Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Randomness: She’s All That

Yesterday was Rachel Leigh Cook’s birthday. She’s one of those seemingly ubiquitous teen-stars of the nineties and early aughts. Her biggest calling card, résumé is her work on She’s All That. It’s one of those teen movies resting on an essentially moralistic foundation, which it both exploits and try to shroud in its hipness. Freddie Prinze Jr. is the reluctant jock with a heart of near-gold who – not of his own volition – makes a bet with his much more jerk-like friend to turn the school’s art freak, Cook, into a viable candidate for Prom Queen.
I suppose it’s not quite zeitgeist quality, but there’s something exponentially nineties about the teen flicks of the era. It’s more than an ostensible (at best) type of freshness; they’re just so unencumbered by cynicism that even their attempts at irony come off as decidedly sincere. The entire scenario has been done ad nauseum – two parties pulling the strings and changing the status quo for another; from My Fair Lady to Trading Places and on and on –the film itself is an obvious throwback to Pygmalion. She’s All That is not really effective because of the ground it covers, which is scant. It sets up its issues adeptly, though. Zach has his tension with his father regarding college; Laney has her own tensions in regards to her tenuous future as an art major. Then, there’s the usual issue of the romance across vary social class.

Still, as I maintained, it’s not really notable for the ground it covers. It’s about the cast, really. It’s somewhere just on the cusp of Prinze’s rise to stardom and it also features Matthew Lillard before his career (briefly) took off. He and Prinze would team up again for that Scooby Doo fiasco…but, that’s better left unsaid. Paul Walker is the antagonistic best friend of Prinze, and it's vaguely ironic that he's - essentially - the biggest name of the lot today. I’ve noticed more than a few critics who took particular umbrage with the choreographed dance scene at the prom in She’s All That, which makes me wonder if they’re missing the silly, albeit sincere, panache of the film. It’s less interested in the admittedly very basic storyline, and crafting those charming moments just for the benefit of the teen audience. And, it ultimately doesn’t come off too bad for it. And, this was the song that introduced me to Sixpence’s “Kiss Me”. No child of the nineties could ignore that one.


Candice Frederick said...

ahhhh this movie was cheesy cute. where are all these people now??

Brandon B. said...

I understand how it could be likable in some respects, but the movie, to me, is really retched. I think its the fact that it has NINETIES written all over it and therefore has aged badly. Cook is better than her surround, and deserved a better movie for a role she fit perfectly. Also, what's with the overly noticeable late 20/early 30-something actors playing teenagers? Even if they weren't that old, man did they look it.

What was with the whole Culkin kid subplot? His hearing aid(?), the weird pepper thing, the bully-pubes scene? Overall its an awkward movie with bits of everything badly thrown in. Not Another Teen Movie did it better.

Andrew: Encore Entertainment said...

candice no idea where lillard, freddie and rachel are, but walker is doing fast and furious and i completely forgot to mention the lovely anna paquin is in this playing prinze's little sister.

brandon i don't THINK they were old, but i could be wrong. your criticisms are valid, but this is nostalgia for me.