He’s All That is NOT All That Bad

The 90s reverse rom-com may have won its target audience.

Reboots are the new wave for rehashing classics to Gen Z while coming off as cringy as possible.

Tiktok star Addison Rae debuts her acting career as the lead in He’s All That, the gender-bending rom-com of the original, She’s All That

Since its announcement in September 2020, the highly awaited movie hit Netflix screens on Friday, August 27.

The same writer, R. Lee Fleming Jr., returns for its modern adaptation of switching roles and adhering to the teen struggles of today. Or at least attempts to.

Director of Mean Girls and Mr. Popper’s Penguins, Mark Waters, took on the film amidst the backlash of hiring the actress’s naivete on the big screen while handling the beloved classic.

The film also stars familiar teen drama actor Tanner Buchanan as Cameron Kweller, the subject of the revived bet. Alongside Madison Pettis, Peyton Meyer and members of the original ensemble Rachael Leigh Cook and Matthew Lillard.

Fatima Moien (Netflix)

The movie presents the dependency on a brand sponsorship for the young influencer, Padgett Sawyer, played by Rae.

The establishing shot pans into the teenager’s routine of conceptualizing the ultimate perfect life in constant live streaming, posting updates, yet hiding her real place in society.

The audience gets hit with a reality check when Padgett runs in heels from her humble home to a boujee loft to get driven to school by her “entitled trust fund” friends.

As art imitates the off-camera life of Rae, her platform of followers on apps like Tiktok and Instagram gets recognized as the catalyst for her chagrining public meltdown.

The social experiment is Padgett’s way of redeeming her reputation to continue her college funding sponsorship. Which, in hindsight, makes sense for teen entrepreneurs today.

Padgett’s social life is juxtaposed to Cameron’s scruffy, free-spirit character mold. In which her task is to morph the “antisocial loser” into Prom King.

Fans can spot similarities in both films, as artistic skills still showcase the teenage anomaly trope. But, as painting was for Laney (Rachael Leigh Cook), photography for Cameron comes with the baggage of grief and expression.

The film is far from perfect, but it may exceed expectations for its target audience of high schoolers.

The movie insinuates the performative and out-of-touch nature of many young adults in the film, teetering around the theme of “acting like someone you’re not.”

Viewers can find themselves invested in the social media commentary coming from Rae as she has amassed her own following of 83 million users on her Tiktok.

Yet, its execution failed to be realistic. 

Buchanan’s effort to come off as a social outcast can be equated to the original film presenting Laney as ugly because she wore glasses.

The Cobra Kai actor lacks chemistry with Rae as their built-up relationship is forced and anticipated. Also, critics have not held back on their views on the newcomer’s delivery of lines and lack of emotional range.

Rae’s bubbly online persona makes it hard to distinguish her from Paggett, having their similarities. Still, it comes off unsuitable in the final cut.

Awkward cameos straight from Rae’s outside social bubble join the “bubble girl,” as Kourtney Kardashian and ex-boyfriend Bryce Hall are given brief screen time.

Fatima Moien (Netflix)

The overall premise remains the same. There are backstabbing relationships, the prom king/queen race, and outdated transformations for more than one character. 

The fast-paced editing of the romance between Paggett and Cameron is achieved in the usual 90 minute rom-com time. However, the choppy cuts missed their mark, making it harder to follow any connection between the actors. 

The film’s real crime is that it’s not a sequel hence not bringing back Freddie Prinze Jr., Mr. Popular from the nineties. However, Rachael Leigh Cook and Matthew Lillard pay homage to their prior work by hinting at subtle easter eggs.

He’s All That can be streamed exclusively on Netflix.