Addison Rae needs to stay in her TikTok lane after flimsy performance in He’s All That

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Netflix’s newest teen romantic comedy He’s All That was released August 25, 2021, a gender-swapped remake of the original movie, She’s All That.

With a whopping 121 minutes of Tik Tok star Addison Rae’s emotionless acting, the latest Netflix rom-com He’s All That marks Rae’s introduction to Hollywood… and not much else. A gender-swapped reboot of the 1999 rom-com classic She’s All That, He’s All That feels like an elementary attempt at a standout modern romance movie. From an incohesive plot, to sloppy casting and an unsatisfying resolution, He’s All That is simply forgettable.

Mirroring the 1999 original, He’s All That is centered around high school beauty influencer Padgett Sawyer (Addison Rae), who suffers widespread public humiliation after being video-recorded while walking in on her cheating boyfriend. Losing followers and sponsors, Padgett bets her best friend Alden (Madison Pettis) that she can turn one of their school’s least popular guys, Cameron Kweller, (Tanner Buchanan) into prom king in order to regain her status. 

The initial issue with the plot begins here: what world would the victim of cheating receive extreme backlash like Padgett did? Not to mention the ridiculously shallow “makeover” Padgett envisions, which essentially just means giving Cameron a haircut and mainstream clothes. Herein lies the issue of rebooting a late 90s rom-com plot: although the producers clearly attempted to diversify the cast and modernize the writing, outdated notions remain at the center of the film.  

The simplistic plot doesn’t demand much from Rae, but it is quite clear only minutes into the movie that the TikTok star is just that – a TikToker. Emotionless and inarticulate, Rae fails to prove herself as an actress in her breakout role. This movie begs the question, did Rae earn this role because of her talent, or win it because of her name? 

Teen influencer Padgett gives less popular Cameron a makeover, determined to reign victorious on her secret bet to win him the prom king crown.

Playing the sarcastic, flannel-clad photographer at the bottom of the social stratosphere, Buchanan adds a touch of professionalism to He’s All That, but his acting still lacks substance. Rachael Leigh Cook and Matthew Lillard, who starred in the original She’s All That, both make appearances – Cook as Padgett’s down to earth, caring mother, and Lillard as Cali High’s goofy principal (yes, their high school is called “Cali High”). Although their combined screen time is just a few minutes, their nostalgia-filled roles outshine Rae and Buchanan’s hour and a half. 

The main issue of He’s All That was apparent even before production started: it’s a reboot of an originally problematic movie, attempting to rewrite the sexism and bigotry ingrained in the film, but ultimately failing. At the center of She’s All That, released in 1999, is misogyny. Zack (Freddie Prinze Jr.) bets his best friend that he can turn the school’s “unattractive” artsy loser into prom queen. Enduring a makeover similarly shallow to Cameron’s, where the hopeless case undergoes a mind-boggling process of new clothes and makeup, by the end of the movie Laney is stunningly beautiful. She’s All That reinforces the idea that beauty is all a girl needs to get the guy, become popular, or succeed in general. 

I rate He’s All That a 1.5 out of 5 stars, falling into the same contentious-plot trap as the original, suffering from writing that is sexist at its core, and ultimately failing by casting Rae as the lead.

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