Padgett’s backstory of her hiding her working-class background from her friends and followers, hardly has any impact on the story and the reasons for her even taking up the challenge are futile at best.
Story: After social media influencer Padgett Sawyer loses her online fans and sponsorship deals, following a meltdown while discovering her boyfriend was cheating on her, she decides to accept a challenge to turn the school’s least popular guy into the prom king. Will she succeed in her endeavour or learn another lesson?
Review: It’s still debatable whether Freddie Prinze Jr and Rachael Leigh Cook’s She’s All That figures in the top most-loved rom from the 90s. The movie about a high school jock being dumped by his girlfriend and then accepting his friend’s (played by the late Paul Walker) bet to transform the school’s geek into the prom queen, had some good moments, largely thanks to its charming lead cast members. However, its gender-swap remake, He’s All That, is devoid of all that and hence begs the question – why choose to remake a film that had so little going for it in the first place.
The 2021 film, which is currently streaming on Netflix, has social media personality Addison Rae making her debut. She stars as Padgett Sawyer, a social media influencer, who loses thousands of her fans, after a meltdown that gets streamed live when she discovers that her boyfriend has been cheating on her. To make up for lost followers, she accepts a bet from her friend to transform the school’s least popular boy, Cameron Kweller (Cobra Kai’s Tanner Buchanan) into the prom king.
Unlike the journey of Freddie Prinze Jr’s character, Padgett’s has few challenges in her path. Cameron, who is described as anti-social and rude, falls for Padgett in a space of just two unconvincing scenes. Padgett’s backstory of her hiding her working-class background from her friends and followers hardly has any impact on the story and the reasons for her even taking up the challenge are futile at best. The story about Cameron’s past too does stick. His sister towards the end of the movie tells him that the only time in the recent past that she saw him happy was when he was with Padgett, and yet in the story of the film, you see him in his joyful elements while hanging out with his friend Nisha.
Some moments that worked in She’s All That about being ‘true to yourself’ largely revolved around the relationships outside the lead character’s friend circles, for instance, the father-daughter track of Rachel Leigh Cook and Kevin Pollak as well as the brother-sister bond between Freddy Prinze Jr and Anna Paquin. He’s All That fails miserably in that department, and results in dull moments with insipid characters.
While Addison does her best to carry the film, she lacks the charisma to make it a memorable romcom. Tanner’s character serves more as an extension of his role in the second season of Cobra Kai, and the duo lacks the chemistry their predecessors brought to the gender-swapped roles. Appearances by Rachel Leigh Cook and Matthew Lillard in the film along with the track Kiss Me, which became more popular than the 1999 film, doesn’t quite cash in on the nostalgic elements either.
Verdict: With a predictable storyline and dull characters, Addison Rae’s teen comedy fails to rise above the generic romcom material, even after its updated and nostalgia-inducing material.