I saw a trailer for She’s the Man this weekend. As I’m watching the trailer, though, the names start to sound very, very familiar. The main characters, twins Viola and Sebastian, are in love with people named Duke and Olivia. And then Sebastian goes missing, so Viola has to dress up as him and pretend to be him. And Viola likes Duke, who likes Olivia, who likes Sebastian, but the Sebastian Olivia likes is actually Viola dressed up as Sebastian.
That’s right, folks. Twelfth Night is now a teen comedy set in a posh private school. And, yes, I’m going to go see it.
Why is this any different from any adaptation of Shakespeare? We’ve had Much Ado about Nothing set in both Tuscany and 1898 America, the “slacker” Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet set in southern California, Richard III set in 30s Britain, A Midsummer Night’s Dream with bicycles, etc. Some were good, some were bad, but nothing about this is particularly shocking.
That could be cool. I’d call it “Summer Vacation”. A hot teen, Dane (Ryan Reynolds), comes home from studying abroad and finds that his dad (John Lithgow) has died and his mom (Jennifer Coolidge) has married his dad’s brother (John Lithgow- this time with a moustache). Only Dane can see his dad’s ghost hanging around the house, and his dad’s guardian angel (Morgan Freeman) tells him he can’t get into heaven unless Dane makes his lookalike brother admit to murdering him, so Dane makes his mom and stepdad/uncle watch a DVD of Mel Gibson’s Hamlet, but it doesn’t work because the Blockbuster made a mistake and gave him Madagascar. Dane pretends to have severe adult ADD and OCD which causes hijinks when his psychology major girlfriend Ophelia (Alicia Silverstone) tries to diagnose him, and Dane’s friends Rosenberg (Adam Goldberg) and Stern (Jason Ritter) are secretly working for the evil uncle because he’s agreed to finance their porn film if they get Dane medicated and put away. Throw in Joe Pesci’s dad as mob boss family friend Jimmy “Polo Pony” Pollonari and a wacky gay houseboy (Jai Rodriguez) and, of course, a happy ending, and I think you’ve got a hit.