As a teenage girl from the ’90s, I am definitely familiar with the teen romcom She’s All That. It’s the movie predecessor of He’s All That, now streaming on Netflix. It’s one of my absolute favorite teen movies so I definitely wasn’t crazy to know it was being rebooted. But Hollywood’s so big on reboots these days. Charlie’s Angels. Charmed. Gossip Girl. Makes me think they’re running out of original creative ideas to market to the Gen Z. I saw those three rebooted shows/movie by the way and they didn’t live up to the originals. Does He’s All That?
Before anything else, I’d like to put it out there that yes, it’s clear that I am not the target audience for this film. The creators clearly said it’s for the Gen Zs. And I’m a millennial. Still, I’m a big fan of romcoms. I mean He’s All That isn’t exactly the first teen romcom released by Netflix. I saw all three movies of The Kissing Booth and To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before. So yeah, I watched the She’s All That reboot as soon as it hit Netflix. I was curious to see how they were going to ruin my favorite teen romcom. Kidding! Partly.
Anyway, before I go on to share my thoughts on the film, here’s the trailer.
Initial Impressions From the Trailer
I saw the official trailer when it was shared by a high school friend in one of our chat groups. As someone who hasn’t gotten into the Tiktok craze, I definitely had no idea who the leading lady, Addison Rae, was. Well, actually I have no idea who Tanner Buchanan was either. Unlike it’s predecessor film, She’s All That, that had Freddie Prinze Jr. as one of its leads who has already been stealing the hearts of many teen girls like me long before the movie.
So if you’re familiar with She’s All That, you’d know that the movie’s most memorable soundtrack was Kiss Me by Sixpence None the Richer. That iconic song’s included in this movie too – it had a remix version which didn’t really bring on all the “kilig” feels as the original. Already a point against this movie for me.
Judging by the trailer, I thought it was kinda cute and funny. More funny than cute really which I may have to credit to the director, Mark Waters as he was also the guy behind another iconic teen film, Mean Girls. Also Cameron Kweller, the scruffy, plaid and beanie wearing dude looked hot when he finally got his makeover.
My Full Review of Teen Romcom He’s All That
Now that I’ve seen the full film, I’m ready to tell you guys what I thought of this movie. The movie’s premise was the same as its predecessor except it’s been gender swapped and updated to the times e.g. day and age of social media. With She’s All That, we saw geeky looking artist Laney Boggs (Rachael Leigh Cook) become hot after being made over by Zach Siller’s (Freddie Prinze Jr.) little sister and the two unlikely characters fall in love with each other.
I’ll get right to saying it – NO it doesn’t live up to the original. But that’s not to say I hated the entire thing. Actually, there were some redeeming qualities to it.
Things I Liked About the FilmTanner Buchanan. HOTTIE!
- The funny scenes. Padget’s mascara streaked eyes and snot nose definitely entertaining.
- The girl who played the little sister. What a strong character. Could actually feel her emotions with that acting.
- The picture worthy scenes: the pool party and the 20s birthday celebration
- The Teenage Dream song number of Padget and Cameron.
And the last and best thing I liked about this film? Matthew Lillard! He’s one of the two alumni actors from the original, She’s All That. In this teen romcom reboot, he plays the principal with the all funny quips that can only be heard from the school’s PA system for the majority of the movie. Then he stole the show with his dance moves at the prom.
That said, I think this movie though written by the same screenwriter as the original, R. Fleming Jr., missed the mark for me.
The forgettable Prom Dance Scene
This is maybe not as important as the rest of what I list down below. But for me, the prom dance scene from He’s All That pretty much forgettable. I’m talking about though because for me in She’s All That, the usher choreographed prom dance scene where they danced to FatBoy Slim’s Rockafeller Skank was a memorable scene (next to the staircase makeover reveal scene).
I can’t even remember the song they danced to at He’s All That.
Lack of emotions from the lead lady.
Maybe because Padget was a social media influencer, they chose to cast a real social media influencer too. Or maybe it’s because they wanted to get her fans to watch her big break on film. But honestly, bad choice of leading lady! Addison Rae was at ease when she played the bubbly and funny bits but you’d see her struggle on the serious moments. Her face really betrayed her. While you might hear her character saying “I like you”, it doesn’t really register in her eyes. It felt robotic.
One Sided Character Development.
In the original movie, She’s All That, both Zack and Laney grew as characters. You’d see why these two opposites were good for each other. I cannot say the same for He’s All That. Padget helped Cameron come out of his shell just like in the original story. But all I really got from Padget as a character development was her embracing a more natural look. She still cared about her social media followers. Only now she was abashedly sharing her new romance online. How is that even a character development?
Lack of Chemistry between the Two Leads.
She’s All That’s story was already cliché to begin with. But it was really the two actors who made that movie as memorable as it is. Together they just really brought on the kilig. When they looked at each other, audiences were being drawn to the scene. That there was a little something developing between these two. Not with He’s All That. I feel like every time there was a moment for Padget and Cameron to actually make me believe they were falling in love with each other, the scene breaks so abruptly.
I just cannot forget the staircase makeover scene from She’s All That. Laney Boggs, finally made over, slowly descends the stairs wearing that high heeled red shoes matched with that sexy chic red dress. The reaction on Zach Stiller’s face and her little brother were the same reaction I had, and probably the others too who saw that film for the first time then.
As we see a mouth agaped, Zack meet Laney’s eyes while Sixpence None the Richer’s Kiss Me Plays in the background, KILIG!!! And even when that romantic spell is broken when she trips and he catchers her, endearingly cute. Cannot say the same for He’s All That’s leads. Their version of makeover’s didn’t really hold a candle to the original.
For emphasis on the She’s All That makeover, please watch this:
I think maybe if you’re a Gen Z, you’d like He’s All That. Though not as much as The Kissing Booth or To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before. For millennials like me who know She’s All That, it’s just okay. They didn’t ruin it at least. Overall I think this movie will barely register in Gen Z memories in the future where they talk of super kakilig teen romcoms they watched. Also doesn’t beat the original even if this review says it does.