He’s All That, the gender-flipped rom-com starring the TikTok mega-influencer Addison Rae, takes place within the bleakest highschool on earth. It’s referred to as, marvelously, “Cali High,” and its scholar physique is fully composed of both extraordinarily lovely, extraordinarily common social-media stars — who relentlessly doc their trite, Habsburgian relational drama for thousands and thousands of leering sickos on-line — or the dogged stans of those self same stars, who appear fully overwhelmed by the truth that they share historical past class with all these genuinely well-known individuals. This is among the first main teen movies to be made fully within the shadow of the TikTok revolution, and as such, it’s agonizingly conscious of all of the truisms we’ve instructed ourselves about what Gen Z means. Hollywood believes that with a purpose to converse to younger individuals in 2021, one should write a screenplay that’s completely animated by follower counts, clout scores, and virality metrics. There isn’t a humiliation higher than being eclipsed by a rival content material creator; for 90 minutes, we’re trapped in a hellish alternate dimension the place an area senior-prom election can development nationally.
When you’ve seen the 1999 basic She’s All That, you’ll be conversant in the broad strokes of the Netflix remake. The great-hearted however myopic TikTokker Padgett Sawyer (performed by Addison Rae) is dumped by fellow high-schooler influencer Jordan Van Draanen, in an embarrassing non-public second that’s sadly beamed out dwell throughout the globe. Padgett is dropped at her lowest level; hemorrhaging followers, shedding sponsorships, and getting iced out by a beauty-brand supervisor who’s carried out with a understanding fluency by Kourtney Kardashian. (“You’ve gone viral, in a bad way.”) So now, single and dateless, Padgett accepts a problem to rework the varsity’s resident ugly duckling into an enviable hunk. That ugly duckling is Cameron Kweller, who’s, after all, performed by the objectively sizzling and ripped Tanner Buchanan, which is custom, contemplating his She’s All That counterpart is performed by Rachael Leigh Cook dinner. The 2 ultimately fall in love and should overcome the darkish secret that first sparked their romance.
This story completely may’ve labored as a straight-up remake with none of those queasy, meta-versal tendrils. However given the presence of Addison Rae, and the determined stress manufacturing firms are feeling to get younger individuals watching motion pictures once more, He’s All That appears particularly designed for probably the most terminally on-line youngsters conceivable. There are a number of scenes the place characters simply stare at their telephones. Their followers tab is normally superimposed within the body, and the quantity both waxes or wanes relying on the motion within the plot. Within the opening sequence, Padgett rolls away from bed and instantly streams out a make-up tutorial. Hearts, kissy faces, and TikTok logos float up throughout the digicam, as Netflix blazes by means of a breathless stretch of rapid-fire product-placement offers. The one one who isn’t on the web is Cameron, which is evidenced by the truth that he’s humiliated for his flip telephone, and that he hilariously exhibits as much as a seaside get together in denims and a GG Allin shirt.
Truthfully, there are moments of He’s All That that may very well be interpreted as a grim cautionary story — suppose Spring Breakers for zoomers — particularly as Padgett is pressured to reconcile the monomania of her worldview. However the movie by no means manages to completely study what occurs to a society when “having a lot of followers” is everybody’s final aspiration. As a substitute, we finish on a scene of Padgett and Cameron driving off into the horizon, because the forged does iPhone-resolution TikTok dances by means of the credit.
So sure, He’s All That is a troublesome movie to suggest, however given its single-minded obsession with the web, you’ll not be shocked to study that anybody can get the complete expertise of its run time by means of bite-size chunks on YouTube. The film has solely been out for six days, however already Netflix has uploaded fancam-style compilations referred to as, like, “Padgett and Cameron’s Best Moments,” which was sometimes the labor bequeathed to the nation’s 15-year-olds. Do you wish to consider the chemistry of the 2 leads in six minutes? You’re in luck.
Netflix additionally has a knack for giving freely the perfect a part of its motion pictures effectively forward of time. One of many few actually healthful moments of He’s All That happens at that aforementioned seaside get together the place Cameron — once more, wearing a GG Allin shirt — sheepishly joins Padgett onstage to karaoke Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream” to allow them to spurn Padgett’s doofus ex collectively. That scene is preserved in its native type by the “Netflix Canada” YouTube web page, which I’m simply now realizing might be unofficial. Oops!
However when you have a distaste for the promotional feed — should you choose your fan edits to own some genuine, hormonal juice — you’ll be happy to know that Addison stans are nonetheless piecing collectively He’s All That romance montages on their very own phrases. It’s heritage, man. You and I would’ve been watching Seth and Summer time supercuts set to Phantom Planet in 2005, and at the moment the youngsters are watching Padgett and Cameron supercuts set to Olivia Rodrigo. Nothing ever modifications.
After all, the true motive He’s All That was made is in order that the YouTube React Man class had some grist to chew on by means of the canine days of summer season. Addison Rae has elevated herself into rarefied air. Very similar to Trisha Paytas, or PewDiePie, or every other ultrafamous celeb who earned the majority of their fame on the web, every part she does will get breathlessly vlogged about by dudes in headsets in entrance of laptops. Her formal debut as an actress was purple meat. A whole lot of YouTubers are breaking down the movie scene by scene, risking a vengeful DMCA by the Netflix energy belief. Personally, I like to recommend Lucas Cruikshank’s recap. Cruikshank created the notorious Fred character — the screaming grade-schooler who dominated YouTube within the late 2000s — and ultimately got his own film deal. If anybody is aware of what it’s like to leap from ring lights to stage lights, it’s him. It’s a reasonably good distillation of He’s All That in about 20 minutes, albeit with a YouTuber bursting in each couple of seconds to get their jokes off.
In order for you the identical expertise however with a unique taste, Netflix put out a clip that includes the drag queens Trixie Mattel and Katya, who graciously sit and gossip by means of a He’s All That spotlight reel. Truthfully, I believe watching the film with these two could be the best option to take it in.
Frankly, I believe anybody interested by He’s All That is healthier off watching it piecemeal by means of a handful of various YouTube movies. This can be a film deeply steeped in social media, from its stunt casting right down to its dramatic priorities. Why would you ever watch it by means of the prism of drained, archaic outdated media? I’m certain Netflix, and each different participant within the film business, is asking itself the identical query.