“He’s All That” generates overexaggerated high school experiences and realities


Emily Wong

“He’s All That,” featuring TikTok star Addison Rae, is an exaggerated representation of the high school experience.

Kimberly Cui, Rhea Master, and Rishi Ramesh

“He’s All That,” a remake of the 1999 film “She’s All That” was released on Aug. 25, 2021. The movie was released exclusively on Netflix and features TikTok star Addison Rae and former Disney stars Tanner Buchanan and Peyton Meyer. 

The movie follows the seemingly perfect life of Padgett Sawyer (Addison Rae), a well-known TikTok influencer, and her chaotic experiences at Cali High School. After her boyfriend, Jordan Van Draanen (Peyton Meyer), cheats on her and tarnishes Padgett’s reputation, she accepts a challenge to transform the antisocial Cameron Kweller (Tanner Buchanan) into the next Homecoming King to prove to herself and her legion of fans that she still has what it takes. 

Despite Padgett’s efforts, she leaves many, notably the audience, unimpressed with her makeover skills. The movie is completely predictable, rushed and frankly quite illogical. Cameron’s transformation seems to happen with a snap of the fingers, starting from Padgett fawning over his eight-pack abs. The conflict was never fleshed out and quickly got passed over. The climax of the movie feels unnatural, with the main characters inevitably patching up and (literally) riding off into the sunset.

Despite the leeway Rae gets for her first acting gig, her acting was truly intolerable. Her actions were over-exaggerated, making it unnecessarily difficult to connect with any of the emotions she portrays.  

The resolution of the movie was directed to provide a sappy, admirable love story; however, we believe that it was rushed and quite unreasonable.

The resolution of the movie was directed to provide a sappy, admirable love story; however, we believe that it was rushed and quite unreasonable. Lasting for approximately five minutes, the ending lacked thorough, well-thought script-writing and ultimately left us lost and dissatisfied. Perhaps with less attention dedicated to Cameron’s monumental abs, the script writers could have developed a somewhat-decent ending–at least one that did not conclude with a horse galloping around a Los Angeles high school. 

“He’s All That” attempts to maintain an entertaining appeal throughout the story, visibly throwing in as many factors as possible–ranging from horses to barely explored minorities. In order for the movie to have a diverse cast, Annie Jacob and Myra Molloy were cast as Nisha, the South Asian best friend of Cameron, and Quinn, the Southeast Asian best friend of Padgett, respectively. While the choice to add these actors in the cast could have been admirable, giving their characters some scope and backstory to work with is something the writers failed to accomplish. A romantic bond between Nisha and Quinn was teased at, but by the end of the movie, their relationship hardly progressed. Not only does this portray the common problem of queerbaiting in today’s movies, but it also exemplifies the trend of how actors of different ethnicities are thrown into the mix so that the movie can preach the notions of diversity and representation. 

Aside from the awful acting and script and downright unrealistic plot, there was one scene that was utterly intolerable–JVD’s music video, “Mean Streets of Pali.” Despite it purposely being obnoxious, the first ten seconds of the music video are enough to determine just how unbearable, atrocious and superficial the entirety of the song would be. Arguably, the main chorus, a repetitive string of “La la la,” is quite catchy and amusing; however, it is pitiful to recognize that this movie, given a $20 million budget, was only capable of developing a poorly filmed, awfully-choreographed and extensively auto-tuned music video. To make matters worse, JVD performs in a blinding, egregious pair of zebra-patterned turquoise-black sweatpants. Thankfully, he is shirtless–to imagine a top chosen by the same people who chose the sweatpants is horrifying. 

With a mixture of multiple aggrandized high school clichés, the inclusion of mediocre actors and actresses and a rushed and incomplete storyline in hopes that something would stick, “He’s All That” is a deficient remake of the heralded classic and our relatively low expectations were not met. Bottom line, the movie is not all that.