Pizza Hut, Ilia Magnificence, Outdated Navy, Core Hydration h2o, Lucky Charms, Eos skincare, and Alo Yoga’s Head-to-Toe Glow Oil. That is just a partial list of the brand names prominently showcased, encouraged, or basically hashtagged on monitor in Netflix’s new passionate comedy He’s All That. And though merchandise placement is absolutely very little new for Hollywood, the question in this article is how a movie with so a lot of it continue to manages to glance like it was manufactured on a pupil movie finances with Rebecca Black’s “Friday” audio video as its principal aesthetic inspiration. Maybe all that products placement funds went to spending Kourtney Kardashian for a painfully picket cameo as a cutthroat magnificence business proprietor hoping to source manufacturer promotions for her own fictional line of products and solutions. Or possibly that is just the variety of cash you want to get TikTok’s 3rd most-followed person to make her performing debut in your superior faculty rom-com.
There’s plenty of time to ponder those thoughts for the duration of a teenager flick so sleepy it could have benefited from a branded espresso offer. The gimmick of He’s All That is that it is a gender-flipped remake of the admirer beloved ’90s rom-com She’s All That, in which Freddie Prinze Jr.’s well-known jock helps make a guess that he can transform any girl into promenade queen, even an artsy loner performed by Rachael Leigh Cook dinner (who pops up as a distinctive character below). In practice, even so, He’s All That is truly a lot more of a TikTok-period riff on the themes of director Mark Waters’ 2004 teen hit Mean Women—right down to a climatic prom court docket speech about the worth of not getting superior faculty reputation also seriously. Padgett Sawyer (serious-life TikToker Addison Rae) is a teen queen who hides her a lot less-than-glamorous genuine lifestyle driving a flawlessly manicured, incredibly well-known social media feed. Her model is self-empowerment by way of makeovers, in which she sells herself as a photo-ideal voice of knowledge, like Cosmo journal introduced to life. But when she unintentionally livestreams her brutal crack-up with her cheating boyfriend, she becomes a meme-able laughing inventory and risks getting rid of the sponsorship that’s supposed to shell out for her higher education.
To its credit history, He’s All That basically comes up with a considerably much better rationale than the original as to why a well known teenager may make your mind up to give a loner rebel a makeover. In this circumstance, Padgett desires a substantial-profile stunt that can help you save her brand name and assist her hold her livelihood. Yet the motion picture goes forward and provides an true lunchroom bet with a classmate as very well, which makes even a lot less feeling in this context, when Padgett has a great deal extra on the line. No matter, she’s quickly been challenged to deal with up arrogant, delinquent Cameron Kweller (Cobra Kai’s Tanner Buchanan), whose pursuits consist of photography, horseback driving, grunge manner, Kurosawa movies, singing in the glee club, ranting in opposition to fashionable technological innovation, and raving about the lattes at LA’s Union Station. (You know, that sort of male.) Of program, as Padgett turns Cameron from drab to fab, she also learns some important lessons about what really matters in lifetime. Like attaining followers for the right good reasons.
There is nothing at all inherently wrong with the idea of a teen rom-com centered on social media recognition and influencer culture—even a single that doesn’t essentially see those issues as evil. But He’s All That delivers absolutely nothing beyond buzzwords, vacant platitudes, and sponcon. Even though the first She’s All That is rarely a masterpiece of teenager rom-com filmmaking, it has a goofy guilelessness that can help it go down straightforward. He’s All That, by comparison, is painfully strained, with flatly overexposed cinematography, choppy editing, and stiff performances. Although Rae has the presence of somebody who is aware how to be affable on digicam, she’s incapable of the form of emotional vulnerability which is wanted to anchor a intimate comedy. And considering that Buchanan is only marginally a lot more qualified in that spot, the two make for a disastrously inert few.
He’s All That attempts to enable its youthful stars present off some of their other talents by awkwardly shoehorning in karaoke sequences, struggle scenes, and dance breaks, which only provides to the total sense of desperation. As does the way the movie keeps cutting to random laughing response pictures as if that will by some means disguise the simple fact that none of its comedy actually lands. To be truthful, by the time a teenager leaves a party by asking her host “Can I get some KFC to go?” and then grabbing an total bucket of chicken, you have to question if He’s All That is at minimum fairly in on the product placement joke, à la the cult basic Cook dinner vehicle Josie And The Pussycats. But whilst there are glimmers of self-consciousness to its silliest moments (like a viral pop star who’s perpetually taking off his shirt), He’s All That is ultimately as well enamored with the electricity of social media advertising to truly bite the hand that feeds it. This is a film that can only conceive of teenage authenticity as switching your brand name from beauty tutorials to vacation vlogging. #Relatable this is not.