[Sidebar] The Worcester Phoenix
January 29 - February 5, 1999

[Movie Reviews]

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She's All That

Robert Iscove's variation on Pygmalion may be the most genuine slapstick teenage comedy since Fast Times at Ridgemont High -- it might even liberate a generation from Alicia Silverstone and Clueless. Sitting atop our LA high school's pecking order is Zack (Freddie Prinze Jr.), class president, soccer star, and doer of no wrong. The world is a veritable Eden for Zack until his girlfriend, Taylor (a comely and snobbish Jodi Lyn O'Keefe), drops him for a former cast member of The Real World (Matthew Lillard). Still licking his wounds, Zack undertakes an ill-advised bet to transform the school's resident fem-dork, Laney (Rachel Leigh Cook, reminiscent of Winona Ryder's brown-eyed goth from Beetlejuice), into a suitable Taylor replacement and the next prom queen.

Predictably, but not without angst, Laney morphs from ugly duckling into blossoming beauty, and Zack's materialistic heart sees the light of the human soul. The leads, especially Cook, create a heartfelt chemistry; the supporting cast, which features Kevin Pollak as Laney's Jeopardy-challenged father, Kieran Culkin as her peevish brother, and Elden Henson as her confidant, is quite good; and the pumping prom-dance sequence (done to Fat Boy Slim's "Rockafeller Skank") is an outrageously slick piece of choreography.

-- Tom Meek

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