Any delusions Miramax may have been harboring that it was still an arthouse studio have been permanently put to rest with the release of "She'sAll That," a completely common and utterly excruciating high schoolugly duckling romance so grossly out of touch with the times that eventhe title is passe.
Part "Sixteen Candles," part "Pygmalion,""She's All That" tries to hitch a low-rent ride on the coattailsof the "Scream""Dawson'sCreek" teen profit phenomenon by casting a bunch of C-list teenageactors (who, if they had any integrity, would have passed on this movieand kept their fingers crossed for a douche commercial) in roles that NeveCampbell and even James VanDerBeek (late of "Varsity Blues")wouldn't touch with asbestos gloves.
The personality-less Freddie Prinze, Jr. ("Scream,""I Know What You Did Last Summer") stars as Zach, Harrison HighSchool's king of the popular, dreamy jocks. Unceremoniously thrown overby the snobby head cheerleader from central casting (Jodi Lyn O'Keefe),Zach accepts a bet from his cold-blooded posse of in-crowd cronies thathe can turn any girl in school into the prom queen in six weeks.
Being that Harrison High is a Hollywood school, where thefat chicks are a size 10 and a stray eye brow hair signals radical feminism,the worst they can do is Laney (Rachel Leigh Cook), a brainy (she can quoteCNN!), mousy, anti-social art chick who is one removed bobby pin and apair of contact lenses away from ultra-babedom.
The movie takes place in one of those fictional worldswhere although jocks are all bastards, geeks secretly aspire to be jocksand everyone, regardless of clique, goes to the same parties.
Following an inevitable course with no twists or surprises,Zach falls for Laney (despite her queer interest in performance art andcurrent events) and becomes a nice guy in the process, and Laney learnsthat the key to happiness is wearing lip gloss and dating guys with two-digitIQs.
Written by somebody named Lee Fleming, who 1) saw too manyJohn Hughes movies as a teenager and 2) is clearly at least five yearsbehind the times, "She's All That" features badly out-dated slang,clean-cut token minorities who perform spontaneous rap ditties in the schoolquad, and gratuitous references to long-forgotten characters from MTV's"The Real World." In an desperate attempt to look hip, he madeZach the school's star soccer player (football is so 1998!).
Directed by TV veteran Robert Iscove, the pic sleepwalksthrough Laney's requisite confrontations with 1) the cheerleader ("Toanyone here that matters, you're vapor!"), and 2) Zach ("Am Ia bet?!?," turn heel, stomp off dramatically). Iscove failsto avoid a couple dozen other obligatory scenes before wrapping up witha prom climax that includes an ill-advised synchronized dance number.
Forgettable in almost every other regard, "She's AllThat" will be remembered, by those who keep track of such things,only as the movie that knocked Miramax off its pedestal once and for allby demonstrating that several years under Disney's wing has turned chairmenBob and Harvey Weinstein into clones of Larry Levy, the cynical producerfrom "The Player" who reasoned that a good story is immaterialto making a movie for the unwashed masses.