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‘He’s All That’ Review: Higher stakes but a lukewarm outcome

The official cover of “He’s All That”. Netflix released its newest reboot. PUBLIC DOMAIN

Cue Sixpence None the Richer’s “Kiss Me”; Laney Boggs walks in slow-motion down the stairs in her gorgeous makeover, only to clumsily trip into the arms of Zack Slier, her love interest. This iconic scene from the 90s classic “She’s All That” is still memorable in the hearts of fans all over the world. 

For those who are not too familiar, in Robert Iscove’s “She’s All That,” Freddie Prinze Jr. plays extroverted and charming jock Jack Slier, who is publicly dumped by his girlfriend, and out of frustration accepts a bet by a friend that he can turn any nerdy girl into the next prom queen. 

The 2021 reboot by Mark Waters, “He’s All That, portrays the same concept, in a way that is in tune with today’s generation. In this gender-flipped version, teen social media influencer Padgett, played by TikTok star Addison Rae, catches her boyfriend cheating and has a meltdown unfortunately caught on a live stream. Because of this internet humiliation, she loses an important brand sponsorship that was helping her pay bills and save money for college.

To save her reputation, brand endorsements and followers, she turns Cameron, played by Tanner Buchanan, who is seen as the biggest loser, into her high school’s prom king as a bet made with her friend Alden, played by Madison Pettis. 

The idea of having Padgett not only be a teen influencer, but one who uses the money she gets to help her mom pay the bills was an interesting take on the previous version, as the stakes of the bet are now much higher. One would think since the new version is written by the same writer as the original, it would have been of the same quality, yet it felt like a lazy attempt for a remake with so much potential. 

For instance, in “She’s All That,” Zack tries to impress Rachael Leigh Cook’s Laney, by going out of his comfort zone and doing very interpretative performance art. In the newer version, Padgett learns that Cameron rides horses and takes riding lessons with him. This had the potential of being a cute romantic scene between the two, but there was almost no spark between the potential lovers.

Throughout the course of the movie — even in the iconic makeover scene with Cameron — there was little chemistry between the actors.

In the scene when the two were sitting on the floor of Cameron’s red room, the “lovebirds” gazed into each other’s eyes and were connecting on a deeper level. While this was a turning point in their relationship, the scene felt too forced and inauthentic. 

However, it was quite entertaining to see Buchanan use his “Cobra Kai” skills in one scene where he beats up Padgett’s ex-boyfriend for hitting on his younger sister; the addition of this scene helped the movie feel less like a remake and more refreshing. 

When Padgett and her friends watch Cameron at school, Quinn, played by Myra Molloy, describes him as being nonexistent because of his lack of social media presence. As they learn more about Cameron, Padgett says he is “weird, arrogant, [and] antisocial.” Still, it was hard to imagine his character to be known as a loser at school when his entire personality represents the “soft boi aesthetic,” which is quite popular in today’s teen generation. 

 As this was Rae’s first acting experience, her performance overall wasn’t bad, but she was not convincing in emotional scenes where her tone sounded like someone acting upset rather than a person emoting, and her facial expressions rarely changed.

The reboot had mixed reactions, with some expressing that it was not that bad — but not necessarily good either.

Although the “He’s All That” reboot was disappointing, it still had some entertaining aspects to its credit and had cameos of the actors from the original who helped carry the film. Despite the mixed reactions, the movie trended on Netflix’s top 10 in several countries such as the U.S., U.K., Brazil, Mexico and India.

This film isn’t for everyone, but if you need something to pass the time or want a fluff movie for a night in, then this would definitely work as a last resort when your Netflix queue dries up.

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