"SHE'S ALL THAT"|
97 minutes | Rated: PG-13
Opened: Friday, January 29, 1999
Directed by Robert Iscove
Starring Freddie Prinze, Jr., Rachel Leigh Cook, Paul Walker, Jodi Lyn O'Keefe, Anna Paquin, Kieran Culkin, Lil' Kim, Usher Raymond, Tim Matheson, Alexis Arquette & Kevin Pollack
SMALL SCREEN SHRINKAGE: 10%|
LETTERBOX: NOT NECESSARY
Teen movies are made for video anyway. No point in going out of your way for letterbox for something this generic and idiotic.
VIDEO RELEASE: 7/13/1999
Arty outcast learns happiness is wearing lip gloss and dating jocks in pointless teen "Pygmalion"
Any delusions Miramax may have been harboring that it was still an art house studio have been permanently put to rest with the release of "She's All That," a completely common and utterly excruciating high school ugly duckling romance so grossly out of touch with the times that even the title is passe.
Part "Sixteen Candles," part "Pygmalion," "She's All That" tries to hitch a low-rent ride on the coattails of the "Scream"/"Dawson's Creek" teen profit phenomenon by casting a bunch of C-list teenage actors (who, if they had any integrity, would have passed on this movie and kept their fingers crossed for a douche commercial) in roles that Neve Campbell and even James VanDerBeek (late of "Varsity Blues") wouldn't touch with asbestos gloves.
The personality-less Freddie Prinze, Jr. ("Scream," "I Know What You Did Last Summer") stars as Zach, Harrison High School's king of the popular, dreamy jocks. Unceremoniously thrown over by the snobby head cheerleader from central casting (Jodi Lyn O'Keefe), Zach accepts a bet from his cold-blooded posse of in-crowd cronies that he can turn any girl in school into the prom queen in six weeks.
Being that Harrison High is a Hollywood school, where the fat chicks are a size 10 and a stray eye brow hair signals radical feminism, the worst they can do is Laney (Rachel Leigh Cook), a brainy (she can quote CNN!), mousy, anti-social art chick who is one removed bobby pin and a pair of contact lenses away from ultra-babedom.
The movie takes place in one of those fictional worlds where although jocks are all bastards, geeks secretly aspire to be jocks and everyone, regardless of clique, goes to the same parties.
Following an inevitable course with no twists or surprises, Zach falls for Laney (despite her queer interest in performance art and current events) and becomes a nice guy in the process, and Laney learns that the key to happiness is wearing lip gloss and dating guys with two-digit IQs.
Written by somebody named Lee Fleming, who 1) saw too many John Hughes movies as a teenager and 2) is clearly at least five years behind the times, "She's All That" features badly out-dated slang, clean-cut token minorities who perform spontaneous rap ditties in the school quad, and gratuitous references to long-forgotten characters from MTV's "The Real World." In an desperate attempt to look hip, he made Zach the school's star soccer player (football is so 1998!).
Directed by TV veteran Robert Iscove, the pic sleepwalks through Laney's requisite confrontations with 1) the cheerleader ("To anyone here that matters, you're vapor!"), and 2) Zach ("Am I a bet?!?," turn heel, stomp off dramatically). Iscove fails to avoid a couple dozen other obligatory scenes before wrapping up with a prom climax that includes an ill-advised synchronized dance number.
Forgettable in almost every other regard, "She's All That" will be remembered, by those who keep track of such things, only as the movie that knocked Miramax off its pedestal once and for all by demonstrating that several years under Disney's wing has turned chairmen Bob and Harvey Weinstein into clones of Larry Levy, the cynical producer from "The Player" who reasoned that a good story is immaterial to making a movie for the unwashed masses.