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