The stroller matinee is conceptually a good idea – letting moms (even us Mr. Moms) take their under-3-year-old kids to a showing where others are not allowed, so we don’t need to worry about the screaming kids disturbing folks; we’re all in this together.
And then there’s what happens when they’re showing a poorly-reviewed flick like She’s the Man – it turned out to be just me and li’l Allison in the theater. I talked to her loudly through the entire thing. We danced in the aisles. All was well.
So why did I choose to see this film, knowing its general reputation? Well, the moment I saw an ad for this convetying the plot, and I realized that, goodness gracious, they’re doing Twelfth Night. Now that particular bit of Shakespeare is a bit of a fave with me, one that I always thought could translate via resetting or modernization. In fact, at one point I was working on a comic book adaptation that would have made it a more-explicit sex comedy set in the organized crime scene of the 1920s. So I had to see what they did.
And they did make some changes. It’s been a while since I read the original, but I don’t think the soccer game had the same outcome as in the movie. And the character that Julie Haggerty plays? If memory serves, she was actually dead before the start of the play.
The original play really has two sets of things going on. There’s the central storyline, a fairly straight storyline-oriented romantic comedy with crossdressing. And then there’s the more broadly comic material, featuring such supporting characters as Andrew Aguecheek and Sir Toby Belch. The film basically jettisons that latter portion (although you’ll still find a character named “Toby”, for example of how they adhere) and adds lots of physical and broad humor to the main storyline, resetting it as being about a girl who disguises herself as her twin brother in order to get on a school soccer team, with the romantic complications that ensue. The plotline grafting is not wholly successful; things that basically made sense in the play don’t necessarily work out in the soccer milieu. The physical humor moments are awkwardly manufactured. The performances are mostly little to write home about (although I do want to give a positive shout-out to Emily Perkins, who brings a nice odd little spark to the small roll of Eunice, the boy-hungry headgear-wearing geek). This is not a film I’d recommend to, well, anyone.
But yet, I had a good time. There was lots of music on the soundtrack, giving Allison and I plenty to dance to in the aisles. And there’s worse things in this world to having the whole theater to yourself. So if you can see it in an empty theater with a happy bouncy 16 month old gal, I guess I recommend that experience.