Is ‘He's All That’ Worth the Watch? A Millennial’s Honest Review of the ‘She's All That’ Sequel
*Warning: Spoilers ahead*
When I first heard Netflix was releasing a gender-swapped remake of the quintessential '90s teen film, She's All That, called He’s All That, I had mixed feelings. This immediate reaction was for a handful of reasons.
First, the original hasn’t exactly aged well, and if this movie were to follow the same type of concept, I wasn’t sure it was such a good idea. Second, the thought of a TikTok star-turned-actress (Addison Rae) front and center in the film didn’t exactly sit well with me. Before I go any further I should probably give some context. I’m a millennial who hasn’t necessarily immersed herself into the world of TikTok. And when I do, I prefer to watch hacks and funny content over dance videos from members of the Sway House. (Did I get that right?) Anyway, the thought of Rae taking a role once played by Freddie Prinze Jr. wasn’t getting me too excited.
Nevertheless, with all of this hesitation, I still decided to give it a shot—largely because I wanted to see cameos from Rachel Leigh Cook and Matthew Lillard, who both starred in the original. From what I had already read about the remake, I knew this flick was going to have a modernized plot. Rather than the school jock making a bet to take the nerdy/artsy girl and make her prom queen in order to win a bet, it was now the social media influencer (who prides herself on giving makeovers) attempting to take a photography outcast and turn him into the prom king.
Like I said above, both plotlines are somewhat problematic, so I was hoping this film would offer a fresh or clever take. Sadly, it was pretty much what I expected. From the beginning, it was clear the film was going to center around social media and be incredibly cheesy (and not the kind of To All the Boys cheesy we love). The first ten minutes give us a glimpse into the life of Padgett Sawyer (Rae), a popular high school senior who is focused on providing her over 800 thousand followers (yes, she says that) with endless beauty and lifestyle content on social media.
It’s not long before her following and sponsorships (that’s where Kourtney Kardashian comes in) become damaged when her “friend ” accidentally live-streams her walking in on her douchey boyfriend hooking with one of his backup dancers (how original). Eventually, to try and gain some of her life back, she makes a bet with her shady friend—the same one that filmed her meltdown and later steals her boyfriend—that she can turn social outcast, Cameron Kweller (Cobra Kai’s Tanner Buchanan), into this year's prom king.
Let me just say that there is nothing wrong with Cameron at the outset. He is visibly handsome, has a passion for art and photography and is a great older brother and friend. So, the idea of him being the biggest “loser” doesn't really fit. Sure, he maybe could use a shower or lose his attitude from time to time, but really he is in no need of a so-called makeover (which turns out to be a haircut and a suit). And the bullying he receives just seems harsh—at least three meals to the face, having his head slammed into a locker and being thrown into a garbage can.
After a few horseback riding lessons, trips to the mall and over-the-top parties together, (spoiler alert) the two fall for each other. Obviously, Cameron ultimately ends up hurt when he learns about the bet. Nothing new here.
In my opinion, Buchanan is the highlight of the film. Any scene I enjoyed usually had him in it and I found his character to be charming and sincere, unlike Rae’s. Although Prinze’s protagonist (antagonist?) was, for lack of a better word, kind of an ass, there was something about his apology and feelings for Laney that seemed a bit more realistic to me.
Overall, the flick feels a bit like we are rehashing the same themes that weren’t particularly acceptable back in the '90s. The idea of a remake seems fairly unnecessary. Sure, the young cast and modern themes add somewhat of a fresh take, but it's for the most part the same. That being said, I can’t say I hated it. I was entertained and even nostalgic at times—particularly when “Kiss Me” by Sixpence None The Richer played at the prom. Plus, at least I got those cameos I was looking forward to.
PUREWOW RATING: 3 STARS
He’s All That was decent enough to keep me engaged. I think fans of the first may appreciate what Netflix was trying to do and younger fans will be happy to just see their favorite TikToker on streaming. But we're still not loving the idea of taking someone “different” and “transforming” them in order to be “popular.”
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