Film Review: He’s All That

Netflix’s remake of the 1999 romance She’s All That sees Tik Tok influencer Addison Rae determined to make Tanner Buchanan the next Prom King in this gender-swapped retake.

Padgett Sawyer (Addison Rae) is a wannabe Instagram influencer (not far from her reality) who lives with her single mother – played by She’s All That original cast member Rachael Leigh Cook. As she goes to surprise her boyfriend, fellow influencer, and aspiring hip hop artist Jordan Van Draanen (star of Girl Meets World, Peyton Meyer) she discovers he is cheating on her with his background dancer and she is humiliated live on Instagram, resulting in her losing some of her followers.

To build up her following again, and to try and gain back her sponsorship deal, her frenemy Alden (Madison Pettis) sets a bet with her to turn the school’s least popular boy Cameron Kweller (Tanner Buchanan) into the school’s prom king. As Padgett sets her eyes on Cameron, she starts to surprise herself as she helps Cameron on his way to becoming popular. What will be in store for the two?

As a romantic film enthusiast, it is by no surprise I have seen the original film many times, as it can be seen as a cult classic. What I appreciated in this remake – a film double the production value of the original at $20 million – is how close they kept to the original, as in some remakes it will only be loosely based on the remake.

Image credit: Netflix

This made the film easy to follow and allowed me to notice what fans may see as homage to the original which made the film a comforting watch as well. For instance, take at the end, when it is the school’s night of the prom, Padgett’s mum, who is of course Rachael Leigh Cook who starred as Laney Boggs in She’s All That, as a cover of Sixpence None The Richer’s Kiss Me sung Cyn, Matias Mora and BettinaBergström plays. Rachael begins to dance and questions where she has heard the song before. It was simple scenes like this that I loved as a reminder of the original.

The romance between Padgett and Cameron was something that did grow on me as the film went on, and that is predicted as we saw their fondness for each other grow. Cameron is a very closed off character, so when he decides to show Padgett his dark room and give her an insight into his love for photography, I will admit I sighed in awe at the cuteness I saw as it was this scene, they shared their first kiss. What made it even sweeter was before the kiss, and he questions why she doesn’t let people see the real her. It’s the romance between the two as well that made the moral of the story shine through even more showing how someone who deeply cares about you can bring out the true you, and the best in you.

It is something I’ve already mentioned but the soundtrack did surprise me. I was expecting the music to be cringe and not fit, but in places I think it worked really well. Of course, my standout favourite was the feature of the cover of Kiss Me. However, a track that did also stand out to me was Padgett performing Katy Perry’s Teenage Dream at her friend’s birthday party, which later saw Cameron join her on stage to help her finish the song.

Now, I will admit this film was very cringy… Not all the cringe was bad, as it brought the fun to the film in places, such as at the end where Cameron comes riding in on a horse to confess his feelings for Padgett (finally) at their senior prom. However, the cringe in other places was just too much… Take Peyton Meyer playing Padgett’s ex-boyfriend Jordan.

After originally seeing him in Girl Meets World, I found it a shame to see his character (and look) so different to when he was in the Disney programme. His singing, his dancing and I’m sorry to say his acting was too much to handle for this film, and I with many other fans of his was disappointed to see him in such a different character change.

It is also the fact Kourtney Kardashian was in it as well? It was definitely a surprising cast choice, and I will admit it felt very random.

He’s All That did surprise me however, as although it was a cringe-fest, it is one of them films I would definitely watch again for the over-the-top romance and the giggles it brings, and not forgetting the homage to one of my favourite films.

By Katie Green

Image credit: Rolling Stone

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