Monday, April 15, 2024

Movie Review: ‘He’s All That’ Is Bad, But It’s Also Camp

Director: Mark Waters
Writers: R. Lee Fleming Jr.
Stars: Addison Rae, Tanner Buchanan, Madison Pettis

Synopsis: A teenage girl sets out to give a nebbish classmate the ultimate high school makeover. An updated remake of the 1999 film, “She’s All That”.


New types of influencers only continue to pop up as technology develops. Ten years ago, Instagram didn’t even exist, and now people can make entire careers either posting pictures of themselves with sponsorships or by running a company’s social media pages. A study done by Lego in 2019 reported that almost a third of children ages 8 to 12 said they wanted to be YouTubers when they grew up. Now, we have the short-form video app TikTok, which is only spawning more careers. Of those, Addison Rae is one of the highest paid on the new app, and her career is quickly taking off. She’s well known to the younger crowd, and that’s just what Netflix needs to make a rom-com hit.

It’s no secret that He’s All That has been mocked all over online for being one of the worst films of the year, and I dreaded watching it, thinking about how painful it would be to sit through. The acting is bad, the writing is atrocious, and it’s full of cliches. But if you can accept all of those pieces, it’s surprisingly not the worst thing I’ve seen. It felt like a movie that was “so bad it’s good”. All of the worst aspects of it surprisingly make it fun to casually have on in the background, where you can tune in and have a laugh at the utter stupidity of it.

It’s pretty clear from the start of the movie that Addison Rae absolutely cannot act. She’s undeniably stiff, and she has no way of making the dialogue sound natural. It almost sounds as if she was called on to read out loud during class instead of performing her lines. Granted, she’s not given much to work with either. The script is littered with cliches and downright terrible writing, which is surprising seeing how it’s be R. Lee Fleming Jr, from the same writer of the original, She’s All That. The film is also headed by Mark Waters, the same director who gave us other iconic teen movies such as Freaky Friday and Mean Girls. So how did we end up with this?

As a remake, we’re already familiar with the plot of the story, but the “makeover/win someone over as a bet but then actually fall for them” trope is something we’ve already seen, and it’s been done better. Even by the time the original was made in 1999, the idea was starting to get a bit stale. I haven’t even seen the original and yet I always knew what was going to happen next. There’s nothing exciting or new about this movie, it just feels like a cash grab to get a younger audience to watch Addison Rae do something other than TikTok. Although, they couldn’t help but add a TikTok dance sequence to the movie!

Yet with all of that, I couldn’t help but have a good time. I have no connection to Addison Rae or TikTok or YouTube culture. Growing up, I wanted to be an actor, so I can relate to the feeling of wanting some sort of fame, and I understand why teenagers and kids are constantly chasing after it online when it’s seemingly so easy. The film definitely presents problems with this mentality, even if it doesn’t have much to say about it. I can see why a younger audience would relate to this and find it enjoyable. It reminded me of other romcoms, or even what it was like my first time watching Mean Girls. I might not exactly like it, having been beyond that point in my life, but I can see this film gaining a cult following and garnering heavy nostalgia as time passes. In ten years, current teenagers and kids will look back on this and laugh about how bad it is while reveling in the utter camp of the entire film, and will banter with their friends “is that really what technology was like? Is that really how we behaved?”

He’s All That feels a bit useless and draining, but if you’re willing to soak in all the cliche and over the top energy, you’ll have a good time with it. But don’t get me wrong, it’s still a bad movie.

Grade: C-

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