Review: 'He's All That' VS 'She's All That'

Cast: Tanner Buchanan, Addison Rae, Madison Pettis, Peyton Meyer, Isabella Crovetti and Annie Jacob

Director: Mark Waters

Dare of Release: August 27th, 2021

Plot: After an incident causes her to  negatively   go viral, a social media  influencer embarks on a bet to turn a  school outcast  into Prom King.

 Where to begin with this unexpected gender swaped remake of the 1999 teen film, which in turn was a modern take of George Bernard Shaw's play and film Pygmalion and George Cukor's My Fair Lady. She's All That starred Rachel Leigh Cook as the antisocial Lane Boggs, Freddie Prinze Jr as the school jock Zach Siler who bets he can turn her to Prom Queen material and Jodi Lyn O'Keefe as Zach's malicious ex and Laney's rival. During that time, Laney gradually comes out of her shell and Zack finds himself and falls in love with her, dramatically accepting the loss of the bet but winning Laney. 

He's All That is a modern update of the story, today's social media obession playing a huge role and of course the divide between the popular kids and the outcasts. 
Giving that the original source material focused on a young woman given a makeover and a radical change in her speech, makes you wonder why a young boy is now made the focus, probably to show the female gender aren't the only ones that get downtrodden by the cool cliques. 

My review.

He's All That isn't half as bad as most people say it is but it  definitely doesn't hold a candle to She's All That, it simply tries too hard. Instead, it simply presents the obsession with social media and further glamorises the shallow  world of social influencers. The main character, Paget Sawyer (Rae) isn't a sympathetic character- she's a hypocritical social influcencer who presents herself as the perfect person with the perfect life and perfect home, chrononically filming almost every walking moment of her life to her many, many, many followers 🙄, and gaining cash from her sponsor Jessica, played by 🙄 Kourtney Kardashian.

But her perfect  bubble bursts when she catches her equally shallow boyfriend Jordan (Peyton Meyer) making out with one of his backup dancers- the fight and her reaction going viral, much to her acute humiliation and Jessica and many of her followers  dropping her. Her choice of redeeming herself as a 'who's all that' is accepting a challenge from a so called best friend to turn one of the school's losers  into 'an all that' dude, and get him voted as Prom King. 

Enter Cameron Keller. Cameron, played by Cobra Kai's Tanner Buchanan, while artistic like his female counterpart from the original film (he's a photographer while she was a painter), is a bit less antisocial. Unlike Laney, he sees the world from his own unique perspective rather than all dark like she did, he boldly tells it like it is to his tormentors instead of keeping it to himself, he has a disdain for digital technology- hence does not own a smartphone-and social media itself, likening Paget's swarm of followers to a cult.
 Wary at first, he warms to Paget, gives her riding lessons, turns eyes after his makeover and goes  viral after he publicly beats up Jordan for making sexual advances on his sister (his martial skills from Cobra Kai in full display), and at the same time gives Paget a new outlook without being negative or overly judgemental, revealing more about himself. Paget meanwhile, gradually  realises the difference between acheving followers and actually  influencing people and what was far more important to her... predictable.
 He's All That heavily  relied a lot on social media and the focus was supposed to be Paget being Cameron's Pygmalion. However, she wasn't qualified for that task when  she wasn't even true to herself. Cameron was clearly a young man who could look after himself and far more mature than Paget. He just needed to let go of his inner grief and show people there was more to him than people saw.

She's All That was able to present Zach as Laney's Pygmalion, even though he was not perfect himself, but at least he was not a fake- he just needed to find himself, while Laney needed to come out of her shell and stop pushing people away. They learned from each other. 

 Still, there's  the hearwarming moment where Cameron made a unique  'prom proposal', much to Paget's delight, until it got ruined by her spiteful ex best friend who took malicious delight in exposing her and of course, hurting Cameron, who is justifiably angry, using the same words Laney used after the bet is revealed... 'I'm a fucking bet?!' 

The film had two cast members from the original film, Rachel Leigh Cook who played Laney and Matthew Lillard who played Taylor's self absorbed shortlived new boyfriend Brock.

  Here, Rachel played Paget's loving and hardworking mother who calmly sweeps her daughter's misdeeds under the rug, and Matthew as the school's principal whose announcements over the school's public address system  didn't  have the dramatic flair of the school's DJ (played by Usher Raymond) from the original film. However, we did get to see Matthew execute some surprisingly great dance steps to (a nod but thankfully not a rendition of his character's cringey dance scene in the original film) the remix of Six Pence None The Richer's Kiss Me,-the original film's main theme-which was far better than the Y2k21 prom dance off by the students, in my opinion. The film ends with forgiveness of course and Paget still a social influcencer BUT a more positive one, Cameron a willing partner. The terms of the bet for the loser fell flat but at least we see the happy couple ride off into the sunset and go exploring. 

He's All That tried its best but She's All That wins. 


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