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Is Netflix's Remake 'He's All That' Even Better Than 'She's All That'?

He's All That Movie Poster Addison Rae Padgett Sawyer Tanner Buchanan Cameron Kweller Netflix
Netflix

It is here. Netflix’s remake of “She’s All That” has hit the streaming service, making some wonder if “He’s All That” is even better than the original. I know that saying a remake is better than the initial film is a massively unpopular taboo. However, it merits being questioned in this case. So, let’s break it down.

I was hesitant when Netflix announced that it was doing a remake (reboot?) of one of the late 90s’ teen treasures -- “She’s All That.” All of the questions that usually surround the whys of creating a new movie based on a vintage gem quickly sprang to mind. To its credit, “He’s All That” actually has a good reason to exist. 

What It Is About

The remake uses the recently-chic gender reversal to spruce up the “She’s All That” storyline, and instead of feeling like a millennial stunt, it works – big time. TikTok megastar Addison Rae takes on the leading role of Padgett Sawyer. In a mirror to her real-life, “He’s All That” sets Rae’s Padgett as an influencer superstar with a huge following until she gets thrown a major curveball. 

When Padgett’s rant against her cheating (and hilarious) boyfriend, Jordan Van Draanen (a scene-stealing Peyton Meyer), goes viral, Padgett loses massive online ground. Padgett agrees to the makeover bet made in “She’s All That” with her friend, Alden (a standout Madison Pettis), to reboot her popularity. From here, “He’s All That” sets its sights on Cameron Kweller (Tanner Buchanan, “Cobra Kai”).

The Hook Is Set

Padgett works to make Cameron over, and in the process, begins to have feelings for him, which he also returns. Contrary to my consensus of what is being said online, this romance and the remake work big time. There are genuine laugh-out-loud moments that punctuate the script as it acknowledges Gen Z’s online obsession without completely lampooning it.

“He’s All That” has a huge advantage right out of the gate that it seizes for all it is worth. It is directed by “Mean Girls” helmer Mark Waters, and as he did in that mega-hit, he finds the funny, fast and furiously. Waters does not stay too long for certain comic moments. He lets the comedy flow in and out with natural speed, and the cast handles it well.

He's All That Tanner Buchanan Cameron Kweller Addison Rae Padgett Sawyer Netflix
Kevin Estrada / Netflix

The Performances Are Pretty Surprising

Addison Rae quickly puts away any skepticism about her acting debut. Her comic timing is present, and she believably connects with Tanner Buchanan’s Cameron. Both stars make the script work, and Buchanan builds on the shoulders of his breakout role in “Cobra Kai.” Thankfully, “He’s All That” manages to naturally incorporate some of Buchanan’s mojo from the Netflix series into the film.

In a pleasant development, all of the supporting cast proves delightful. As Cameron’s younger sister, Brin, Isabella Crovetti pulls off a surprisingly poignant moment towards the end of the movie with Tanner Buchanan’s Cameron. Crovetti along with Myra Molloy and Madison Pettis’ terrific performances as Addison’s friends, Quinn and Alden, respectively, and Annie Jacob as Nisha help “He’s All That” shine.

So, Is “He’s All That” Better Than “She’s All That”?

Yes! “He’s All That” hits its stride early on and never stops. Both lead characters are likable, and the supporting characters drive the story rather than distract from it. In truth, the emergence of many rising stars throughout the cast is self-evident. There is not a weak link in the ensemble. 

Adding to the excitement is that “She’s All That” is not my *favorite* teen 90s movie. So, my mind was a bit more open to “He’s All That.” The bottom line is that the gender reversal works to the story’s advantage, as giving a guy a makeover makes more sense. Plus, Padgett actually shows emotional growth throughout “He’s All That,” whereas my memory recalls Padgett’s “She’s All That” counterpart Zack (Freddie Prinze Jr.) remaining pretty stagnant.

Final Thoughts

“He’s All That” is a leap forward in so many ways. Netflix has proven it has its finger on the teen pulse with shows like “Never Have I Ever” and the “To All The Boys” trilogy. This take on “He’s All That” is equally impressive. The comedy is fresh and easy to follow, even if you are not a member of Gen Z. As a millennial, that proved quite stellar.

Bottom line, watch “He’s All That.” It brought this viewer much-needed laughs and a little brightness. The remake is now streaming on Netflix, and subscribers are watching it. As of this Thursday (September 2), “He’s All That” is the second most-watched program on Netflix.

PS: While “Kiss Me” by Sixpence None the Richer is one of my all-time favorite love songs, the remix by Cyn is pretty awesome.

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