Sydney White

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Not recommended under 8, PG to 13 (Sexual references, coarse language and teenage themes)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Sydney White
  • a review of Sydney White completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 31 January 2008.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 8 Not recommended due to sexual references, coarse language and themes.
Children aged 8-13 Parental guidance recommended due to sexual references, coarse language and themes.
Children over the age of 13 OK for this age group.

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines. Other classification advice (OC) is provided where the Australian film classification is not available.

Name of movie: Sydney White
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild coarse language, Mild sexual references
Length: 108 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

In this modern re-telling of the classic fairy tale, Snow White, young Sydney White (Amanda Bynes) begins her Freshman year at Southern Atlantic University where she innocently lays challenge to the resident “Queen” of popularity, Student President Rachel Witchburn (Sara Paxton).  Driven out of the sorority by Rachel, Sydney is forced into the company of seven  affectionately known  “dorks”. She nurtures and encourages them to rise up against Rachel and her Kappa sorority minions to improve life on campus.  Along the way, Sydney finds her true love as well as freedom of speech.


Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Adolescence and puberty; Peer group pressure; Body image

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There is some slapstick style violence and accidental injury in this movie including:

  • A footballer attempts to hit George (one of the seven “dorks”) in the head with a thrown football but it is intercepted by Sydney.  She throws it back to hit the footballer in the head with it instead.
  • Lenny was is asked to wait for Sydney in the girl’s bathroom where an older lady finds him and proceeds to hit him with her handbag.
  • A poorly thrown Frisbee accidentally hits Rachel in the back of the head.
  • Someone throws a pillow at Spanky and it hits him in the groin.
  • Rachel pushes a girl at the wall then gets “rugby tackled” to the ground by two of her friends.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

Apart from the violence listed above, children in this age group are unlikely to be disturbed by anything in this film.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

In addition to the above mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could disturb children aged five to eight, including the following:

  • Sydney’s mother is not depicted but only mentioned as having died when Sydney was very young.  She often looks at the photo or keepsakes of her mother and reads a letter from her mother prepared for her first day at college before her mother died.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

Children in this age group may also be disturbed by the scenes described above.

Thirteen and overinfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

Children in this age group are unlikely to be disturbed by anything in this film.

Product placement

The following products are displayed or used in this movie:

  • Stanley tools
  • Greyhound buses
  • Audi sports car
  • All Star sneakers
  • MySpace
  • Apple computers
  • Gucci
  • Prada
  • Medal of Honour
  • Viva Pinata
  • Halo
  • Bundaberg Rum
  • Johnnie Walker
  • Scooby Doo (Hanna-Barbera)
  • Star Wars

Sexual references

There are some sexual references in this movie, including:

  • A construction worker wolf-whistles to a buxom passer by. A girl copies by whistling to a cute boy.
  • Father tries to explain puberty to young Sydney using a model of plumbing materials to represent reproductive organs, calling them “lady tubes”.
  • A college boy uses binoculars to admire bodies of female students using comments such as, “Nice” and, “Three’s company”.
  • The Kappa girls’ theme song includes the action of slapping their backsides provocatively.
  • “In another three weeks he’s going to pin me”
  • Spanky raises his eyebrows suggestively at attractive girls, saying, “Hello-o-o-o”
  • Spanky questions Lenny “What did she do to you in the bathroom? What did she do?”
  • Spanky is reported to “…keep himself happy”
  • Spanky says he is “Off to work the Spanky magic” on vulnerable Sydney.
  • Sydney says, “As long as he doesn’t try to hump my bunny slippers”
  • Dressed in a sexy dressing gown, Spanky seductively enquires of Sydney whether she “needs” anything.
  • Boys stare at Sydney’s empty sports bra saying, “That thing has touched boobs”.
  • Spanky moves his fitness ball closer to a girl on an exercise machine to be able to look up her shorts.
  • Sydney’s male friends help her pick an outfit for her first date, telling her, “You need something sexy”.
  • Spanky makes multiple references to wanting to have sex with girls all the time.
  • Girls at keg party ask the “dorks”, “Where have you studs been hiding?” followed by seductive behaviour such as blowing in George’s ear and enticing them outside for a naked hot-tub meeting.

Nudity and sexual activity

There is some nudity and sexual activity in this movie, including:

  • There is some kissing between characters and some people are sometimes clad in only a towel or petticoat.
  • Implied exposing of a man to Sydney as she cleans the urinal next to the one he is using.
  • The “dorks” are seen topless (implied naked) outside a public party.

Use of substances

There is some use of substances in this movie, including:

  • A keg drinking contest.
  • Obvious signs of heavy drinking at parties represented by towers of alcoholic cans.

Coarse language

There is some coarse language in this movie, including:

  • “Fat losers.”
  • “She aint no Ho…”
  •  “Welcome to hell, skanks!”
  • “…It’s a sorority, not a ho-rority.”
  • “Get your lazy arses up!”
  • “Does anyone know another word for ‘douche-baggery’”
  • “I think your arse found it.”
  • “… superficial, materialistic, bitch…”
  • “Yeah, and I’ll kick your arse.”
  • “Sydney and her band of goobers are screwing with our plan.”
  • “I know you’re still pissed with me…”
  • “…screwed us over…”
  • “Hi, Ho”
  • “You are such a bitch”

In a nutshell

Sydney White is a modern day fairy tale based on Snow white and the seven dwarves. The main messages from this movie are that perseverance, friendship, loyalty and integrity will win over class and racial differences.

Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include:

  • Resisting peer group pressure.
  • Recognising and aiding minority groups, and the disadvantaged.
  • Loyalty in friendships.
  • Courage to stand up for what you believe in.
  • Resisting bullies.

This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss with their children the importance of not changing yourself to gain the acceptance of others. Parents may also wish to discuss promiscuity and sexual relations with respect to social status and popularity.