Director: Robert Iscove
Screenplay by: R. Lee Fleming Jr.
Starring: Freddie Prinze Jr. Rachael Leigh Cook, Matthew Lillard, Paul Walker, Jodi Lyn O’Keefe, Elden Henson and Kieran Culkin
Netflix have just released He’s All That, a gender-swapping remake of the 1999 film, She’s All That, which is a reimagining of the play Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw. Apparently 1999 was the year for teen high school comedies based on classic plays. She’s All That was released two months after 10 Things I Hate About You, which was based on Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew.
Zackery Siler (Freddie Prinze Jr, Scooby-Doo) is the most popular guy in school, he has his pick of collages to attend and his dream girlfriend. Nothing can go wrong, until his girlfriend comes home from a trip and breaks up with him. He makes a bet with some friends that he can make anyone prom queen by taking them and sets his eyes on Laney Boggs (Rachael Leigh Cook, Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children). Laney is a geek and an outcast, who spends more time in her basement than at parties.
The plot to this film is completely by the numbers. You know that going in and it doesn’t do anything unexpected. From the first few minutes you know every major plot point, every twist and the ending. It’s all be done before and since in every which way. Despite that, the film is still decent enough to be enjoyable.
The performances are all good and everyone is charming enough to make the jokes land, the emotional moments feel real. There are a lot of people in this film. Aside the two leads, there’s Matthew Lillard (Scooby-Doo, Scream), Paul Walker (Fast and Furious), Anna Paquin (True Blood), Elden Henson (Daredevil) and Kieran Culkin (Scott Pilgrim). Everyone is great and makes the film that much more in enjoyable just to spot them.
She’s All That is a standard high school rom-com. It does nothing special and is an enjoyable film while it’s on. It pales in comparison to 10 Things I Hate About You, which is a highlight of the genre, and probably suffered from being released so close to it.