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It’s *Not* All That. The Highs and Lows of He’s All That


It’s *Not* All That. The Highs and Lows of He’s All That

When Netflix announced that they were re-making iconic 90’s rom com She’s All That with a 2021 twist (a TikTok influencer and a gender swap), I must admit I was initially skeptical.

The rom-com genre is rife with stunt casting (see: Paris Hilton in… anything), and TikTok influencers are the new *It* girls, so He’s All That doesn’t actually differ too far from it’s predecessors. However unlike Netflix’s other recent rom-com hits (To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, The Half Of It, The Knight Before Christmas), or even Netflix’s so-terrible-they’re-fun-to-watch movies (The Kissing Booth), this movie feels contrived, confusing and a little bit meh.

It’s just, *not* all that.


The Premise

She’s All That is a mid-tier teen romantic comedy from 1999. Based on George Bernard Shaw’s play Pygmalion the movie follows popular teen Zack, who after being dumped by his queen-bee girlfriend makes a bet with his friends to turn geeky Laney (she wears glasses) into Prom Queen. She gets a makeover (takes off her glasses), gets popular, and they fall in love. Sixpence None The Richer sings Kiss Me. It’s very sweet.

He’s All That takes the same premise (popular girl makes bet to turn unpopular boy (he wears a bad wig) into Prom King), gender swaps it, and adds social media into the mix (she’s a beauty influencer).

The Highs

  • Pastry based puns. ‘It’s Croquembouche, you croquemdouche.’ Comedy gold.
  • Casting She’s All That original cast members Rachael Leigh Cook and Matthew Lillard. Matthew Lillard dances to the techno remix of Kiss Me. He’s very good.
  • Love a Gatsby-themed party. Even if it’s an ironic one.
  • The budding romance between side characters Quinn and Nisha. Very cute.
  • When It girl Padgett and geek-boy Cameron sang a duet version of Teenage Dream. A sincere rom-com beat.
  • It was very lame, but when geek-boy Cameron rode up on a horse to the prom it was a very cute romance movie moment.

The Lows

  • All the editing gaffes. Lead girl Padgett starts a livestream from a phone that is CLEARLY not on, she’s captured handing out air instead of flyers to passers by, dialogue has clearly been added in post-production as characters are heard speaking but their mouths DON’T MOVE. This movie cost $20 million. Where did it go?!
  • The forced Gen Z dialogue. Make it stop.
  • Kourtney Kardashian. Was there. I guess.
  • The romance! We here at are understandably all about the Romance. And it just felt lackluster. Apart from the aforementioned horse scene, the leads had no chemistry, the love scenes fell flat and their

WTF Moments

  • A TikTok dance-off to determine the winners of Prom King and Queen. What kind of dystopian future have we entered?
  • Also how did everyone learn the same dance moves? We saw a scene where evil friend Aiden stole Padgett’s dance crew, so where was the scene where we watched Padgett’s friends learn a synchronised dance routine to help her win?
  • When rebel Celeste won runner-up Prom Queen after appearing for approx 2 seconds earlier in the film. Was this merely a joke to diss mean girl Aiden? Confused!
  • Also this, a classic teen makeover moment.

Missed Opportunities

  • ROMANCE. A lackluster romantic comedy can be saved if the leads have genuine chemistry (see: Falling Inn Love).
  • Playing the original version of the song Kiss Me by Sixpence None The Richer. Why did that need a techno remix to orchestrate a grand romantic gesture. I’ll repeat that. A TECHNO remix of Kiss Me.

Lingering Questions

  • Romantic comedies are full of ‘cute spontaneous moments’ that display the chemistry and likeability of its leads. Think the paintball scene in 10 Things I Hate About You or the cooking brussels sprouts scene in Bridget Jones’s Diary. Why did Netflix think that throwing horse poo would be cute? Why Netflix?!
  • So the answer to Padgett’s realisation that her beauty influencer brand is mostly fake… is to become a travel influencer instead? Deep.

In conclusion. Go watch the original. Or download TikTok. Or both.

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