“He’s All That” Movie Review


Zachary Gadams

On August 25 Netflix released its much-anticipated romantic comedy film, He’s All That, starring social media influencer Addison Rae, in a gender-swapped remake of the 1999 classic movie She’s All That.

The movie follows Rae’s character, Padgett Sawyer, a popular internet personality and makeup artist, who hides her flaws and middle-class background from her legion of followers. After a messy breakup with her boyfriend Jordan Van Draanen, a famous musician (played by Peyton Meyer), is live-streamed Padgett finds herself as the subject of mockery from her peers and the internet alike. Padgett then makes a bet with her friend Alden (Madison Pettis) that she can turn “a loser” into a prom king, in a bizarre attempt to regain her followers and sponsorships. Tanner Buchanan portrays Cameron Kweller, an aggressively unsociable classmate who becomes the unwitting subject of this bet (and for whatever reason has a strange fascination with horses).  

He’s All That is all over the place. The movie’s major story beats don’t feel significant at all, and yet they move the plot along just the same. Many scenes just feel like cheap writing, designed to be appealing through the use of various cliches, archetypes, and the characters have no real depth.  

The film makes various references in passing to things like Padgett’s middle-class background, or the death of Cameron’s parents, but then glosses over them completely after 30 seconds. It’s hard to tell what’s supposed to be important about the characters and what isn’t until it comes back at the very end of the movie.  

Beyond the writing of the movie, the sound design and camera work is incredibly poor. Crude, exaggerated audio clips are edited in post and scenes are broken up by misplaced jump cuts and shaky shots that wander off in strange directions.   

Garnished with a clumsily choreographed dance sequence at the end, He’s All That comes across as a weak attempt to appeal to a younger generation, written by people that haven’t been the younger generation for twenty years. The movie wears its influences on its sleeve, coming across as extremely derivative of other campy rom-coms like The Kissing Booth, yet it still manages to feel like it’s having an identity crisis. It’s a modern reimagining of this genre and a cowboy movie all at once, it’s exhausting.   

In spite of being panned by critics and audiences alike, the movie was a commercial success. Rae has signed a multi-movie deal with Netflix after the film reached the number one spot on the platform in 78 countries. As cringeworthy as it is soulless, He’s All That feels more like a way for Netflix to prop Addison Rae up as the star of their next big original, rather than a genuine attempt at creating something.