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IN SHORT: Passable GenX date flick
Cranky got one of the usual obscene diss emails last week from a 16 year old reader who said "maybe you should think about who is supposed to be seeing the movie . . ." Which, of course, is what I do. So, surrounded by the target demographic, I settled in to watch She's All That, which is written by R. Lee Fleming, Jr. with a good ear to kidlet speak the three femmes behind me were speaking the dialog back at the screen before the characters onscreen said it. I can't rave, but I wasn't disappointed in the flick. That is a big statement considering that this movie is definitely not aimed at my demo.
In a nutshell: with eight weeks to go before Prom Night, the big man on campus Zack Siler (Freddie Prinze Jr.) is dumped by his long term flame Taylor Vaughan (Jodi Lyn O'Keefe). Shallow rich bitch that she is, the preferred replacement is Brock Hudson (Matthew Lillard), a dyslexic volleyball player slash total moron star of MTV's The Real World (Season 2), based on the repulsive TRW "star" Puck. In a bet with best friend Dean Sampson (Paul Walker) Zack says he can take any girl in the high school and, with a little work, turn her into the prom queen. That "lucky" winner is Laney Boggs (Rachael Leigh Cook) a clumsy art student with a rotten attitude, unkempt hair and baggy clothing. The setting is a super-rich SoCal community, where the toppers are filthy, as in rich, and Laney, whose dad (Kevin Pollak) has his own biz servicing all the pools of the rich folk) is definitely looked down upon on several levels.
That bet scenario has been done to death, and the story is straight out of The Ugly Duckling with a bit of Cinderella --- Zack's little sister Mack (Anna Paquin) does Laney's hair and makeup and voila! transformation --- but no serious statements are being made here. Kieran Culkin adds a little color as Laney's little brother. The point is strictly to entertain and as a whole, She's All That does.
After the flick the general reaction among the demo pumped into the critic's crowd was mixed on the "not the greatest" side but Cranky did note that everyone was smiling rather broadly as they downplayed the flick. That means it's probably more than a passable date flick for the GenX crowd to whom high school is still more than a painful memory. Kinda like cotton candy. You get it. You like it. It's gone.
From my angle, writing as a guy almost old enough to have fathered the actors in the flick, Cranky will report that the first hour of She's All That is a blast. The multitude of characters are just different enough that all are unique. The humor is very funny, both visual gags and script jokes are funny and sometimes disgusting or rude or a combo of all three. As the stock story twists unwind (you know that Laney will discover the bet just before the prom; that Dean is not even close to being a "best" friend, etc. etc. etc) the humor peters out and everything becomes standard stock story.
What did surprise me post screening was the number of folks that remembered (hell, had even seen) Kieran Culkin's in last year's The Mighty. Culkin plays Laney's "spaz" younger brother in this film. It's not much of a role, but the kid's obviously been noticed. That's one flick you should rent, once it's available. But I digress.
On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Eight Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to She's All That, he would have paid...
Date flick level for the GenXers. Old fogey that I am, I'd rent ($3 level) if so inclined. Though, if I did that I'd feel like a dirty old man, cuz Rachael Leigh Cook is tres cute.
And, to avoid the email questions I'll get
about that painful high school memories crack, Cranky was turned down
for his HS prom by a girl in my group who preferred to stay home rather
than party with our friends. We dated after high school and it didn't
work out. End of story.
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