Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie's plot.
Recommend this product?
0 to 4 stars: ** (2 stars)
Scale from 0 to 10: 5
Cast: Freddie Prinze Jr., Rachael Leigh Cook, Matthew Lillard, Paul Walker, Jodi Lyn OKeefe, Kevin Pollack, Usher Raymond, and Anna Paquin
Directed by: Robert Iscove
Produced by: Peter Abrams, Robert L. Levy, and Richard N. Gladstein
Written by: R. Lee Fleming, Jr.
Music by: Stewart Copeland
MPAA Rating: PG-13 (Ingestion of Pubic Hair, Sexual themes, Profanity)
Running Time: 1:35
Year Released: 1999
U.S. Distributor: Miramax Films
On the back of the video box for "Shes All That", it claims the film is a comedy about the power of attraction and the pressures of popularity. If the subject material of this movie was anything half as deep as that, there would be more than two stars at the top of this review.
Zack Siler (Freddie Prinze, Jr.) is the big man on campus at his LA high school. Hes popular, has the fourth highest GPA in his class, and has Taylor Vaughan (Jodi Lyn OKeefe), the hottest girl in school, as his girlfriend. At least until she takes a trip to Florida over spring break and falls for Brock Hudson (Matthew Lillard), a TV celebrity due to his appearances on the second season of The Real World. Hmm
whats a guy to do?
Desperate to save face in front of his classmates, Zack claims that if you strip away all [of Taylors] makeup and attitude, all you have is a c-minus GPA with a wonder-bra. He states that any girl, given the right look and the right boyfriend, is Prom Queen material. His friends, not willing to believe it until they see it, make a bet with Zack. He has six weeks to turn Laney Boggs (Rachael Leigh Cook), the schools geekiest girl, into the Prom Queen of the class of 1999. As it turns out, this is a task easier said than done, considering that Zack has probably never given Laney the time of day. To start off with, Zack approaches Laney while she is working at the local restaurant one day and begins to inquire about art (a subject Laney is rather passionate about). Unable to believe the schools most popular guy is suddenly interested in her, Laney is very cautious around Zack, until an interesting sequence comes up where the two of them go to a performing arts theatre and Zack winds up impressing the audience by talking poetically about his hackey-sack. As Laney begins to open up to Zack, he realizes that he is slowly but surely falling in love with her
Of course, complications ensue when Laney is suddenly nominated for Prom Queen because Zacks ex-girlfriend, Taylor, is vying for the much-coveted title as well. Also, Zacks friend, Dean (Paul Walker), suddenly decides hed like to have Laney for himself and tells her about the bet
And that about sums up the premise of "Shes All That". You can probably guess all that occurs afterwards, but I dont really fault the film for its predictability. Granted, when a film follows a tried-and-true formula, it can hardly be called original, but it can still be entertaining. "Shes All That" suffers from the fact that its missing the light sparkle romantic films like this are supposed to have. Also mentionable is the fact that, while Prinze and Cook are fine, mostly everyone around them is portrayed as shallow, over-the-top, one-dimensional, and (worst of all) annoying. This goes especially for Brock Hudson, who has a scene where he dances rather awkwardly to Rick James Give it to Me. I think the scene was supposed to be funny because it was so bad, but it didnt generate a laugh from me or anyone else in the room. Along with that, the scenes that show Brock in clips from The Real World go stale pretty fast. Kevin Pollack shows up as Laneys dad, but pretty much stays in the background until the obligatory scene towards the end comes up where he gives Laney a speech on why it is she should pursue a normal teenage lifestyle.
Probably the most disappointing aspect of the film for me is that we dont get to learn that much about Laney, who is the most interesting character out of the mess of stereotypes she is surrounded by. During the first part of the film, Laney is shown as being a troubled, dark, anti-social young woman and its never really explained how she got that way. All we get is a scene involving Laney explain how she felt the day of her mothers funeral. Other than that, the film focuses on Laney getting a makeover and turning into a social butterfly. Nice, but I wanted more.
"Shes All That" is also missing a climax. What we think is going to lead to an exciting and dramatic finish turns out to be dull and mundane. Why all the build-up if the filmmakers arent going to deliver? Take my word for it, shes not all that she is cracked up to be.
NOTE: The fact that Robert Iscove totally messes up what could have been a cool-as-all-hell dance sequence to Fatboy Slim's "The Rockafeller Skank" towards the end of the movie (he has Usher making stupid announcements over it and what not) should alone be enough reason to see to it that he is banished from the land of filmmaking forever!
Viewing Format: DVD
Suitability For Children: Suitable for Children Age 13 and Older
Special Effects: Well at least you can't see the strings