This is an opinion piece.
Netflix has been putting out a lot of new movies recently. And among those, they’ve been putting out a good bit of “influencer” themed or inspired movies, as well as reboots and sequels. Most of the newer movies that I’ve seen Netflix put out, I’ve enjoyed. So, naturally, when I heard they were making a sequel to “She’s All That,” I was excited.
For anyone who has not watched the original, “She’s All That” is a late 90’s film that stars Rachael Lee Cook and Freddie Prinze Jr. (Honestly, that entire cast is star-studded and I highly recommend that you watch it, if you haven’t.) In that movie, Freddie Prinze Jr.’s character, Zach, makes a bet with his friends that he can make any girl popular (prom queen) and the girl picked for the bet turns out to be Rachael Lee Cook’s Laney. Though cringey at times, like Zach’s hacky-sack performance and the multiple dance scenes, the original was a great feel-good movie that I still enjoy to this day.
And the sequel, “He’s All That,” would have been the same if not for the terrible choices made during writing, production, and the lackluster acting from the stars. 2021 is a world where social media influencers are very popular and have a lot of sway. Which was probably the reason Addison Rae was cast in the first place. However, whenever movies attempt to bring in social media as a plot device, it tends to come across as boring and superficial. For most of the movie, Addison is live streaming, posting, or talking about live streaming and posting. It’s almost as if that’s the only thing that her character has to offer. And if that’s not what the writers wanted the audience to get from the movie, they probably should’ve written more lines of substance. The producer(s) could have also stressed the importance of acting classes and emoting to the members of the cast that hadn’t acted much before this. I’m pretty sure Addison’s face and delivery remained the same throughout the entire movie, even during scenes that were meant to be emotional or vulnerable.
A lot of the scenes didn’t make sense and the blatantly obvious product placement in the film was distracting. To me, it seems as though they made sure to hit the main events/plot points from the first movie, and scrap anything else that made that movie great and gave it substance. Instead, they opted to make it “current” and cash in on their sponsorship deals. The movie did have some highlights, though. I laughed at a few of Peyton Meyer’s lines and enjoyed seeing Madison Pettis in another movie. And from watching Cobra Kai, I know that Tanner Buchanan is a talented actor, given good lines, direction, and scene partners. I’m not saying that Addison Rae brought the entire movie down and that it was all her fault, though. Because it wasn’t. There are a lot of other reasons why this movie failed. And, now that she’s signed a multi-movie deal with Netflix, she has time to improve on her skills. Not every movie needs a sequel or a reboot. And I think that’s something we need to realize. Perhaps “She’s All That” is one film that wasn’t meant to have a sequel? I hope that Addison’s next films are received much better than this one.