One thing's for sure: this remake of the 1999 hit She's All That pays the earlier film a great compliment in relying quite so heavily on its formula. In ways large and small, He's All That works as a clear-cut updating of the original.
Key plot points and characters are only slightly adjusted here, with the biggest changes being the gender-swapped makeover and a new social media world that didn't yet exist at the turn of the millennium.
Fans will enjoy the self parodying cameos, especially an amusing Mathew Lillard as the sarcastic high school principal and Kourtney Kardashian as an insincere brand manager. Lillard steals what little screen time he has, managing to whip out some of his dance moves from the original and deliver a couple of chuckle-worthy lines. She's All That star Rachel Leigh Cook's presence is much more subdued by comparison.
The film is trimmed to a tight 88 minutes and moves quickly, maybe even too fast to create much rapport between the leads. The camera certainly loves Addison Rae, an influencer playing to type here, and she comes across as genuine enough in her acting debut. Though Tanner Buchanan delivers his lines more credibly, she's the film's big draw.
The cast is conspicuously more diverse than the original, including race and body size, which is a welcome addition to an otherwise predictable tale. Also new here: the extreme wealth of some of the high schoolers and their constant use of social media. The new "opting out" is protecting one's privacy or not having a smart phone, and the film critiques the superficiality of lives lived online, valued by image and followers, while "real life" passes by.
The critique is gentle and pretty superficial itself, but it's a positive one for the film's target audience.
Read the full review at Common Sense Media.