Few actresses crashed and burned faster than Amanda Bynes. There have been many cases of child actors flaming out, with the sad stories of Corey Haim, Dana Plato and Brad Renfro showing how excess can lead to a tragic end. Even names like Lindsay Lohan and Britney Spears show how a one-time child idol can head down a destructive road.
Bynes was different. She had a squeaky clean image. While Lohan’s life fell apart for all to see, it was Bynes who remained on the straight and narrow. As a result, Lohan’s career stalled while Bynes was the star of a number of quality movies. Yet, according to a recent write-up in The Hollywood Reporter, she was never happy with the direction of her career and wanted more.
Now the actress claims she is retired, and faces jail time for numerous auto mishaps, as well as numerous reports of her starting to crack under the spotlight. If she is leaving the Hollywood life, here is a look at some of the highlights of her once successful film career.
“What a Girl Wants”
In 2003, TV star Amanda Bynes broke out of her small screen career to make the move to the big screen. Her breakout role came in the comedy “What a Girl Wants.” Bynes plays an American teen named Daphne who learns that her real father is a British politician running for office (Colin Firth). She travels to meet him, only to find that his snobbish family does not approve. The comedy is a fish out of water story and proved that Bynes was a talent on the rise.
“She’s the Man”
Three years later, Bynes starred in the romantic comedy “She’s the Man” as a high school girl who wants to play soccer, despite her mother demanding that she take part in beauty pageants. When her school drops the girl’s soccer program, she disguises herself as her twin brother and heads to his boarding school to join the boy’s soccer team. Channing Tatum stars as a fellow soccer player that she falls. It is a surprisingly charming and fun movie, despite its cheesy storyline, and much of that is due to the chemistry between Bynes and Tatum.
Another surprisingly good movie came out one year later, as Bynes starred in “Sydney White,” a modern day retelling of the Disney classic “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.” Sydney heads to college and pledges for her deceased mother’s sorority. However, when the snobbish Greek system shuns her, she ends up living in a dorm with seven outcasts. It is a funny, fresh take on the old fairy tale.
This was about the time that Bynes was tiring of the teeny-bopper roles she portrayed. In this great romantic comedy, Bynes was a supporting character, playing an overly religious high school student. In “Easy A,” Emma Stone stars as a girl who becomes very popular when she lies about losing her virginity, but then becomes an outcast when students determine she is now easy. Bynes character is an instigator, a self-righteous hypocrite.
If Bynes is truly retired, that role was her final one before disappearing from the spotlight for two years. With her popping up now in tabloids, it is only a matter of time before her off-screen exploits overshadow these wonderful movies. That would be tragic.