She's All That starring Rachel Leigh Cook

She's All That

Starring Rachel Leigh Cook, Freddie Prinze Jr.

Now I know what a lot of you may be saying. "Gee, Wil, I've looked through your web site so far and you seem like a pretty hip guy. You're funny, cutting edge, and employ a brash devil-may-care attitude that sets you apart from the rest of 'establishment' society. So why would you even bother to review such generic, commercial tripe as She's All That?

Two reasons, actually. One being, I've always subscribed to Sam Kinneson's axiom, "If you're going to miss heaven, miss It!" (i.e. live as sinful and depraved a life as you can.) Translated to the film world this mean "If you're going to see a stupid film, see a STOOPID film." And I assure you She's All That ain't no Life Is Beautiful (which I have no intention of seeing.)

My second reason is that I was a big fan of the eighties brat pack films (16 Candles, The Sure Thing, St, Elmo's Fire and the inimitable Breakfast Club) and wanted to check up on the current generation to make sure that they we're being treated to the same teenage-Midwestern fop that I was.

It turns out, yes they are. In fact, She's All That, is almost a direct remake of the Molly Ringwald classic Pretty In Pink. Both follow this same basic plot: Rich, popular but slightly confused guy falls for oddball and unpopular (but foxy) girl. Wacky girl's years of abuse by popular people has made trusting difficult. The remainder of the film is spent waiting for the two to get with it already and hit the sheets.

If you're still unclear, perhaps this table will help:

Character premise Pretty In Pink She's All That
Attractive foxy chick who is unpopular and into "art" and other geeky crap. The Unsinkable Molly Ringwald Rachel Leigh Cook
Rich, popular male hottie who's secretly so sensitive he should be playing guitar for Sebadoh Andrew McCarthy Freddie Prinze Jr
Friend of rich popular guy who's years of financial excess have made him insensitive to the needs of others. James Spader Don't know his name but he looks like a buff version of the blonde guy from Saved By The Bell
Lonely working class father of nerd-girl, who is still pining for his wife who ran away/died Harry Dean Stanton Kevin Pollack
Rich bitch who disses everyone, but secretly is in a lot of pain. Most likely to end up starring in porno I forget her name. I forget her name as well
Wacky narrator who organized synchronized dance number at prom Usher N/A

There are a few differences though. For one thing, the chick that plays nerd-girl looks young, I mean like ten years old or something. When at one point early in film she searches for a one word description to sum up her relationship with stud-boy, the first thing that popped in my mind was "pedophilia." (It turned out she was thinking of "surreal")

The movie did win me over with it's pure campiness. For one thing, it was filled with uppermiddle-class white kids using popular black street vernacular like "wack" or "phat" or "She's all that" Unfortunately, they used none of my favorite terms, like "Trick ass Bee-yatch" or "Let's kill that white motherfuckah!" There's also a great moment when Freddie Prinze goes to a performance art show and is forced to do an off the cuff piece of performance art himself (with a hacky-sack.) The rousing approval he gets from the bohemian crowd shows them for the empty headed dolts they are. (It doesn't hurt that the venue seems to have garnered the entire budget of the N.E.A. for trippy visual effects.) The ironic appearance of former a Real World star playing an obnoxious, insensitive version of himself (some might say it's not really acting) also adds some pizzazz.

Unfortunately, the film slips into decline during it's second half and starts to become serious, struggling to make a point about how love brings us together and we must trust each other, blah, blah… Campiness is replaced by a screenwriting from Teletubbies school and I found myself slipping to yawnsville. The insertion of a chainsaw wielding maniac at this point would have been just what was needed for a shot of jaeger to the films psyche. On final assessment, I would say there's nothing here that won't translate well to video.

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