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Mike Barnard

Published February 12th, 2007 | by Mike Barnard

Sydney White and the Seven Dorks Review

Classification: 12A Director: Joe Naussbaum Rating: 2/5

Snow White and the Seven Dwarves gets a chick flick makeover as it is translated from a fairy tale setting to American college life. Making use of the classic cool kids verses the geeks scenario, Sydney White and the Seven Dorks also borrows heavily from high school teen movies such as Mean Girls and Revenge of the Nerds for a lightweight and simplistic offering for a limited audience of teenage girls.

Sydney White (Byrnes) is starting her freshman year at Southern Atlantic University, the same institution her mother attended and excited to be part of the same Kappa Phi Nu sorority she was. However, raised by her construction worker father (Schneider), Sydney is more used to male company and power tools than girls, dresses and make-up. Sydney struggles to fit in with her fellow sorority girls and seeks refuge in the “Vortex” – a fraternity of dorky guys with familiar dwarf-like traits. There she finds her feet and sets about landing her own Prince Charming: Tyler Prince (Long), the ex-boyfriend of the leader of the self-obsessed sorority girls, Rachel Witchburn (Paxton).

Overlaying Snow White onto college life is a gimmicky way of trying to dress up a standard chick flick. Lessons such as discovering people who aren’t considered “cool” at school might offer more social skills and those who consider themselves “cool” are the real dorks are learnt as Sydney goes on a mission to show it’s ok to be yourself. She helps one of her dorks run for Student Body President, goes from outcast to a college star and, of course, lands her Prince. You’ll know how the film is going to pan out over the first 15 minutes, especially given the familiar source material, so you’ll probably already know if Sydney White will make you scream in support or switch off in protest.

Byrnes is in familiar territory having starred in She’s the Man – a similar classically inspired offering in which she dresses up as a man in homage to Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night to be on a boy’s college football team – and fans will not be disappointed. She’s her usual smiley self, playing the goofball who blossoms into a power presence on campus as she proves herself to her fellow students. The supporting cast of dorks are the usual brand of socially-challenged guys who can’t handle being around girls leaving them little to do save go through the motions of numerous other college-based teen comedies. The same goes for the plastic girls and bland guys who make up the cool kids lacking in brain cells. It makes for easy viewing and, though an infected Mac is an inventive idea for replacing the poisonous apple given to Snow White, it’s essentially simplistic viewing.


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