Netflix does a gender-swap remake of a late nineties classic in He’s All That from director Mark Waters. Padgett (Addison Rae) has mastered her perfect high school life: She is a popular beauty influencer with a huge following, and her hot pop star boyfriend Jordan (Peyton Mayer) makes her the envy of everyone on her feed. However, after she catches him cheating while live streaming, she goes viral for all the wrong reasons.
To repair her reputation, Padgett makes a risky bet with her best friend’s Alden (Madison Pettis) and Quinn (Myra Molloy), that she can turn her scruffy antisocial classmate Cameron (Tanner Buchanan) into prom king material. Things get complicated when she finds herself falling for him IRL—and learning no one is quite who they seem on social media, least of all herself.
Before I get into my review, I want to point out that as a forty-year-old married man with a teenage son; I am in no way the demographic for this film. Quite honestly, back in 1999, when the original came out, and I was a seventeen-year-old junior in high school, I was not particularly in the target audience. That said, I will admit I enjoyed the original film and understand why it was so popular during the resurgence of the teen film.
R. Lee Fleming Jr., the writer of the original film, returns to script the remake. Film buffs will tell you all Fleming did was modernize George Bernard Shaw’s play Pygmalion, which inspired the 1964 film My Fair Lady. There is nothing wrong with that as there are only seven basic plots, so eventually, every movie is a remake of something. Fleming’s decision to use social media and its influence as the backdrop for his script makes sense for the film.
Hitting play on the film, I had no idea who Addison Rae was. Naturally, I did my research and discovered just how famous Rae is. He’s All That plays on Rae’s strength, and of course, the argument is she is simply playing herself. Honestly, that is fine for her debut as she is the star of the film and does not need to go outside of her comfort zone.
Tanner Buchanan fully taps into the teen angst the role requires while avoiding a rehash of his Cobra Kai character. Buchannan has excellent chemistry with Rae and should have a future once Cobra Kai ends. The rest of the supporting cast fall into the typical teen flick character tropes and do what they can with the material.
Outside of Buchannan, Madison Pettis, in the role of Alden, was the only real standout. Pettis is primarily known for portraying good girls, so it was great to see her go against type. The adult cast is just here to move the plot along. Rachel Leigh Cook and Matthew Lilliard from the original film play different roles and are serviceable. In a brief role, Kourtney Kardashian impressed me as well.
He’s All That does pay some homage to the original, which older viewers may appreciate. Overall, the film was missing something for me. In hindsight, even if it was not a remake, there’s nothing that will surprise you. I admit I did crack a smile a few times and have no regrets about viewing the film. Younger audiences and fans of Rae will get much more out of the film, which is just fine as it is for them.
Final Grade: C+
He’s All That is streaming now at www.netflix.com/HesAllThat