Saturday, February 8, 2014

She's All That (1999)

“Sometimes when you open up to people, you let the bad in with the good.”

            I recently went on a rant about teen movies today and how they suck compared to the ones that were made in the late nineties/early thousands when I wrote up 10 Things I Hate About You. I mentioned one of the best teen movies from when I was young was She’s All That in my rant. I just watched She’s All That for the first time in years and it is even better than I remembered.
            Zac Siler (Freddie Prinze, Jr.) is king of his California high school. He has everything any young good looking guy could ask for. Everything has been handed to him and has come easy to him. Zac is thrown for a loop after spring break when his gorgeous popular girlfriend Taylor Vaughn dumps him for a Real World celebrity named Brock Hudson (Matthew Lillard). He tells his friend Dean (Paul Walker) that he can get any girl he wants and just by the girl being with him can become prom queen. Dean takes the bet and pick out the girl. The girl they choose is nerdy artist Laney Boggs (Rachel Leigh Cook). Laney is skeptical of all of Zac’s attention. She is especially guarded when he starts coming to her house and is nice to her younger brother.
            One night Zac talks Laney into going out to a party. He has his sister Mackenzie (Anna Paquin) comes and make her over. Needless to say the party does not go well. Taylor is there and for some reason becomes furious when she see Laney there. Taylor storms up to Laney asking why she is there and then pours liquor down Laney’s dress. Laney runs away and Zac follows her. She tells him she is more upset that she cried in front of everyone after she had promised herself she would never cry in front of people like them.
            A few days later at school Laney sees that she has been put in the running for prom queen. She certainly did not sign up for that but she does not fight the nomination she just lets it happen. Dean begins to become a jerk. He sees that Zac really likes Laney and decides to throw a wrench in Zac’s plan. He tells Laney that Zac started seeing her as a bet and that Zac probably does not care about her. Dean moves in and plays the nice guy. He goes so far as to ask Laney to the prom. All Dean really wants is to get Laney to sleep with him.
            Fortunately Laney’s best friend and Mackenzie join forces at the prom and tell Zac what Dean has in mind. When Laney gets home Zac is waiting there for her. She got away by blowing a really loud horn in his ear.
            The cast is the cream of crop of nineties teen movies. Freddie Prinze Jr. was in all kinds of movies during this time and was one of the biggest heartthrobs. I remember seeing posters of him all the team magazines. I am sure if I looked through some of my old magazine posters he will be on the back of some of them. Gabrielle Union was like a staple in teen movies at this time even though she barely did anything in them. Her character was good though she saw that Taylor was a total bitch. Rachel Leigh Cook I kind of remember her being all over the place at the time. She is a good actress she was perfect as Laney. I think it is interesting that Laney was not ugly yet they still made her go through a makeover scene. Laney is a good character because she really did not take anyone’s bullshit and saw through everyone… well, sometimes she did.  Paul Walker played the typical asshole friend. He was another actor I remember seeing here and there in the old teen magazines. Matthew Lillard from the first time I ever saw this movie has always been Brock Hudson and I will never see him as anyone else!
            She’s All That is one of several nineties teen films that put all the ones made today to shame. Sure there is drinking and smoking and cursing but all those things are not the whole film. The story does not revolve around a guy or a girl needing to get laid or needing to get drunk or get drugs. One of the things I really liked about this movie is that Laney is not voted prom queen. So happy that cliché was avoided and wish more would not fall into them. She’s All That is very smart and very entertaining. If you have not seen this movie yet there is something wrong with you and you must see it.