She’s All That
This typical Ugly Duckling story opens on Zack Siler (Freddie Prinze Jr.), the most popular guy in school, and Taylor Vaughan (Jodi Lyn O'Keefe) who (you guessed it) is the most popular girl. But when Taylor starts having sex with someone else, Zack is miffed. To save his image, he bets his friends that with his popularity, he can take the ugliest "duck" in the school and turn her into prom queen material. His buddies choose art student Laney Boggs (Rachael Leigh Cook) as the "least likely to succeed".
It wasn't enough to include all of the usual elements of teen stories: Teen drinking, the assumption that if you're not having sex you're worthless, two scenes of teens rolling around in bed, a high school full of perfectly formed females, revengeful attitudes, fat kids that are losers, parents that are imbeciles, and countless more. No, it gets worse, leaving me to believe that either the execs at Disney or Miramax haven't seen a newscast in the last two years -- or they haven't watched this movie.
At one point, after a negative critique by her art teacher, Laney is advised by other "upscale" classmates, that artists only become famous after they're dead, and that it "might be a good idea if you killed yourself." In another scene, two boys enter the cafeteria and start picking on Laney's younger brother. One boy is dressed in a t-shirt emblazoned with a large gun and the words, "KILL ALL ARTISTS". Attempting to solve the confrontation, the hero walks in and bullies the bad boys into submission.
I couldn't help but recall descriptions of troubled youths in our high schools that have turned to violence as a way to retaliate against bullies, or the many more who have turned to suicide as a way to relieve the pain of not "fitting in". The movie's creators inclusion of these scenarios is an irresponsible decision. Put into the context of a teen "comedy", She's All That fires a deadly shot at audiences everywhere.