Whilst Valentines Day has just passed us by, if you’re still looking for that one thing to tug at your heart strings, then look no further than She’s All That, which turns 20 this year. With a slew of 90’s stars including heart throb Freddie Prinze Jr., the late Paul Walker and Rachel Leigh Cook this is sure to satisfy your cravings for a nostalgic rom-com.
The film is about a bet hatched between Zack (Prinze Jr.) and Dean (Paul Walker) which goes awry when Zack falls for Laney (Cook), a laughably trite aggressive nerdy girl at their high school. Zack quickly understands, in classic 90’s boyishness, that there is far more to a woman than just their looks.
Whilst the film may be celebrating 20 years since its release, it’s still a very interesting watch. Prinze Jr. himself stated that She’s All That is very much like a film from 80’s coming-of-age heavyweight director John Hughes, albeit with a more realistic twist. Laney is depicted as someone who is not nerdy because of her intelligence, but rather seen as a freak because of her passion for art, which was a much more relateable for disillusioned gen-X’rs. Of course, the 90’s saw a rise in artistic movements which began, as many do, subversively and challenged established norms and narratives. For fans of Hughes’ work such as The Breakfast Club or Pretty in Pink but wanted something more relatable, this is certainly for you; a popular character falls for someone who is made a pariah for her art, rather than a conventionally nerdy young woman.
The film blends these romantic elements with the wacky gross-out comedy that became a staple of 90’s teen films to present an oddly entertaining film. This film could function as a elixir to much of the rom-com norms we’ve seen become established in the last 10 years, which in many ways have limited the diversity, and frankly the fun, of the genre. Indeed, whilst films such as To All the Boys I Have Ever Loved or Sierra Burgess is a Loser may be trying to recapture this style of comedy, nothing can quite beat the authentically 90’s efforts that were made.
If you’re in diabolical need of a good romantic comedy to throw you back to a time you’re unlikely to even remember, then She’s All That is the film for you right now. With a quintessentially 90’s cast and, indeed, 90’s narrative, turn off your Smash Mouth, and put it in the VCR.