How do you pick a mediocre 90s teen rom-com, rehash it & make it even worse? Watch the 2021 film ‘He’s All That’ and you will know just how. Directed by Mark Waters and written by R. Lee Fleming, who are both in their 50s, this teen-romance ends up looking like a denouncement of a generation that chronicles every little ridiculous thing they do on their instagrams and tik-toks. Maybe a younger person perspective would’ve given this re-boot more personality, instead of a social media cringe-fest.
For the uninitiated, ‘He’s All That’ is a re-make of the 1999 movie ‘She’s All That’, about a popular guy making a bet with his friends that he can pick any random girl on campus and make her prom queen within weeks. In the 2021 version, the gender roles are reversed, it’s popular teen social media star Padgett Sawyer (Addison Rae) who breaks up with her boyfriend, then makes a bet that she can pick any ‘loser’ and make him the next prom king.
If you’ve seen ‘She’ All That’, except for the gender reversal, everything is pretty much the same, except that the leads are nowhere as charming as the 90s cast & there’s a LOT of social-media/selfies. Rachael Leah Cook who was the protagonist in the older flick plays Padgett’s mom in the new one. Tanner Buchanan of ‘Cobra Kai’ fame plays Cameron Kweller, the ‘loser’ who becomes Padgett’s pet project. Buchanan looks like a lost pup throughout most of the movie, like he has very little idea what he is doing. Although, he does have a lot of fun, sarcastic lines that will crack up the viewers in the first half. But things gets completely boring, cringe-worthy and snooze-inducing in the second-half. Kweller was ‘cooler’ as the loser, than the well-groomed love-struck pup Padgett turns him into.
Addison Rae is thoroughly awkward as Padgett, even though she pretty much gets to play herself – a young ‘influencer’. And her side-kick friends are regrettably forgettable. Actually, everyone is. No points for guessing what happens in the end, so not going to write anything about the climax. It’s as cliche as cliche gets. The background music is ‘blah’. The cinematography is also about average. Not one scene stands out in my mind. The message of ‘accept yourself for who you are’ has been done better in countless other films.
It’s a 4/10 from me. If you have nothing better to do, and want to watch a silly flick with your friend(s), but don’t want to invest too much attention, ‘He’s All That’ might not be a bad pick. My friends might not agree.
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