He's All That Review: Addison Rae's teen drama lacks the charm to appeal hardcore rom com lovers

Updated on Aug 28, 2021 09:54 AM IST  |  223K
   
Addison Rae's He's All That releases on August 27
Addison Rae in He's All That
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He's All That

He's All That Cast: Addison Rae, Rachael Leigh Cook, Tanner Buchanan

He's All That Director: Mark Waters

Streaming Platform: Netflix

He's All That Stars: 2.5/5

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For those who arent' already aware, He's All That is a gender-swapped remake of the 1999 film, She's All That which starred then heartthrob Freddie Prinze Jr and Rachael Leigh Cook in lead roles. As for its new Netflix remake, the film marks the acting debut of TikTok star Addison Rae along with Tanner Buchanan of Cobra Kai fame. The teen drama grabbed headlines for trying to reinvent a classic rom-com with its much-talked-about gender swap but if you're expecting the film to serve you something fresh because of it, you may be mistaken. He's All That remains true to its genre and pulls all the tropes and cliches that are not only seen in the 1999 film but also in several other films which fall in the same genre. 

Not that She's All That was an impressive film to begin with that it had to be remade but I did go into it expecting that a female perspective on the film could change a lot of things for it. Does it? Well, not really. In She's All That, Padgett (Addison Rae) is a social influencer who falls from her popularity pedestal in high school after she finds her boyfriend (Peyton Meyer) cheating on her and the drama of it all unfolds during one of her live streams. Padgett finds herself becoming a meme herself following her very public breakup and her way to redeem her old image back is by taking up a challenge posed by her friend. As a part of it, she takes on the task of finding the most unpopular guy in school and making him her boyfriend after giving him a makeover. Enter the school loser, Cameron (Tanner Buchanan) who doesn't even own a smartphone. 

He's All That keeps the story simple and exactly as that of its original except for a few changes. It tries to give Padgett's character a little more personality by giving it two sides and showing how what happens in her off-camera life is a different reality. She's an influencer who is endorsing brands to pay for her college tuition and it somewhat makes Padgett's overzealous self bearable for reasons as opposed to what it would have been if she was merely a chirpy girl, living in her mansion, taking on projects to give makeovers to people. 

Opposite to her is Cameron, a high-schooler who doesn't enjoy socialising and is better off living in a world without social media let alone trying to keep a track of followers on it. As unlikely as Cameron and Padgett's pairing is, the duo connect when they bring each other's true personalities out. Although unfortunately, their relationship hardly gets any attention since the majority of the film revolves around Rae's Padgett, (she's literally in every frame). 

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In true teenage rom-com fashion, He's All That ticks all boxes. There's a party brawl between Padgett's current and ex-boyfriend, there's a montage of Cameron going through a makeover, and of course to finish off everything, there's the prom. Not to mention the weird dance-off happening at the prom seemed like a strange choice to add during the final twenty minutes of the film. 

Giving a nod to the original film are several elements including the casting of Rachel Leigh Cook and Matthew Lillard. Also one of the most popular tracks from the original movie, Sixpence None the Richer’s Kiss Me is used in the film but unfortunately it gets a remix that we don't deserve. Apart from this, the new film washes over the 1999 MTV era story with TikTok and the influencers-laden generation. While it may be more relatable to the teens today, the ones who fell for She's All That may not enjoy it as much. 

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For real-life TikTok sensation Addison Rae, this film feels like a dream role given how close it is to her personal life and she does make the most of only that part. Rae makes Padgett's influencer side believable but in other scenes that demand more from her, she fails to deliver. For Cobra Kai's Tanner Buchanan, there's not much left to do given his role doesn't give him space to convey anything more about Cameron than we see from Padgett's perspective. In the film's most-talked-about cameo, Kourtney Kardashian appears as Padgett's beauty brand boss, Jessica Miles Torres. Kourtney sounds like her regular self and you'd find no difference if it was just one of the clips from Keeping Up With the Kardashians. For me, Matthew Lillard's cameo works the best as the principal who only turns up in the prom scene but delivers assured laughs with his sarcastic comments. 

In the high-school romance genre, Netflix has managed to produce a lot of stuff including The Kissing Booth franchise and To All The Boys films, what has worked for those films despite their cliched stories is the chemistry between their leads and that is one of He's All That's biggest losing points. Rae and Buchanan don't make you blush and it would be safe to say that if you turned on She's All That right this moment, despite its many flaws, the lead couple's romantic journey will have you invested it and Freddie Prinze Jr could still get your heart racing.

ALSO READ: Addison Rae REACTS to Lady Gaga meme about her possible Met Gala appearance; Says she'd do anything for singer

Despite having a great opportunity to rewrite a rom-com in a gender-swapped story, He's All That repeats the same mistakes of pitting women against women, high-school jock tropes, and many more stereotypes in the most unnecessary ways. There's also a small commentary about the real vs reel life that influencers live added towards the film's climax but it lacks substance and seems forced enough to make Padgett's character sound righteous.

He's All That can make for a breezy watch for the TikTok generation and Addison Rae fans but for those who were charmed by the 90s original, this remake doesn't get you nostalgic in the way you would have hoped for. According to me, it's a film that tries to be self-aware but actually isn't. 

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