DVD Review: Sydney White
Release Date: January 22, 2008
Distributor: Universal Studios
· Joe Nussbaum
· Amanda Bynes
· Sara Paxton
· Matt Long
· Jack Carpenter
· Crystal Hunt
· John Schneider
· IMDb: Sydney White
by R.J. Carter
Published: January 22, 2008
Amanda Bynes sparkles in this family-friendly college-set story that parallels the Snow White fable. The fresh-faced Bynes plays the titular Sydney White, a young lady raised by her widower father (John Schneider) and his construction crew, resulting in Sydney being the most well-adjusted tomboy ever born.
Now she's off to Southern Atlantic University, where she'll be pledging with the same sorority her mother belonged to in the hope of making a connection with her mom. But the practical, comic book reading gal quickly runs up against Kappa president Rachel Witchburn (Sara Paxton) when Sydney attracts the attention of Rachel's ex-boyfriend, fraternity president Tyler Prince (Matt Long). Rachel is determined that Sydney will not make it past the pledging process, resulting in the ousted Sydney being forced to seek residence at the Vortex, a rundown house occupied by seven societal rejects -- yes, seven dorks: a sneezy one, a grumpy one, a dopey one, a sleepy one, a bashful one, etc.
But the seven dorks have a problem -- a problem bigger than their usual problems. The Vortex is about to be condemned, torn down to make a new house on Greek Row, a project sponsored by the sororities and headed up by Rachel. The only hope for these Gandalf-loving Klingon-speaking boys is to get onto the student council by winning in an election that hasn't been won by a non-Greek in years. It's Sydney's job to clean up the dorks and get them to fight for the rights. As she gets more and more into the public eye, she begins to connect with the majority of the school population that isn't Greek, simultaneously getting herself voted higher and higher on the SAU "Hot List," a Web page on which Rachel Witchburn is still ranked #1 -- the fairest of them all.
Hi-Ho! Sydney White (Bynes, left) instills her seven dorks with confidence
before entering a fraternity party.
In a market where college-based films can't be viewed by the under-eighteen crowd, "Sydney White" breaks the mold by providing a film that is far more palatable. Yes, it's PG-13 for some innuendo (and a scene where the dorks are tricked by some sorority girls into getting naked), but it's a far cry from being as outrageous (and child-prohibitive) as your average "American Pie" or "National Lampoon" movie. The overall message is positive, and Bynes' continues to be the underrated role model for teenaged girls.
The DVD includes a number of bonus interview segments, starting with director Joe Nussbaum -- "The Original Dork" -- talking about working with the young cast (and they with him). In "Sydney and Her Prince," the actors talk about working with Bynes and Long. "Meet the Dorks" is an eight minute collection of interviews from all the dorks, "Kappas Forever?" gives us four minutes with Sara Paxton. Even the dorky hand-puppet, "The Skooze," gets a four minute segment dedicated to him.
In "Welcome to the Vortex," one of the dorks -- Samm Levine -- gives viewers a five minute set tour of The Vortex. Finally (and a nice break from interview upon interview upon interview), there is a three and a half minute gag reel, followed by six deleted scenes introduced by Nussbaum.
Audio is available in English 5.1 and French 5.1, with optional subtitling in English SDH, French, and Spanish.
Previews on this disc include "Bring it On: In It to Win It" and "The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything."