Director(s): Mark Waters
Writer(s): R. Lee Flemming Jr.
Cast: Addison Rae, Tanner Buchanan, Maddison Pettis
Synopsis: A teenage girl sets out to give a nebbish classmate the ultimate high school makeover. An updated remake of the 1999 film, ‘She’s All That’.
We live in an extremely online generation. A generation where people like “Tik Tok Stars” are more popular than athletes, artists, and Oscar winning actors. Teens today have a completely different outlook on life, and with that outlook comes a completely different set of problems and challenges that teens even 10-20 years ago didn’t have to go through. This could be one of the reasons why even though the director of the ultra classic Mean Girls and the writer of One Tree Hill both felt outdated to be a part of this movie.
To try to combat this unknowing of todays virtual landscape, they employed one of the biggest influencers of the “Tik Tok Era” of social media in Addison Rae, who truly did have her moments where she felt like an actress. The issue came in there were just a few more moments in which she didn’t. Nonetheless, I think she can have some sort of acting career, she just needs to be better than this.
The decision to hire her for the lead truthfully could have been a great one had they would have used her knowledge of this world they are trying to portray, but instead she felt more like a guest on a series of YouTube skits. She felt, at times, out of place and even though this movie is clearly about her, there were moments in which she felt like she was begging for a spotlight that wasn’t her.
She wasn’t the worst part about this film though. As I said earlier, this movie felt more like YouTube skits peppered with weird subplots and locations. Filled with massive houses and fancy cars, the entire plot of this film is so un-relatable to the average viewer. There are moments where you can tell they knew they were getting away from portraying the average person, so they added in sub-plots to try to make these characters feel more grounded, but it is hard to relate to someone when the worst thing that happens to them is they lose a couple thousand followers and a sponsorship. The issue comes in which these sub-plots are never expanded upon and feel more like forceful entries than an honest addition to the film.
Not to mention, this movie has the kind of egregious product placement that makes part of it feel more like an Advertisement rather than a film. These kinds of “commercials”, including an insanely on the nose mention of Pizza Hut, KFC, and Blue Bloods, really added to the fact that this film felt more like a YouTube skit, because after 5 seconds of watching I was reaching for the “Skip Ads” button.
However, aside from the rest of the issues, the biggest thing thing this movie was lacking was any sort of charm. There wasn’t any moment of this film where I felt anything towards it. I couldn’t relate to it, I didn’t care about the characters, and overall there just wasn’t anything tangible from this film. I know this type of media can be done, as we see it in shows like High School Musical The Musical The Series, but He’s All That just felt lifeless, or… maybe that was just how I felt actually watching it.
Final: I am all for bringing back the Early 2000s cheesy Teen RomComs, but He’s All That just ain’t it.
Jacob is a film critic and co-founder of the Music City Drive-In. He is a member of the Music City Film Critics’ Association and specializes in the awards season. You can find him on Twitter @Tberry57.