‘He’s All That’ doesn’t live up to its Pepperdine Graphic rom-com legacy
The official poster for “He’s All That” shows Addison Rae and Tanner Buchanan posing behind the film’s title. The poster itself is a reference to its source material, as the title font mimics that of the “She’s All That” poster. Image courtesy of Netflix
Released in 1999, “She is all that”Is a classic teenage romantic comedy that remains popular today. The film is so loved that it inspired a remake 22 years later – the 2021 film “He is all that, featuring TIC Tac Super star Addison rae.
“He’s All That” premiered on August 25, Netflix, and is nowhere near as well done or entertaining as “She’s All That”, with both mediocre performance and production. Product placement overload, an untrained lead actor, and a clear disconnect between filmmakers and audiences make “He’s All That” an objectively poorly done film.
This movie essentially tells the same story as “She’s All That”, with a few crucial changes. The biggest change is the gender of the main characters, with the popular kid being a girl and the loser getting a makeover a boy. Rae plays the film’s lead female role, Padgett Sawyer, while Leatherworker Buchanan plays his counterpart, Cameron Kweller. The other big difference between the two stories is that Padgett is a social media star and his trademark deals play a major role in the story.
Rae has 84.7 million subscribers on TIC Tac, and brings exposure to any project she is working on. If a movie wants buzz – positive or negative – then casting it is a sure-fire way to get it. A lot of people watched this movie to see her acting debut, creating pressure for her to deliver, which she did not completely fail to do.
For about the first half of the movie, Rae delivers a passable performance as Padgett – and only starts doing a bad job when he’s trying to express deeper emotion.
There’s a scene in which Cameron tells Padgett about her mother’s death in a tragic plane crash, and Rae can’t seem to make it seem like she’s really affected by it at all. This inability to express anything beyond being happy or satisfied as an actor can be attributed to his lack of formal training rather than his lack of overall ability.
While watching “He’s All That”, it’s impossible to miss the frequent product placements in the film. The most egregious example is a scene in which a character asks if he can “get KFC go, ”then immediately eats a bucket of chicken that’s literally in the middle of the shot. Padgett is an influencer who promotes beauty products on her TikTok live broadcasts, and Rae’s association with the app makes it an obvious branding deal for the film, but other star companies like Doritos Where Old navy are out of place and off-putting to viewers.
The main problem with this film is that it clearly doesn’t know who its audience is. Netflix launched a popular influencer with a very young demographic, while the film is a remake of a story important to much older people and included performances by Rachel Leigh Cook and Matthew Lillard, the two members of the “She’s All That” cast. This film has explicit language and makes several references to people having sex, including at least one fairly graphic innuendo, which also matures the content of the film.
The quality of “He’s All That” paired with its main character seems to appeal to a very young audience. There is a long dance battle scene at the end of the movie that reinforces this. There is a distinct disconnect in the film on the production side and that creates a lot of issues that make the film difficult to watch.
Many of the issues in this film would be resolved with more clarity within the production team as to who this is for and maybe even removing its association with “She’s All That”. This story would make a lot more sense as a standalone movie than as a failed attempt at a remake of a classic.
“It’s All That” isn’t the worst movie of the year, but it’s deeply flawed. Some reviews completely panoramic the movie, but it’s not as bad as they claim; there are just issues within production which, if resolved, would increase it considerably.
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