Perhaps the most pertinent question here is a simple yet disturbing one: was Usher Raymond the high school principal or was he simply an adult DJ in school grounds making morning announcements? It’s been less than a week since Netflix released He’s All That, the gender-swapped remake of a 1999 film, which was in a turn a remake of a 1964 movie, which was in turn an adaptation of a play. But the 2021 movie is definitely an imitation of 1999’s She’s All That.
She’s All That is perhaps the most 1999 view of a film you could see, especially in the sense of the actors. There’s a young Freddie Prinze Jr, and a now almost unrecognisable Rachel Leigh Cook. There’s Gabrielle Union, a pre-Fast Saga Paul Walker, and Dule Hill, not to mention Jodi Lyn O’Keefe, and Sarah Michelle Gellar before she truly got into hunting vampires.
But that’s not all for She’s All That and being very 1999. This Robert Iscove directed pic is the definition of ‘aged’. Rewatching She’s All That in 2021 makes one wonder how you ever treasured this movie. Watching She’s All That for the first time in 2021 makes you question the judgment of those who ever treasured it and found it memorable.
He’s All That, the 2021 version, tries to an extent to not simply copy the 1999 film. But there are instances in which the similarities are undeniable. Not least in terms of the forgettability. Perhaps it was the Sixpence None the Richer song, but there’s little worth remembering about She’s All That. More appropriately, there’s little that sticks. It’s the most haunting case of ‘out of sight, out of mind’ you could get in film. Once She’s All That is out of your sight, it is also out of your system.
Which is a touch ironic because while watching, you almost want it to end. Not just because it’s heavily flawed, but also because She’s All That is heavily predictable. The tiny fabric of pop culture relevance is still holds – and different versions of the film – probably influences that, but you see it coming. There’s no intrigue, no jeopardy, not even mild curiosity.
Amidst all that, She’s All That is incredibly artificial. You can sense the facade of it all, whether it’s being intentionally portrayed or not. The dialogue is generic – it felt like people saying words for the sake of saying words, and not like human beings having an actual conversation. The characters also lack any genuineness – not just what they do, but how they are. It’s hard to buy into Paul Walker as high school student Dean, especially when less than three years later, he’d star as an undercover FBI agent in the start of the Fast & Furious franchise and look the part in that one.
Throw in the overt and disturbing sexism, 1999-esque cinematography and odd lighting, as well as the lingering thought of what is Usher Raymond doing there, and She’s All That is more disturbing than memorable. Whether in 1999 or 2021, or anywhere in between, this movie is out of place. And if it wasn’t worth a Traffic Popcorn then, it certainly is now.< /p>