Film Scouts Reviews

"She's All That"

by Thom Bennett

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Every decade has them. From Frankie and Annette frolicking at the beach to Molly Ringwald and her fellow Brat Packers in the eighties, teen movies seem to have more lives than "Friday the 13th" has sequels...

"She's All That" is something of a modern day retelling of "My Fair Lady." Laney Boggs (Rachel Leigh Cook) is Harrison High's resident weirdo. She is into her painting, performance art and family in a place where it seems that everybody else is just really into themselves. After a childish bet between star athlete and school heart throb Zack Stiller (Freddy Prinze Jr.) and one of his cronies that they can turn any girl into the prom queen, Laney is suddenly thrust from her self imposed obscurity into the High School spot light.

What starts out as an ill advised joke between friends quickly results in Zack falling for Laney, who is unlike anyone he has ever known. He helps her come out of her shell and she shows him that, as cliché as it may be, true beauty does indeed lie within. The supposed "In Crowd" is turned on their heads and a blow is struck for nerds and outcasts everywhere. If 80's cine-master John Hughes could have patented the formula, he'd be a rich man. Oh yeah, he is a rich man. Scratch that last part.

The cast is excellent throughout with great support help by the likes of Kieran Culkin, Kevin Pollak and Academy Award winner Anna Paquin with no trace of her "Piano"era accent. This is a case where all involved, including the writer and director, were careful to fill in those pesky cracks where an ok film can quickly crumble to bits.

Freddy Prinze Jr, who was excellent in the indie effort "House of Yes", again gives a fine performance as the jock/brain/prom king. However, the real find of this movie is newcomer Rachel Leigh Cook, who is not only stunning but manages to hold the emotional core of the story together almost single handedly.

The result is a rare film that successfully navigates that ever so thin line, varying between surprising intelligence and downright silliness. "She's All That" is a standout is the recent class of teen flick Think "Pretty In Pink" with a 90's facelift minus the Duck Man... and how can that be a bad thing.

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