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‘He’s All That’: It’s not all that

| Friday, September 3, 2021

Maggie Klaers | The Observer

Premiering in 1999, “She’s All That” is a rom-com about a jock dumped by his girlfriend who tries to save his reputation by betting he can turn an “ugly” girl into a popular one by prom. Of course, the “ugly” girl is stunning underneath her glasses and unibrow, and the two end up falling in love. Now in 2021 comes “He’s All That,” a gender-bent version starring Addison Rae as the main character. In this version, Padgett Sawyer (Addison Rae), a famous social media influencer, livestreams her boyfriend cheating on her and is humiliated. Dubbed “bubble girl” due to her snot from crying, Padgett bets she can turn loser Cameron Kweller (Tanner Buchanan) into prom king in an act to win back her popularity and sponsors. 

From the first scene where Padgett gets ready for her “I just woke up” livestream, “He’s All That” comments on the influencer culture of today and the lengths people go to gain followers. However, the movie leaves a lot unsaid and makes a lot of mistakes. First of all, Padgett never really changes throughout the film. She realizes that she has been fake to her followers but still continues to plaster a fake smile on her face and show off her life until the end of the movie. Second, the whole idea of a person magically changing into someone else who is beloved in a matter of weeks is unrealistic. Plus, shedding a wig and wearing trendy clothes do not change someone’s personality. So, the movie seems to convey that what you look like is vital to be accepted in this world. 

“He’s All That” made some significant changes from the original, such as losing the fatphobia, sexism and sexual harassment for laughs. However, the film was also much more sanitized and TikTok-ified. The film loses the cursing and drinking that the original movie had. The characters in “He’s All That” drink mocktails and insult each other with puns. It seems more fake and two-dimensional as the characters try (and fail) to seem relatable to everyday teens.

While Rae does her best at acting, it looks forced and flat in many moments of the film, as if she’s filming an extended TikTok, not a movie. From her ever-present fake smile to her lack of emotions, Padgett seems out of touch with reality and lost in her fantasy world. Even with the humiliation of her famous boyfriend Jordan Van Draanen (Peyton Meyer) cheating on her on a livestream, she shows little emotion after the fact. She looks just how she does typically: perfect.

The chemistry in “He’s All That” was decent, if a bit unrealistic, as Cameron falls for Padgett pretty quickly and forgives her quickly even though she used him for likes. Although, the unreal romance wasn’t surprising in a movie where there is a TikTok dance-off at prom and the school loser has an eight-pack hidden under his hoodie. 

Now, you may be saying to yourself, “Why would I watch this movie after this review?” Here’s what I have to say: If you want to watch a movie where you do not need to think and can just space out for a bit, then watch this one. I went into this movie with the lowest expectations possible, but was surprised that I actually liked it. I didn’t love it or even like it a lot, but I didn’t hate it either. Honestly, I am a total sucker for rom-coms and tend to watch them without any expectations, so this checked that box. It’s a movie that I can see once and never again without saying it was a total waste of time.

“He’s All That” is not great, but it is not awful. It’s just not worth all that hype or publicity it has gotten. Like “The Kissing Booth” it targets a specific audience and will not be liked by everyone. If you ever have a free day where you’re bored and looking for something to do, you can check out “He’s All That” streaming on Netflix — or you can do something else.


Title: “He’s All That”

Starring: Addison Rae, Tanner Buchannan, Peyton Meyer

Director: Mark Waters

If you like: “The Kissing Booth,” “To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before”

Shamrocks: 1.5 out of 5

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