March 16, 2006


 “She’s the Man”

This movie is being billed as a modern version of Shakespeare’s wonderful comedy “The Twelfth Night.” That must be because the twin characters are named Viola and Sebastian. Beyond the names, there is no resemblance to Shakespeare. Seeing the commercials for “She’s the Man” left me with the erroneous impression the movie would be a fun, feminist look at a girl who wouldn’t take no for an answer when it comes to playing soccer—sort of a “Bend It Like Beckham Redux.” That’s why I took three tweens—two girls, ages 10 and 12 and one boy, 12—to see an advanced screening. But soccer is little more than a subplot to this movie about teen dating angst.

My tweens, however, loved it. They were old enough to get most of the teen dating jokes (which they agreed kids under 10 wouldn’t) and young enough to enjoy the funnier “kiddie” moments in the films (which they thought teens over 14 would find too immature).

I, on the other hand, found little to like in the dumb dialogue and improbable plot points in this silly movie. I did smile at a few of the insider girl jokes, while the men in the audience chuckled at a few of the insider boy jokes (the kids guffawed at both) but there aren’t enough of those mildly funny moments to make this flick worth the price of admission.

“She’s the Man,” rated PG-13 (for sexual content), opens Friday. Cindy Richards


   “The Shaggy Dog”

A talented 6-year-old sheepdog may be the best thing about "The Shaggy Dog." This is a remake of the original 1959 movie starring Fred MacMurray, which I also had a chance to see. 

The latest version is about an attorney named Dave (Tim Allen) who despises dogs and is defending a corporation that uses animals for product testing. When his daughter, Carlie, and her boyfriend, Tray, find a furry little creature in a laboratory and bring him home, her father goes ballistic. Yet matters become worse when the sheepdog, named Shaggy, bites Dave and some of the dog's saliva travels into his bloodstream. Little does Dave know that he will soon turn into an adorable sheepdog with eternal life.

In one of the funnier scenes, Dave slurps his coffee and eats his breakfast cereal like it is food in a dog dish. At work, he is growling at the opposing counsel in the courtroom and scratches himself all of the time. By evening, Dave actually turns into a big, shaggy sheepdog.

As much as he tries to convince his family that he is a dog no one believes him, until his children Carlie and Josh crack the case-after Shaggy (Dave) spells out the mystery with Scrabble letters. Throughout the movie Dave, as Shaggy, goes almost everywhere with the family and learns that as a human, he hasn't always been the best husband and dad.

There were some parts that were funny, but overall there were just too many dull, pointless scenes and the ending was very predictable. The lab scenes might be scary for younger children because the lab attendants use needles to draw Shaggy's blood and animals are locked up in cages.

I also felt that the movie never really came to a conclusion. In the 1959 version, the viewer knows that an act of heroism will break the spell forever, but in the 2006 remake the resolution is unclear. 

I would recommend "The Shaggy Dog" only because of the talented animals and actors and some of the humorous parts. My mom agreed that the movie progressed at a very slow rate and the plot development was weak. Allie Sakowicz, 11

Kids Eat Chicago

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