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Why ads for Amanda Bynes' flick were edited. In the original poster, the tween star is shown flashing a peace sign -- too risky a statement in wartime, Warner Bros. decided

Amanda Bynes, What a Girl Wants | FINGER FOOD FOR THOUGHT The original poster (right), and the modified one
FINGER FOOD FOR THOUGHT The original poster (right), and the modified one

Okay, so Madonna cavorting around in military fatigues and hurling a grenade at a President Bush look-alike, in the now-pulled video ''American Life'' -- which was supposed to debut on VH1 -- may not have earned her any patriotic fans. But it hardly takes a bomb these days to make entertainers fear a backlash.

Warner Bros. (which, like EW, is owned by AOL Time Warner) apparently believes that flashing your first two fingers these days is as provocative as flipping the middle one, and has therefore created a new advertising image for the teen comedy ''What a Girl Wants,'' which stars Amanda Bynes as an American adrift on British shores. The original poster, which was designed last fall and remains in theaters and on billboards, shows the star standing between two British royal guards, wearing an American-flag tank top and making a peace sign. While a studio spokesperson says no one has complained, recent newspaper ads show Bynes with her hands by her sides.

''In a time of war, we made a slight alteration so that we could avoid any potential political statement in a completely nonpolitical film,'' explains the rep. As of ''Girl'''s Friday opening, the guards will have vanished from the picture too, in order to make room for critics' quotes, a change the spokesperson says was always intended. It seems a thumbs-up, at least, is still acceptable.

Originally posted Apr 07, 2003 Published in issue #704 Apr 11, 2003 Order article reprints