Sunday, March 22, 2009

She's All That

She's All That; Romantic comedy, USA, 1999; D: Robert Iscove, S: Freddie Prinze Jr., Rachel Leigh Cook, Jodi Lyn O'Keefe, Matthew Lilard, Anna Paquin

Laney (17) is a secluded, unpopular high school girl who wears glasses, paints and is ashamed that her father cleans pools while her younger brother Simon is his assistant. At the end of spring break, the most popular guy in school, Zack, discovers that his girlfriend Taylor left him for an actor of some TV show called "The Real World". Thus, as a joke, Zack makes a bet with a friend that he will make a prom queen out of Laney. At first, she doesn't quite realize why Zack takes her to a theater of avant-garde art and on the beach, but then he even gets her contact lenses and a new hair-due. When Laney finds out that it was all a bet, she goes on prom night with someone else. Zack apologizes to her and they become a couple, even though he lost the bet.

In the mass of ephemera teenage films there is also this version of "Cinderella" called "She's All That", but which departs a lot from it's cliches. The heroine Laney, played by Rachel Leigh Cook, reminds of the one from cult TV series "Daria": she is cynical in the exposition where she threatens to her little brother that she will spit in his juice if he doesn't wake up from bed, but at the same time she also has untypically weak grades in school (even though she wears glasses) while the popular Zack is the 4th best student of the year. Still, the dialogues between Zack and Laney don't have such sharpness that had "Daria", despite such statement like "rectal archeology" and "why are you talking to me? Are you in some 'help the geeks' programme?" When Laney gains assertiveness with time she slowly starts to change, which is something the authors done really well with a neat touching gradation, while they also avoided a purely happy ending since she doesn't become a complete winner at the finale. Too bad the execution is standard, but there is simply something charming about this movie as a whole.


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