He’s All That Review – Less believable than the Original

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He’s All That Review – Netflix’s reimagining of the 1999 rom-com feels very now, but doesn’t feel real or likely

As rom-com fans, He’s All That was a must-see film. Netflix’s reimagining of the 1999 teen classic takes place 22 years later, and though the world has changed, the premise is essentially the same but with the tables turned. This time popular influencer, Padget Sawyer (Addison Rae), accepts a challenge to turn the school’s biggest loser, Cameron Kweller (Tanner Buchanan), into prom king after being humiliated by her cheating boyfriend, Jordan Van Draanen (Peyton Meyer). It is a light-hearted rom-com chock-full of hijinks and mishaps.

This He’s All That review is not going to rate very high. While it is a perfectly enjoyable movie, it suffers from a thorough disconnect from reality. Or I am completely disconnected because I am old enough to have enjoyed the original and it is 22 years later, which if it is the case I accept that. But before going into the disconnect, I want to cover the performances which were stellar. This film is not a hard-hitting or heavy film, and the stars of the film fully lean into it. Their commitment and chemistry is why the film is enjoyable. Addison Rae comes off as an innocent, and initially a bit shallow teen who means well and learns to be a better person. She gets to show off some dance moves and sings a bit as well as some comedy chops. It is excellent and superb in a Disney Channel Original Movie manner that also shows her potential to grow. Peyton Meyer is a hilarious douchebag. There is no other way to put it, but it is meant in the highest compliment. He plays dumb and douchie well, and does well to make the character deplorable but still seem like a likable person outside the role. It is apparent he had the most fun with the role. Then there’s Tanner Buchanan, who is too handsome for his role. His performance is great, and it was great to see him play a lighter role than as thoroughly angst-ridden Robby. But his good looks are a major factor in the film’s disconnect. He does get a chance to display some of his fight skills acquire from Cobra Kai. He does well as a romantic lead, but the premise and story this time around do not blend well. If you watch after the makeover, it feels more believable and you can begin to see him and Rae as rom-com staples, but prior to that it seems like a joke that falls flat on an audience. Outside of those three actors, Madison Pettis does a good job of portraying a mean girl, and Rachael Leigh Cook and Matthew Lillard have fun moments. Everything else works well, but the roles weren’t designed to stand out.

He’s All That is a perfectly enjoyable romantic comedy, but it is entirely unbelievable. The first major incident that sets off the events of the film is undoubtedly humiliating but does not feel possible. Would someone lose 20% of their followers after being humiliated? Maybe influencer followings are more fickle than I realize, but it did not seem like what happened would happen. After that, Cameron Kweller as the biggest loser in school does not make any sense. Anti-social maybe. But greasy hair seems to be his only actual flaw. He is kind of mean to the popular kids, but it doesn’t make sense how that would register the immense loser aura that the movie forces us to believe he has. It really does not work. Rachael Leigh Cook at least embodied a kind of social outcast and some insecurities that helped distinguish her from the popular kids. Tanner Buchanan’s Cameron just seems above the drama, and it turns out he really is. Keeping people at arm’s length and being judgemental are his only displayed flaws, but his judgment has some base in comparison to the “popular” kids. It really does not fit the build of outsider or loser. The only way it sort of works is that he has zero followers, but even considering that it just is not believable.

Outside of the character being unfitting of the key role and the actor being too handsome for it as well, a lot of the events just do not seem real. Granted the characters in this film are generally very wealthy, so maybe it is actually like this in that tax bracket. But a single mom owning property being considered poor really makes it feel disconnected from reality. Everything seems less real and less likely than most sci-fi. People do not behave correctly, have realistic or even exaggerated standards, or even obey the laws of time and space. I understand a lot of shows gloss over Los Angeles Traffic, but these kids get around quite a bit all before the school day starts. Unless they are up at maybe 4am. But then the sun would not be directly above them if it was… Thinking about anything even a little about this film will ruin it.

That being said, He’s All That is a fun rom-com in the spirit of its inspiration. The performers did a great job to fully sell the thoroughly unbelievable story. It just happens to be a case where the sellers are far better than the product. Rational thought and slight consideration will disconnect viewers from the film. As long as viewers do not dig at all, and just relax, it is a fun film. But because of the powerful unbelievable nature of the story and events, this He’s All That review gets a 2/5.

He’s All That is streaming now on Netflix.

He's All That Review
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TLDR

That being said, He’s All That is a fun rom-com in the spirit of its inspiration. The performers did a great job to fully sell the thoroughly unbelievable story. It just happens to be a case where the sellers are far better than the product. Rational thought and slight consideration will disconnect viewers from the film. As long as viewers do not dig at all, and just relax, it is a fun film. But because of the powerful unbelievable nature of the story and events, this He’s All That review gets a 2/5.

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