Vote now for Best of Detroit 2021

Wednesday, February 3, 1999

She's All That

Posted By on Wed, Feb 3, 1999 at 12:00 AM

During a suitably magical moment in their unconventional romance, Laney Boggs (Rachael Leigh Cook) tells Zack Siler (Freddie Prinze Jr.) that she feels like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman, but without all the hooker stuff. The line is delivered without a whiff of irony or cynicism, and it proves that Cinderella is not just alive and well, but attending high school in Los Angeles.

In She’s All That, Laney is a promising painter and a major social outcast among her fellow seniors, a status conferred upon her by a rigid social hierarchy – her father cleans the swimming pools of her wealthy classmates – and reinforced by Laney’s instinctual distrust of her fellow adolescents, a group not known for compassion or empathy.

Zack, on the other hand, is literally Prince Charming: class president, soccer player supreme, with a grade point average high enough to earn him a stack of acceptance letters from Ivy League universities. But what brings Zack to Laney isn’t the proverbial glass slipper, but a wager between competitive friends.

Having been dumped by his bitch-goddess girlfriend, who’s taken up with a demi-celebrity from MTV’s "The Real World" – scenes re-enacting the series, particularly its incessant, banal bickering, are some of the film’s funniest – Zack bets that his reflected glory can turn any girl in the school into the prom queen. Enter Laney, the girl least likely to be anything but a hopeless misfit.

Screenwriter R. Lee Fleming Jr. supplies suitably snappy – yet innocuous – dialogue for teens separated by a chasm of their own making. Director Robert Iscove (Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella) makes She’s All That breezy and light-hearted, despite the story’s cruel cornerstone. He even stages a dance sequence that would be right at home in Gillian Armstrong’s 1982 new wave musical, Starstruck.

She’s All That taps into a recent trend in movies: stories of interesting women who find themselves overlooked and/or neglected until along comes a life-altering, happenstance romance. It’s a curious storyline for a post-women’s movement era, but the movies still skirt reality in favor of fairy tale expectations, and Cinderella smiles.

Serena Donadoni writes about film for Metro Times. E-mail her at


We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Detroit Metro Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Metro Times Press Club for as little as $5 a month.

Most Popular

Read the Digital Print Issue

October 20, 2021

View more issues


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Best Things to Do In Detroit

© 2021 Detroit Metro Times - Contact Us

Website powered by Foundation