‘He’s All That’ review: Netflix’s new film starring TikTok sensation Addison Rae falls flat

  • The remake of the 90s classic film ‘She’s All That’ lacks the charm of the original and reeks of Hollywood executives trying way too hard to relate to Gen Z
  • Matthew Lillard and Rachel Leigh Cook provide some of the only funny moments in this teen rom-com
Dannie Aildasani |

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Addison Rae attends Netflix’s premiere of “He’s All That” at NeueHouse Los Angeles on Wednesday, Aug. 25, 2021, in Hollywood, California. Photo: TNS

If you’re hoping to kick back, relax, and have some laughs with a good movie, then you should not watch He’s All That.

It is not a good movie.

If you’re in the mood for one of those “so bad, it’s hilarious” films, then you should also pick a different movie.

This modern take on the 90s classic She’s All That isn’t “so bad, it’s good”. It’s just bad. Really bad.

Go watch “Mitchells vs. the Machines” instead

TikTok star Addison Rae plays Padgett Sawyer, a teen influencer who has built her brand on self-improvement and makeovers. She’s sponsored by a major cosmetics company called Bunny Venom, the head of which is played by Kourtney Kardashian, and she’s counting on that money to pay for her university education. She pretends to be financially well-off, even though she lives with her struggling single mother, and even lies to her rich friends about where she lives. Much of her life is centred around appearing to be perfect.

Then something happens that drops a bomb on her carefully-crafted life: she catches her boyfriend, fellow influencer and aspiring singer Jordan Van Draanen (Peyton Meyer), cheating on her - and it’s accidentally livestreamed on her social media accounts. She’s humiliated, she becomes a meme, and she risks losing her sponsorship after losing thousands of followers, who somehow blame her for what happened.

Just a quick side note, because we REALLY need to address it: Meyer appears to look around 35 years old in his role. A quick Google search reveals that in real life, he’s actually a handsome guy who looks his age - 22 years old - meaning that the film made a conscious decision to style him like the lead singer of a lesser-known, early 2000s boy band that formed on a reality show, released one song and was quickly forgotten. I, as the viewer, was momentarily concerned that this grown man was apparently dating a high school student and that her friends and millions of followers just seemed to be ok with it.

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Back to Padgett: Now that her life is in ruins, how can she redeem herself? Since she’s known for makeovers, she makes a bet with her friend Alden (Maddison Pettis) that she can take any boy and turn him into prom king, thereby saving her reputation and her sponsorship.

Enter Cameron (Tanner Buchanen), another student at her school. He wears a hat! He takes photographs … that he doesn’t let anyone see! He doesn’t use social media! All these things make Cameron a huge loser in the eyes of Padgett and her friends, so she decides to take him on as her project and make him over.

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We’re not against updating classic movies for the modern day - the focus on social media is quite interesting and relatable. The problem is that the movie is written by Hollywood screenwriters who THINK they know how Gen Z acts and talks, but miss the mark completely and instead, rely on stereotypes and exaggerations. It’s the film equivalent of your mum saying, “Hey fam, I don’t want to be cheugy, but I’m low-key excited to spill some tea I heard yesterday. Yeet!”

The biggest issue with the film? Addison Rae cannot act. She’s pretty. She has a nice smile. She has no emotion whatsoever in her dialogue. We can’t blame her for accepting the lead role in a remake of a beloved 90s classic - it was probably offered to her by some Netflix executive who said “Addison Rae has millions of fans, so let’s make her the lead in our film! Yeet!”

The horses may have been the best part of the film tbh. Photo: Netflix/TNS

But TikTok stardom does not transfer to movie stardom. Rae gives the kind of wooden, uncomfortable performance you would put on for extended family members who make constant comments on your appearance or berate you for not getting good enough grades, but that you still pretend to be nice to so you get lai see at Chinese New Year.

The message of the movie is confusing as well. It tries to tell you that you should be yourself, and that social media isn’t the most important thing. We don’t want to give away too much about the film, but the ending contradicts both those messages and leaves you wondering, “What was the point of this?”

Go watch “Moxie” - it’s a lot more fun than this flick

There’s only about five minutes of the film that are watchable, and it’s all thanks to the principal of Padgett’s school, played by Matthew Lillard, who starred in the original She’s All That. His jokes and questionable dancing provide the only genuine laughs you’ll have during the whole film. Rachel Leigh Cook, one of the leads of the original film, also makes an appearance as Padgett’s mother, and it’s a fun bit of nostalgia that makes you wonder “How much are they paying you to do this? I hope it’s a lot.”

Even if you’re a fan of Addison Rae - ESPECIALLY if you’re a fan of Addison Rae - skip this film. It’s not worth the hour and a half of your life you’ll never get back.

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