the queen’s magic mirror seemed neat until they kept over-doing it’s prominence in the movie. Then they sort of ruined it by turning it into Revenge of the Nerds in the end only without the awesome-wicked-cool rock concert scene. Plus, I just have trouble believing Amanda Bynes would be voted the hottest girl on any campus like this. Also, who on earth stores valuable comic books in a suitcase?

Superficial Content: B
Drugs/Alcohol C, Sexuality C, Violence B, Language B, Illegality A. It’s a college.
There is a party scene with people doing keg stands, dancing, and getting drunk. There are several references to the desire to have sex and sexual innuendo as well as several people implied to be naked in public. The language is relatively mild, and I generally thought this was perhaps PG-11 rather than PG-13 because it’s portrayal of college is so sanitary compared with every other example I can think of. Then again, there’s enough to maybe wait until Junior High for watching this at least.

Significant Content: C
If you’re hot, you can have power, friends, and the right guys or girls in this world. If you’re a dork, it’s okay because maybe some hottie will champion your cause. Character wins in the end. Everybody has something good about them, if you just take the time to find it. We’re all dorks who are just trying to act like we’re not. Personal vanity is a waste of time, and being mean is mean.
Artistic/Thought Value: C One thing I noticed an abundance of was scenes set to music instead of dialogue. Occasionally, this can be a useful storytelling device. Too much of it and you begin to wonder if the writers went on strike early or there just wasn’t quite enough material to make a whole movie out of.

Discussion Questions:
~Can you think of all the stereotypes reinforced by this movie? What about the ones that are broken?
~Is there a price to being cool? What is it? Is cool an illusion or a real thing? Do you think cool people are really secretly geeks or not?
~It’s all fine and well to show the story of the “losers” winning in the end, but do you think that substantial people usually wind up winning on college in real life or not?
~Did you think it plausible that a girl would take a suitcase of comic books with her to college?
~Can you identify all the connections between the Snow White story and this movie?
~If all the girls in the sorority ate the way Sydney encourages them to do, would they stay thin and beautiful for very long?
~If you had to counsel a girl to focus either on becoming smart or on becoming pretty, which would benefit her more? What amount of your time is it appropriate to spend on self-beautification if you’re a girl?
~How important is it to have both parents around? Do you know anyone who has lost a parent? How has it affected them?
~Have you ever done something to connect with a person through their past, like visiting a place or people that were important to them?
~Is the desire to belong to a group an indicator of something inadequate about a person or such a common trait in humans that missing it is a defect?
Overall Grade: C+
Cute, harmless, you know, like Amanda Bynes and generally all of her films.

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