I put off watching “He’s All That” because of all the people who told me that Addison Rae’s acting was subpar, but in-room restriction got to me and I finally gave it a try. I found that the problem with the movie is not with Rae’s acting. If you come into “He’s All That” expecting a charming nod to the original, that is not what you’ll get. The movie follows Padgett Sawyer (Addison Rae), an influencer who bets she can transform Cameron Kweller (Tanner Buchanan), an angsty teen antisocial person at her school, into prom king. It is a gender-swapped remake of “She’s All That.”
The theme and the vibe are completely different from the original movie. The remake involves technology in a relevant way, and its depiction of peer pressure and the need to fit in, while slightly exaggerated, is not too far off from real life.
Some parts of the movie, like Rae’s character feeling the need to hide where she lives, and how consumed she is by other people’s perception of her speaks to a sad reality in society. The female antagonist of “He’s All That,” Alden Pierce (Madison Pettis), however, is a little too evil for my taste. She is vengeful and deceitful and in my opinion the most unrealistic part of the movie. The male antagonist, Jordan Van Draanen (Peyton Meyer), on the other hand, has no meaningful role except for causing disruptions and conflict, and he seems like an unnecessary plot point that could have been eliminated for a better storyline.
In the beginning of the movie, Cameron is an entitled, condescending young man who thinks college is a waste of money and considers himself above everyone else. His character is a stereotypical angsty teenager. His backstory does seem to have affected him in a realistic way. We see this in the scene towards the end, where his sister tells him Padgett managed to bring out a part of him that was lost after his mother’s death. Rae acts true to her influencer job, which is also what she does in real life. Padgett’s personality in the movie is slightly different from the typical influencer mean girl, which I think is actually an improvement.
Every character in “She’s All That” is easy to relate to, but most of the characters in the remake are not. Not everyone on social media is an influencer with a huge following, and Padgett is definitely not your everyday TikTok user. Padgett and Cameron also don’t have the chemistry that Zack and Laney do. Regardless, it is a valiant attempt to make a statement about social media and takes a step away from the underlying sexist themes in the original.