Small rant, hardly even a thing: When we older millennials look back on the teen movies of our youth, yeah, they’re problematic. She’s All That had a cruel but common theme for its time (1999): a popular jock (Freddie Prinze Jr.) made a disgusting bet with his friends that he could transform a loser (Rachel Leigh Cook) into a hottie. It’s a disgusting premise and I totally understand wanting to redeem ourselves, but a simple gender flip was never going to do it. With a teenager girl in the driver’s seat, it’s less sexist but just as gross. We can do better.
The Premise: Padgett (Addison Rae) (but what kind of name is Padgett?) is an influencer with enough followers and pull to earn significant sponsorship, enough to pose as at least as wealthy as her friends at an incredibly affluent high school. When a live feed goes totally wrong, earning both a bad breakup and an even worse meme, her loss of sponsor puts everything in jeopardy. Her plan to win them back involves picking her high school’s biggest loser (Tanner Buchanan) and surreptitiously makeover him into someone not just datable, not just fuckable, but prom kingable.
The Verdict: Part teen romance, part shameless product placement, it’s very easy to not take He’s All That very seriously. Turns out, people still don’t like finding out that they’re bets, and frankly I’m surprised that Padgett’s mommy never warned her against them. Single mother Anna, played by Rachel Leigh Cook, should know better. Matthew Lillard, who also appeared in the original, now more than 20 years ago, plays the high school principal. Lessons will be learned, teenagers will be crowned, if you’re over 30 you’ll feel ancient, social media will be lionized, Kourtney Kardashian will prove behind a shadow of a doubt that she is not an actor, Kiss Me will be covered, and by God, there will be dance offs. For some reason.