She's All That (1999)
This partly stupid but largely brilliant teen romance has many of the same strengths as the high school films of the 80s. Deploying the classic ugly duckling-formula, She's All That is shamelessly obvious and naïvely romantic from start to finish. There is no way anyone can believe Rachael Leigh Cook could ever be considered anti-prom queen material. But, to be honest, that's not really the point. Because behind some stereotypical characters and some overly explicit thematic material hides a good-hearted, infectiously charismatic and largely subtle teen movie. The writing from R. Lee Fleming Jr. is unoriginal but clever, and in a handful of segments, the film touches something deeply moving or unorthodoxly funny (like the Kevin Pollak Jeopardy-game). Apart from the shallow Jodi Lyn O'Keefe, who never is close to bringing her character anything personal, the performances are impressive - even by the stock character players like Walker or Lillard. The film's greatest asset, however, are the two leads who share some sparkling scenes together. And of course one shouldn't underestimate the fact that, although she probably will never be the most universally gifted performer, She's All That represents Rachael Leigh Cook at her most breathtakingly delicious.