In He’s All That, Rachel Leigh Cook plays Padgett’s mom. Her character’s name in She’s All That is Laney and in this movie, her character’s name is Anna, so she’s obviously not supposed to be playing the same character. This is a missed opportunity. How much more weight would the story have had for Padgett to have made the same type of bet with her friends as her father had made with his?
Even though Freddie Prinze Jr. either didn’t want or wasn’t available to reprise his role as Zach, the character could have been written as dead, out of town, or re-cast. There could have been a scene between either mom or dad or both and Padgett, where the parent(s) talk about their own experiences and what they learned from it. If Anna had the kind of relationship with Padgett where they talked about stuff that matters, which is what the movie seems to want to portray, we could have gotten some tension from Anna either knowing what Padgett was up to and not approving, or not knowing because Padgett is too ashamed to tell her.
Also, since Matthew Lillard was obviously willing to reprise his exact role from She’s All that, I don’t understand why they didn’t make him Padgett’s stepfather or just a friend for Anna/Laney. I didn’t recognize his voice when the principal was making announcements throughout the movie, but I did wonder why the invisible principal had more depth than the leads. And, honestly, when he was finally revealed at the end of the movie, I lit up. He’s still so charismatic and adorable, and I think one of the reasons I wasn’t able to get into Good Girls is because his character is so bland. I miss early-oughts Matthew Lillard and I’m glad he’s still around.
I’m old, so I remember watching this movie when I was just a few years out of high school myself, and although his character was irredeemable, Matthew Lillard is just so damned captivating. To see who has become in He’s All That makes his character arc more interesting and dimensional than any other character in either movie. It was almost worse to have him elevate the scenes that he was in so that now I have ONE reason to re-watch the movie, if only for those scenes. I’m sure I’ll be able to find a compilation on YouTube, though, so I won’t have to suffer through the rest.