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Down Low on LetterBoxd: ‘He’s All That’

Hello everybody, and welcome to the second edition of “Down Low on LetterBoxd,” where I review the lowest-rated movies on Letterboxd — a  social film reviewing site

Today I am reviewing the 2021 reimagining  of “She’s All That” (1999), entitled “He’s All That.” The former film, which stars actor Freddie Prinze Jr and actress Rachael Leigh Cook, follows the adventure of Zach and Lainey respectively, while Zach tries to win a bet with his friends to turn Lainey into prom queen. It’s the standard boy-meets-girl makeover rom-com where the girl with glasses is actually beautiful when she lets her hair down. The only major differences between films are the reversed genders and the exclusion of the “girl takes off her glasses” trope.    

“He’s All That” stars TikTok influencer Addison Rae and Tanner Buchanan of “Cobra Kai,” and is directed by Mark Waters who is known for his work in “Mean Girls” and “Freaky Friday.” This infamous Netflix Original has garnered itself a 1.2 star rating on Letterboxd, but is that rating justified?

The reactions on Letterboxd can be divided into two categories: commenting on the goofiness of a TikTok celebrity starring in a teeny-bop rom-com, or a harsh reaction, stating that “maybe films were a mistake” for Rae. 

The movie begins with the morning routine of our female lead, Padgett, played by Rae. She puts on a full face of makeup before her daily livestream, where she pretends that she woke up looking perfect. She later runs across town, pretending to be rich around her snobby friends. 

When filming one of her livestreams, she finds out that her jerk influencer boyfriend, Jordan Van Draanen, played by actor Peyton Meyer, is cheating on her. She loses followers because of her reaction, including a snot bubble that forms on her face, when, frankly, she probably just gained some hate and meme followers, and then in two weeks no one would care, but we’ll just go with it. What’s worse is that her main sponsor, who is played by Kourtney Kardashian, let her go from her brand. 

To restart her popularity, Padgett decides to turn an unpopular boy into the school’s prom king. Meet Cameron, played by Tanner Buchanan, hater of anything popular and probably a subreddit moderator. And no, he does not become more likable over the course of the film. After some hesitation, he agrees to let Padgett give him a makeover. Over time, the pair bond, but eventually, the lie is revealed and they separate, but Cameron forgives her. The end.    

Although I would never call “He’s All That” a “good” movie per se, I am forced to question the justification of the movie’s low rating. One reviewer commented on this, saying that they truly believed they, “only ordered this for it to be hate-watched, and I am no more than a cog in the machine.” Although this statement was taken in jest, I believe that there is validity to it. “He’s All That” seems like it was made in a Netflix factory to anger online film reviewers: it stars a TikTok influencer, it’s a remake (which is already an uphill battle to get critics on board with) and has a plot which focuses on social media. Was this movie rage bait, and are we giving into that?

But even as rage bait, it’s not that effective. The only moments of note are the weird setup of Padgett’s declining popularity and an odd “bonding” scene where the two leads throw horse poop at each other (trust me, no amount of context will make that sentence less weird). There isn’t a ton to talk about with this movie. It’s just middle of the road and it’s not something that will be remembered in the next 10 years, but it’s not so insulting that you can be mad at it for too long. The movie tries to call back to the early 2000s era when a movie can get away with its mediocrity on the back of goodwill. But in today’s media-saturated and cynical time, that grace is not given. That’s probably why “She’s All That” is remembered semi-fondly where its remake will most likely not be.

Personally, I’d give this movie a five out of ten stars (and yes, I gave one point for the Matthew Lillard cameo). Whether it’s attempted rage bait or a sincere attempt at launching Addison Rae’s acting career, it fails. It’s so mediocre that it’s hard to really talk about. Its corporate and try-hard tendencies make “He’s All That” a movie that’s hard to even make fun of with your friends, and perhaps that’s worse.

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