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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

She’s All That Blu-Ray Review

Reviewed by Jami Ferguson
A favorite from the ’90s, this fun Miramax film stars Freddie Prinze Jr. (I Know What You Did Last Summer) and Rachael Leigh Cook (Josie and the Pussycats) as an unlikely but charismatic high school duo. Matthew Lillard (Scream), Paul Walker (Fast Five), Jodi Lyn O’Keefe (TV’s “Two and a Half Men”), Kevin Pollak (Red State), Kieran Culkin (Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World), Elden Henson (Lords of Dogtown), Gabrielle Union (Bad Boys II) and Anna Paquin (HBO’s “True Blood”) also star, alongside music sensations Usher Raymond and Kimberly “Lil’ Kim” Jones.  After being dumped unexpectedly by his gorgeous and popular girlfriend (O’Keefe), high school heartthrob Zack Siler (Prinze) bets he can turn any girl into a prom queen. He selects the school’s biggest nerd, Laney Boggs (Cook), as the subject for his popularity experiment, unbeknownst to her. After an amazing makeover and getting to know Laney, Zack falls for her. But when Laney discovers the truth about the bet, Zack is forced to realign his priorities and win back her affection.

Film (2 out of 5 stars) 

Zach (Freddie Prinze Jr.) is the stereotypical “big man on campus” – the popular, Class President, with the beautiful girlfriend.  At the start of the film, Zach’s world is shaken when his girlfriend Taylor dumps him without warning after falling for a reject from MTV’s Real World named Brock (Matthew Lillard).  Zach claims that Taylor could be easily replaced and he and his friend Dean (Paul Walker) strike a bet. The terms of the bet are that Zach must turn anyone into Prom Queen in six weeks.  Dean chooses Laney Boggs (Rachel Leigh Cook), a plain, hard working student with a passion for the arts.
Zach assumes Laney is going to jump at the chance to date him and he is immediately and publicly dismissed.  Zach learns that he has an ally in Laney’s little brother Simon (Kieran Culkin).  After Zach follows Laney to her after school job to ask her out again she reluctantly agrees that he can meet her at an artist’s performance. Trying to put him on the spot, Zach is brought on stage and he delivers and impromptu hackey-sack performance that detail the expectations weighing on his shoulders.  Zach leaves the theater exhilarated and Laney rejects him yet again.
When Laney says she cannot go out with Zach because she has to clean her house, Zach sends the JV soccer team to clean for her.  He also enlists the help of his younger sister Mackenzie (Anna Paquin) to give her a makeover.  Laney’s transformation is amazing but a new dress and some makeup doesn’t make Taylor play nice and she ends up dumping a drink on Laney at the party. Zach begins to get to know Laney, have genuine feelings for her and at the same time Dean begins pursuing her.  This causes quite a rift between the two friends and Laney learns of the bet, from Dean.  Dean takes Laney to the prom, acting as though he truly likes her when he is trying to get someone to bet him that he can score with her.  In the end, Zach must convince Laney that his feelings are true and earn a second chance.
I’m not sure when it was I actually saw She’s All That.  I thought I remembered it to be a charming, sweet romantic comedy.  Now I’m not sure I’ve ever seen this movie before this.  It turned out to be more of a teenage drama than I expected and I’m honestly not sure what I was thinking.  I also thought I remembered Freddie Prinze Jr. to be a lot more handsome than he appears to be in the movie.  So I did not fall in love with Freddie Prinze Jr.  I’m also amazed at how annoying Paul Walker is in this movie, because he doesn’t annoy me in the Fast and the Furious movies.  I can’t actually place Rachel Leigh Cook, but she did a good job playing the nerdy girl that cleans up well and turns out to be quite the hottie.  Anna Paquin is also more annoying than usual, but where they really lost me on this one was at the Prom.  What was with the choreographed dances?  This is not a musical but suddenly at prom the entire class starts dancing these really odd choreographed numbers that are meant to look completely natural – and don’t.  She’s All That was released in 1999 and back then my 22 year old self thought it was pretty cute and kind of sweet.  Fast forward a lot of years later and the 34 year old me thinks it’s kind of dumb.
Video (3 out of 5 stars) 
She’s All That is presented in 1080p with an 1.85:1 aspect ratio. Rachel Leigh Cook’s skin tone was off, specifically at the start of the film and I don’t think it was intentional. The picture quality veers from sharp to soft throughout the movie and some of the night scenes could have looked a lot better. Overall, the transfer was decent and without major issues, but it should have made a better Blu-ray debut than this.
Audio (4 out of 5 stars)
While She’s All That could have had better video quality, this lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix turned out a lot better as it made good use of its soundtrack.  The 90′s music and theme song add a lot to the overall feel of the picture.  The music sounds great and it really adds a lot to what would otherwise be another romantic comedy.  There’s some nice directionality in certain scenes such as the prom dance which are handled well.  Dialogue is clear and consistent throughout without needing to adjust volume for raised voices.

Extras (2 out of 5 stars) 

There’s not very many special features here and the only one worth checking out is the commentary.
  • Commentary by Director Robert Iscove – The commentary was actually more interesting than I expected with all the people in this movie that went on to do bigger things.  The dance sequence was touched on briefly, but still not adequately explained to my satisfaction.
  • Music Video – Sixpence None The Richer “Kiss Me”
  • Video for the theme song to She’s All That
  • Theatrical Trailer

Summary (3 out of 5 stars) 

With very few special features and nothing to wow me in the video department, I’m afraid that She’s All That isn’t really all that.  It’s the kind of movie I would stop to watch if it were on television and there was nothing else on, but I doubt I’d watch again on Blu-ray given all the other choices I have in my collection.
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