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From “She’s All That” to “He’s All That”: How the Netflix film compares to the 1999 Rom-Com

He’s All That, Addison Rae’s debut Netflix film might’ve taken over your TikTok for you page this past month. After premiering late this summer on August 25th, this remake of the 1999 romantic comedy She’s All That has already gained mass attention from media and viewers alike — notably because the main character is played by a TikTok star. But, as someone who’s a big fan of the original movie, which stars Freddie Prinze Jr. and Rachael Leigh Cook, I knew I had to see it for myself.

I’ll admit, going into it, I had a bad perception already. I thought it would primarily aim to make Addison Rae a breakout Hollywood star and butcher the plot so badly that She’s All That, one of my favorite rom-coms, would be ruined. However, by the time I finished watching I was pleasantly surprised.

I wouldn’t call He’s All That a remake — more so a new movie heavily inspired by the 1999 film. Both follow the same central trope: shy high school loner gets chosen by popular high school student’s friends for a bet placed on the premise of turning a nobody into a prom king/queen. Addison Rae plays the influencer it-girl Padgett, while her co-star Tanner Buchanan plays secluded loner Cameron. It was interesting to see the twist of the genders being switched from the original movie while still following major plot points: an unlikely connection, a makeover, a big falling out. Both films include themes of the pressures being a senior in high school can bring as well while each calling out different problems stemming from different decades. The new film takes its own spin on it, adding new and more modernized elements of social media and influencer society, while the older version commented on parental pressures and trying to impress everyone around you.

What I liked most about He’s All That is that it paid homage to the original film in small ways without making it over the top. For example, stars from the original 90s film, Rachael Leigh Cook and Matthew Lillard, make cameos as Padgett’s mother and the high school principal. Fans of the original movie will also recognize the importance of the Netflix film using the song “Kiss Me” by SixPence None the Richer, a song commonly associated with the closing scene of She’s All That. Seeing small Easter eggs like this felt nostalgic in a way and emphasized the connection between the two movies.

While there were some components of the original I missed — notably Usher as the school’s announcer — He’s All That was new and fun for the next generation of rom-com fans. If you watch either of these movies, make sure to enjoy the individual components as well as their connection to each other. 

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Originally from Marshfield, Massachusetts, Caroline is a freshman in the College of Communication. For fun she enjoys trying out new coffee shops with friends, reading, going to spin class, and walking on the beach with her golden retriever Winnie.
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