— by Larry Carroll
BEVERLY HILLS, California — Women and men have essentially different outlooks on virtually everything, and neither can ever truly know what it's like to see through the eyes of the other gender — excepting perhaps only the likes of RuPaul, various denizens of "The Jerry Springer Show" and the entire transgender community. For the new gender-bending comedy "She's the Man," Amanda Bynes and her co-stars got to see what life is like on the other side of the fence. And, according to them, you don't want to go there.
In one breath, Bynes detailed the film's labyrinthine plot, which entails the 19-year-old actress donning sideburns and fake mustaches: "I play a girl who has to dress up as a guy in order to get on the boys' soccer team, in order to beat her ex-boyfriend, and [she] ends up falling in love with [her] roommate. But," she continued, now referring to her character in the first person, "I am dressed up as a guy, and he loves this girl who loves me when I am dressed up as a guy, and I end up falling in love with him more, and he ends up falling in love with me once he figures out that I am a girl." Whew!
Collecting herself after such an exhausting exegesis, Bynes described the attributes she'd adopt if she could play for the other team for a day. "I would adjust myself," she grinned. "I'd look at myself for a little bit. And then I would probably go to the gym and check out cute girls. I would be like the worst guy ever."
"I think I would crawl directly back into bed and pray that when I woke up again, I would be a man," added Bynes' co-star and romantic lead, "Coach Carter" star Channing Tatum. "I don't think there is anything that I would enjoy doing as a girl."
Robert Hoffman, who plays one of Bynes' friends in the film, said he'd go directly to the gym as well, albeit not the room containing treadmills and elliptical trainers. "I'd go to the showers, come on!" he exclaimed. "God forbid, I am a guy."
"I would probably go to the shower too," admitted Laura Ramsey, the "Lords of Dogtown" actress who plays the object of Tatum's affection in the film. "I think it would be very interesting to be a fly on the wall while guys are talking among themselves."
But any benefits involved in such a switch, the stars agreed, would be overshadowed by all those cumbersome new body parts. "I wouldn't want the junk in the trunk, or in the front part, that front hood," chuckled Bynes.
"I would probably not want to deal with my lovely lady humps everywhere," Tatum added, referencing one of the more omnipresent Black Eyed Peas songs. "They would be annoying just to deal with. I have enough problems."
For Bynes, however, becoming a guy was every bit as unpleasant. "One of the worst parts about playing a guy is just the extensive amount of padding, binding, glue and the 40 layers of clothes to pad me and make me look manly," she remembered. "I was playing soccer and it was 90 degrees out. I don't mean to sound like I'm whining, but it was really hot and I would get heat rashes."
Calling Bynes' transformation "creepy," Ramsey said, "Her personality changed. I was in awe: She was like a guy."
In order to truly cross over to the other side, however, Bynes knew that makeup and clothes weren't enough. "In order to master the art of [impersonating a man], I went to the mall with [director] Andy Fickman," she recalled. "We watched how guys walked and acted when they were with girls. One of the things that I noticed is most guys act like they're not taken when they walk with girls. And most of the time it was always the girl clinging onto the guy. It was as if no matter what girl they were with, [guys] always wanted to appear like they weren't with anyone, so in case somebody cuter walked up, they would be ready to snatch her."
Now that she has some new insights to share regarding the gender divide, Bynes said women need to cut their men a bit more slack. "One of the great things about playing a guy was being able to learn that most men just want to be treated normally and want to be liked," she insisted. "One of the soccer guys told me, 'I like you better when you're a guy,' and I asked him 'What does that mean?'
"He said, 'You talk to me more when you are a guy,' " Bynes continued. "As a girl, when you might not talk because you feel insecure, sometimes people can mistake it for arrogance. That taught me to always be open and never assume anything about anyone."
"Everybody's insecure," Bynes reasoned. "I'm really shy in person. But getting to play a guy, I got to do all of the things that I've always wanted."
The transformation also taught her one final lesson: "I'm a hideous man."