Tatum does a fantastic job as the clueless jock who isn’t quite as dumb as he looks, as does Ramsey in the sweet but not syrupy role of Olivia.  So do all of the supporting characters, who finish the film in typically Shakespearean comedic fashion, with final pairings all around.  English soccer star Vinnie Jones even does a stint as a snarling coach.

Unfortunately, all the adults are portrayed as self-obsessed idiots – something that seems to be standard fare in teen movies.  Mrs. Hastings is completely over the top as a wealthy divorcee and Junior League member, and her daughter shows nothing but disdain and mockery for her.  Mr. Hastings (John Pyper-Ferguson) is absent until the end, but equally clueless and narcissistic.  The boy’s soccer coach, who won’t let Violet try out, is misogynistic and rude.  And the school principle (David Cross), who hams it up well, is a dork verging on psychotic who’d never be at the helm of a prestigious prep school. 

Are they funny?  Not really.  They mostly underscore the film’s message that adults are self-absorbed and out of touch with reality – which leaves teens to fend for themselves, even if that means being rude, fighting, lying or doing whatever it takes to survive.  Teens do know best, after all.  It’s unfortunate that the film had to go in this direction, but sadly, this kind of message has become the norm – and it’s ubiquitous.  Parents will definitely want to address it with their kids, pointing out the absurd but dangerous worldview which rejects authority and places whims and desire at the helm of our lives.

Shakespeare aficionados will appreciate the various winks at the original play, which include most of the same character names, a school play by “Twelfth Night’s” alternative title (“As You Will”) and yellow socks on the Malvolio character – all discussed in one of the DVD extras.  And, obviously, the best way to see this film is after reading “Twelfth Night,” with a long discussion afterwards about the parallels.  Failing that, it’s not a bad introduction to the Bard, for older teens – a little twisted teaching not withstanding.  
 
DVD EXTRAS:

  • Director and Cast Commentary featuring Amanda Bynes
  • Deleted Scenes
  • “Making the Man” (how the movie was made)
  • Gag Reel
  • Dave Lichens Music Video
  • Cast Photo Album
  • Pop-Up Trivia

AUDIENCE:  Older teens and up

CAUTIONS:

  • Drugs/Alcohol:  No obvious drinking, drug use or smoking.
  • Language/Profanity:  Approximately a half dozen camouflaged profanities.
  • Sexual Content/Nudity:  Multiple sexual references and allusions – some discrete, some less so – but most by teens.  Several also engage in heavy kissing and/or groping, but none take place in bed, and there is no nudity.  In one scene, a teenage boy flirts with an obviously gay character and briefly touches his hand.
  • Violence:  Very mild.  In one scene, two boys fight (one ends up with a bloody nose) and in another, three girls fight (no one is injured).