Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Movie Review: She's All That

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Fun story with great leads
Cons: Predictable
The Bottom Line:
Daring high school bet
Can she become the prom queen?
Fun as you find out

"What Is This, Some Kind of Dork Outreach Program?"

I know I saw She's All That back when the movie first hit the theaters.  I don’t know why I was so interested in seeing it back then, but I do remember enjoying it.  When I happened to catch it on TV recently, I found I enjoyed it just as much.

The story is really Pygmalion set in a modern day (for 1999) high school.  Zack (Freddie Prinze, Jr.) is the senior class president and the most popular guy in school.  Everyone thrills with just a moment of his time, even if he doesn’t quite remember their names.  He returns from Spring Break to find that his long time girlfriend Taylor (Jodi Lyn O'Keefe) has hooked up with Brock Hudson (Matthew Lillard), star of The Real World, and dumped Zack as a result.

As his friends try to cheer him up, he swears he could turn any girl into the prom queen in the six weeks between now and the prom.  A bet is made with Dean (Paul Walker), and his project turns out to be Laney (Rachael Leigh Cook).  She’s an artist and a loner and is the one person on campus who doesn’t swoon over Zack.  Will he be able to earn her friendship and win the bet?  Or is he doomed to lose?

As I mentioned, this movie borrows the plot heavily from Pygmalion, better known to audiences today as My Fair Lady.  However, I actually like the characters in this movie, so I find it easier to root for them.  (Sorry, but I’ve never cared for Henry Higgins, which is why I prefer the original ending to Pygmalion over the “happy” ending of My Fair Lady.)

Of course, this is played out over a high school romantic comedy type story, and it is actually pretty funny.  Yes, there are some laughs at how dated the film already is (everyone has pagers instead of cell phones), but there are some genuinely funny moments as well.  I would say I was smiling more than I was laughing for most of the film, but I was having fun.  The best laugh?  It’s got to be the final scene.  And that’s all I’m saying.

Now that isn’t to say the plot was original or surprising.  You pretty much know where things are going from the beginning.  But as I always say, if you are engaged with the characters and having fun getting there, that's all that really matters.

The actors are what make this movie so much fun.  It’s easy to root for the main characters because Freddie and Rachael make them so likable.  The supporting cast is great, especially Matthew Lillard who has made crazy a staple of his acting career.  As a fan of psych, I got a kick out of watching Dule Hill as one of Freddie’s friends.

No, it isn’t anything original or ground breaking, but She's All That is fun.  And if you want to escape for 90 minutes, you won’t go wrong with this movie.

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