January 30, 2008

Reviewed by Nico

Just as 10 Things I Hate About You retold The Taming of the Shrew, Sydney White gives a modern take on Snow White and The Seven Dwarves.

Sydney White has grown up in a woman-free environment. She’s been raised by her plumber father since the early death of her mother. She attempts to follow in her mother’s footsteps by attending the same university and joining the same sorority. Sydney immediately finds herself on the wrong side of Kappa sorority leader Rachel Witchburn when she draws the attention of Rachel’s ex-boyfriend (and all-around Prince Charming) Tyler Prince. Sydney finds her first ally in the form of Dinky Hodgekiss, the other Kappa legacy. At the pinning ceremony, Rachel claims that Sydney has exhibited behavior unfitting a Kappa and kicks her out. With nowhere left to go, Sydney finds herself in the Vortex – the black hole that sucks in all losers. The Vortex, though barely standing and constantly catching electrical fires, houses seven residents. When Sydney learns that Rachel intends to demolish the Vortex in an effort to build yet another Greek-centric building, she leads the dorks in a battle to reclaim Student Council for the non-Greeks.

I believe the hype when it comes to Amanda Bynes. While her turn as Sydney White is mostly that of the straight woman to her gang of dorks, she comes across as a likeable hero. Matt Long (Ghost Rider, Jack &amp Bobby) is the prototypical good-hearted man candy you can expect from teen faire. Sara Paxton (Darcy’s Wild Life, Aquamarine) does her best channeling of Rachel McAdams in Mean Girls – the duplicitous blonde bitch. Samm Levine is probably the most recognizable of the dorks from his time as Neal on Freaks and Geeks. It would either be him or Danny Strong from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Jack Carpenter in the Sneezy role looks to set himself up as the next go-to likable dork. The always solid John Schneider (Smallville, Dukes of Hazzard) lends his calming presence as Sydney’s father.

I’m still waiting for Joe Nussbaum to live up to the promise of George Lucas in Love, but he’s a capable director.


Sydney White is presented in a 2.35:1 Anamorphic widescreen with Dolby Digital 5.1 English and French audio mixes. Subtitle options are: English for the deaf and hard-of-hearing, French and Spanish.

Trailers: Bring It On: In It To Win It, HD DVD, Veggitales: The Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything.

Bonus features include a Gag Reel and deleted scenes. Though the deleted scenes are generally short, they all come with an introduction from director Joe Nussbaum that explains their place in the movie, what they convey and why they were ultimately cut. The best of the deletions shows more of Sydney’s impact in bringing the dorks out of their shells.

The Original Dork – Joe Nussbaum talks about what drew him to the project. This spins out into brief snippets from the majority of the main cast.

Sydney and Her Prince – The cast all talk about Amanda Bynes and Matt Long. They’re apparently both very nice.

Meet the Dorks – The companion bit to the previous one spotlighting the actors who played her seven dorks. However, this one is a lot more goofy and muggy.

Kappa’s Forever – This bit tackles Sara Paxton but there’s an obnoxious music track underlying it. Crystal Hunt.

The Skooze – This focuses on the puppet Skoozer employed by the Bashful dork Jeremy (Adam Hendershott – Gilmore Girls, Veronica Mars)

Welcome to the Vortex – Samm Levine walks viewers through the set of The Vortex, the home of Sydney and the dorks, and is joined by the other six.

Theatrical trailer – self explanatory.


Half the fun of Sydney White is seeing the dork interpretation of the dwarves and the staple events like the magic mirror, the poisoned apple and the kiss from Prince Charming. With a very likeable cast and the positive message of dorks being people too, Sydney White is worthy of a viewing. Die hard Bynes-heads, however, will want to add this DVD to their collection.

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