Fixing He’s All That Pt. 1

There were a lot of issues with the sequel/remake of She’s All That that came out on Netflix a few weeks ago. It was disappointing because certain aspects of the original have aged badly but there is some charm to the original. The chemistry between the actors, not just the leads, was excellent. Also, with such a large cast, it’s easy for characters to be written without dimension, but even the most outlandish characters (Matthew Lillard), still follow the laws of physics. This includes the first law of physics: poop smells.

In the remake, characters have a shit fight and then we’re supposed to believe that this is a romantic/bonding moment. This is not to say that shit fight scenes can’t work in a comedy — although the only one I can think of at the moment is the one in the first season of Parks & Rec. The reason that scene works is because the adults, Leslie and Tom, are disgusted by the fight. Tom immediately excuses himself and Leslie tries to break up the fight. The teenagers start throwing shit at her. Leslie uses a trash can lid as a shield, remarks on the smell, and is grossed out. Her own engagement in the fight is gradual, and by the time she admits that it is kind of fun, I, as a viewer, am fully engaged in the scene and laughing.

On the other hand, in He’s All That, Padgett slips as she climbs down from a horse and lands in a pile of manure. Nevermind that aside from that pile of shit, the stable is immaculate. When Cameron laughs at her, Padgett scoops up some of the poop and throws it at his face. Neither character remarks on the smell, neither is grossed out, and Cameron’s reaction to having shit thrown in his face is to laugh and share intimate eye contact with Padgett. This is not a parody movie. Just a regular old rip-off of an okay teen comedy from the late 1900s.

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