- The Washington Times - Friday, September 21, 2007

Finally, there’s a college comedy geared toward the tween set.

If that sounds odd, you’re not alone. Why would 12-year-olds spend their time watching twentysomethings obsess over sororities and the “freshman 15”? Ready or not, here comes “Sydney White,” a sanitized comedy starring Amanda “What I Like About You” Bynes as a tomboy clashing with a stuffy sorority.

“Sydney White” tries to spin itself as a “Snow White” update, but it’s far more effective as “Revenge of the Nerds 2.0.” By the final reel, the self-confessed dorks have won us over, even if Miss Bynes hasn’t.

Sydney White (Miss Bynes) is leaving her quaint hometown and her single father (John Schneider) to go to Unnamed University, where her late mother pledged the hippest sorority on campus.

Our Sydney is a legacy, but that doesn’t matter to Rachel (Sara Paxton), the sorority queen who’s more cruel than Cruella De Vil herself. Rachel doesn’t think Sydney fits in, and she’s right. But Sydney is so blinded by her mom’s memories that she ignores the sisters’ obnoxious behavior.

The sorority slams its door on Sydney in the most humiliating fashion, but she’s welcomed in by Chez Dork, a crumbling house where the campus misfits live. These guys can’t even tie their own shoes. Literally.

She quickly feels right at home with the outcasts, but this hottie doesn’t dare date any of them. Instead, she falls for the cute Greek guy who takes her out to volunteer at a soup kitchen on their first date.

We think you’re trying too hard, buddy.

As for the rest? You’ll see it all coming a mile away, but the expected resolutions turn out far more chipper than the dreary first half portends.

The generous cast of misfits and prom queen types picks up the comedy slack.

Miss Bynes brings her cherubic features, an unholy tan and not much else to the mix. She doesn’t so much talk as give lessons in elocution. You hear every “T” and every “D” when she speaks. She could be the brightest talent at a high school play, but she’s not ready for movie stardom.

Parents will adore the messages plastered all over “Sydney,” from young women asserting their independence to the main character’s inclusiveness.

“Sydney White” is the perfect antidote to those R-rated college comedies, but it likely won’t tell tweens a thing about what to expect in six or so years.

**

TITLE: “Sydney White”

RATING: PG-13 (adult language and sexual humor)

CREDITS: Directed by Joe Nussbaum. Written by Chad Creasey

RUNNING TIME: 105 minutes

WEB SITE: https://www.myspace.com/sydneywhite

MAXIMUM RATING: FOUR STARS

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