I love romantic comedies, and She’s All That is one of my favorites. It premiered in early 1999, and I’ve probably seen it 50 times, but I never get tired of it. I watch it every time it comes on TV.
The plot of She’s All That is probably one you’ve heard before: the popular kid ends up falling for the nerd. But this story has some twists. Zack Siler, played by Freddie Prinze Jr., has it all. He’s cute, smart, and is dating the most popular girl in school, Taylor Vaughan (Jodie Lyn O’Keefe).
But suddenly Taylor dumps him for the Real World star she met on spring break, and Zack finds himself single. He ends up placing a bet with his friend, Dean (Paul Walker), that he can turn any girl at school into the prom queen. So naturally Dean picks the girl who he thinks is the biggest freak in school: Laney Boggs.
Laney, portrayed by Rachael Leigh Cook, doesn’t make it easy for Zack at first. She doesn’t understand why he’s suddenly paying attention to her, and I like that she was hesitant. She was right to not trust him. But after a little help from his younger sister, Zack convinces Laney to come to his friend’s party with him.
I love that Zack’s sister, Mac, told him he needed to make a little effort. Just because he’s popular doesn’t mean that every girl is going to fall in love with him right away. Mac seems really sweet and helps Laney with her hair and makeup. This leads to one of my favorite scenes ever: Laney walking down the stairs in her red dress with the song “Kiss Me” playing. Everything about this was perfect, and we can definitely tell Zack has started to have feelings for Laney.
Laney does get nominated for prom queen, but then things go horribly wrong. Dean wants to win the bet so he tells Laney everything. She’s devastated. And to make things worse, she takes Dean to prom. He’s so sleazy. Not only does he want to beat Zack, he clearly doesn’t care about Laney. He just wants to sleep with her.
Unfortunately for Dean, Laney isn’t stupid. She goes home where Zack is waiting for her. They share an adorable moment dancing by the pool where “Kiss Me” plays again, and they kiss. Taylor may have become prom queen, but Laney is the clear winner here. She became more confident, gained some friends, became a better artist, and, of course, got the guy.
One of the things I love about this movie is that Zack isn’t the stereotypical jock. He’s smart (he has the fourth highest GPA in their class), and he worries about his future. I also like how Katie (Gabrielle Union) befriends Laney and defends her throughout the movie even though Laney isn’t one of the “popular” kids. It’s always nice to see women supporting women. And probably my favorite thing about She’s All That is that Laney and Zack helped each other become better versions of themselves.
She’s All That has an amazing cast. Rachael Leigh Cook and Freddie Prinze Jr. were the perfect choice for the leads, but it’s crazy to see Paul Walker, Dule Hill, Gabrielle Union, Usher, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Matthew Lillard, and Anna Pacquin all in the same movie. The casting department definitely knew what they were doing.