She's All That (1999) starring Freddie Prinze Jr., Rachael Leigh Cook, Matthew Lillard, Paul Walker, Jodi Lyn O'Keefe, Kevin Pollak, Anna Paquin, Kieran Culkin, Usher Raymond, Kimberly Jones directed by Robert Iscove Movie Review

She's All That (1999)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Freddie Prinze Jr. and Rachael Leigh Cook in She's All That (1999)

It Ain't All That

I have a feeling that George Bernard Shaw's "Pygmalion" must have been used as the basis for more movies than any other story, if not in the movie world then in the romantic comedy genre. As such "She's All That" is yet another movie which basically reworks "Pygmalion" as we watch school hunk Zack transform Laney the school odd ball as part of a bet except than in transforming Laney he starts to have true feelings for her. But whilst not original in concept there are elements to "She's All That" which work, which entertain although they are mixed in with a lot of what is basically teenage romantic comedy dross. And this basically means that "She's All That" is a rather average teenage romantic comedy which won't leave any lasting impression but is fun in the moment.

When school hunk Zack Siler (Freddie Prinze Jr. - I Still Know What You Did Last Summer) is dumped by Taylor Vaughn (Jodi Lyn O'Keefe) for a teenage TV star called Brock Hudson (Matthew Lillard - Scream), he accepts a bet from his friend Dean (Paul Walker - Varsity Blues). The bet involves school oddball Laney Boggs (Rachael Leigh Cook - 11:14) and Zack not only has to turn the ugly duckling into a belle in time for the prom but also get her to fall in love with him. But whilst Zack goes about winning the bet he starts to have feelings for Laney as the bet becomes unimportant. Unfortunately for Zack not only is Dean unscrupulous but so is his ex Taylor who takes an instant dislike to Zack going out with Laney.

Freddie Prinze Jr. and Paul Walker in She's All That (1999)

So as already mentioned "She's All That" is basically a reworking of George Bernard Shaw's "Pygmalion" and as such goes through the various predictable stages which if you can't see the outcome within the first 10 minutes well you haven't watched enough movies. It is of course adapted to fit in with the teenage high school scene and as such there is that stereotypical element as the movie draws on countless other teenage high school movies to create a visual style, think "Clueless" and you will get the picture. All of which means that "She's All That" ends up a completely average and generic teenage romantic comedy which goes through the paces but fails to bring anything unique to the picture.

But whilst there is no hiding my disappointment that "She's All That" ends up rather generic it does work and it will entertain. Teenage audiences watching it now may find it all a bit corny but from various stupid gags, such as the over the top TV star of a reality show, it will also make them laugh. As such "She's All That" serves itself up as a teenage rom-com and that is exactly what it is and never masquerades itself as being anything more than a simple and sometimes amusing reworking of "Pygmalion".

Leading this generic teenage romantic comedy are Freddie Prinze Jr. and Rachael Leigh Cook who individually are appealing in a teenage sort of way. Prinze Jr. who at the end of the 90s and into the start of the new millennium seemed type cast in these sort of teenage roles once more delivers a solid but average performance. What this means is he is good looking and can turn on the charm but the character is 2 dimensional and Prinze Jr. doesn't find any depth in him even in the most tender of moments. As for Rachael Leigh Cook who is suppose to be the almost ugly duckling, well it's bad casting because behind the glasses and pony tail you still have this beautiful young woman making the transformation less than believable. Although saying that Cook manages to give Laney an interesting temperament almost feisty as she rebukes the cool kids who she finds herself mixing with as well as having a mischievous side. Unfortunately whilst both Cook and Prinze Jr. look like an appealing couple them chemistry between them is non existent making the whole falling in love side of things purely cliche.

Aside from this lead duo it is a case of Matthew Lillard playing it larger than life as Brock Hudson the star of a TV show and Paul Walker giving us deviousness as Zack's friend Dean Sampson. And those two are really the only two actors who make any impression with the rest of the teenage cast being generic and unmemorable even Usher who appears as the campus DJ.

What this all boils down to is that "She's All That" is a rather generic teenage romantic comedy. It may take George Bernard Shaw's "Pygmalion" as the basis but what we get is nothing more than just an average reworking of it, adapting it to a high school setting and filling it with teenage stereotypes. Whilst average it is entertaining but like so many other romantic comedies fails to leave any lasting impression.