He’s All That: Talent vs. Influence


Courtesy of Google Images

Official movie poster for the film “He’s All That”

On December 8, 2021, a new remake of the 90’s classic,“He’s All That,” was announced by Netflix. To the general public’s surprise, TikTok sensation, Addison Rae, was cast as Padgett Sawyer, the main character of the film. The announcement was followed by an abundance of hate on social media, and became a controversial topic in the film world, due to the casting of Rae as the main character.

After the announcement, discussion surrounding Rae’s acting abilities flourished throughout the internet. With absolutely no acting experience, some people wondered how she landed the role. According to twitter,“He’s All That,” trended for almost a whole week, with the top tweets under the topic discussing Rae and her privilege as a TikToker. Sophomore, Anna Tomlinson, heard negative comments about Rae’s acting on TikTok, before deciding to sit down and watch the film. 

“I heard a lot of bad things about it, and I heard that Addison Rae’s acting was really bad and cheesy. But after watching it I feel like it wasn’t as bad as people made it out to be, and it was an enjoyable movie,” said Tomlinson. 

As an avid movie watcher, AP Environmental Science teacher, Lindsey Tashman, also believes that the acting was not very good quality. 

“I was not a huge fan of the movie ‘He’s All That.’ It was too basic. I thought the acting was overly dramatic and that the actors seemed to lack connection with each other,” said Tashman.

The trailer, which surpassed 3.9 million views, was the main spark for the criticism of Rae’s acting compared to her other co-stars. Sophomore, Madison Nguyen, believes that the trailer did not display any qualities of an interesting or well-budgeted movie. 

“To be honest, I watched the trailer and nothing really stood out to me. It just seemed like another cheesy teen drama. The acting was not really good quality, and after seeing the other films that Netflix has produced, I wasn’t really that surprised. I did not have high expectations for it,” said Nguyen.

Since “He’s All That” was a remake of an older film,”She’s All That,” some were worried that the writing would be repetitive and non-climatic. Sophomore, Kaylie Phan, thought that the writing almost made the plot unbearable. 

“I think the plot was really basic, it reminds me a lot of old Disney movies, so it just feels really reused. I pretty much laughed at the movie the whole time. The acting was still worse than the writing though,” said Phan. 

With the release of “He’s All That,” the discussion surrounding the talent or lack thereof of TikTokers has risen. This movie has been viewed as proof that TikTokers have certain advantages over others just because of their quick rise to fame. Tomlinson believes that although TikTokers do have certain advantages over those who are not as famous, it’s not their fault if they take advantage of them.

“In a way I think they do just because they got famous in one day over an app, but at the same time they can’t really control that and I think if they’re given all of these opportunities they might as well make use of it. While it is a little bit of an advantage over other people who are working hard, it’s not a bad thing that they’re taking advantage of that,” said Tomlinson.

Additionally, Nguyen believes that the fame TikTokers receive from the app is based on luck and not necessarily talent, which makes it hard for them to transition to the entertainment industry.

“I think they have a really high advantage because the way you become popular on TikTok is not really that you have talent. It’s more like you got lucky because she was able to build this whole entire career off TikTok just by creating 15 second dances, which does not even have anything to do with acting,” said Nguyen.

Not only does Rae have one movie with Netflix, very soon she will have multiple. After the release of “He’s All That,” Rae went on to reveal her deal with Netflix. The deal is a multi-picture film deal, which allows Rae to act in multiple movies alongside Netflix. Nguyen thinks that this deal is unfair considering Rae’s inferior acting skills. 

“I don’t really see it as fair, because from the many clips I have seen from “He’s All That” I can tell she is not a very good actress. I feel like there are other actors and actresses that aren’t as discovered who have better acting abilities, and that deal would really better them. She’s already gaining a lot of wealth from her TikTok fame  and she has a makeup brand now, so I don’t really think she needs that deal. Also Netflix has already gotten a ton of criticism from her just being in that one movie, so I can see their views going down,” said Nguyen.

Although the main reaction to Rae’s deal with Netflix was negative, there have been some positive views made towards it. Tomlinson believes that overall this deal with Netflix will benefit Rae in the long run.

“I think that that’s a big opportunity for her and it’s just a chance for her to improve her acting and her career. I think that since she got famous off of TikTok, she’s obviously going to be getting more deals and opportunities, and I don’t think there’s a problem with her taking those,” said Tomlinson. 

Even with the complaints surrounding the movie, there is still a glimpse of hope that Rae’s future movies will be much better received.