She’s All That


In this inoffensive variation
on John Hughes’s frenetic
Cinderella stories, April (post­ spring break and post­college acceptance season) is the perfect time to upend the established social order. When the most popular girl in school (a vamping, foot-stamping Jodi Lyn O’Keefe) dumps her brainy, sensitive jock boyfriend (Freddie Prinze Jr.) for an obnoxious MTV star (Matthew Lillard, in a dead-on Puck impersonation), the stage is set for a cruel, Pygmalion-style bet. The spurned jock vows to transform the “scary, inaccessible” class dork into the next prom queen in six weeks.

Of course, the game would be a lot tougher if the victim (Rachael Leigh Cook) wasn’t a Winona Ryder look-alike, complete with quavering voice and killer bod. It’s never quite believable, either, that the heroine’s sudden social ascent is a great thrill for every other unpopular student. She’s a poor, motherless waif with only one friend (male), so it’s a mystery, rather than a triumph, when this loner knocks them dead at the prom wearing a Dior-style prom dress and Audrey Hepburn do. Amid all the cameos (Anna Paquin, Usher, Lil’ Kim), only Prinze, who has the ethereal, gentlemanly quality of a young Anthony Perkins, gets enough screen time to really make an impression.