Pygmalion: a 1912 play by George Bernard Shaw
“Professor of phonetics Henry Higgins makes a bet that he can train a bedraggled Cockney flower girl, Eliza Doolittle, to pass for a duchess at an ambassador’s garden party by teaching her to assume a veneer of gentility, the most important element of which, he believes, is impeccable speech. The play is a sharp lampoon of the rigid British class system of the day and a commentary on women’s independence.” – from Wikipedia
My Fair Lady turns Pygmalion into a musical, with its movie version starring Audrey Hepburn and Rex Harrison. She’s All That sets the same story as a 1990s high school rom-com starring Freddie Prinze, Jr. and Rachael Leigh Cook. I know that My Fair Lady is super iconic, but I realized as I watched it for my movie bucket list, I would have rather been watching She’s All That. Here’s a list of the top five reasons why, in spite of its ’90s cheesiness, She’s All That beats out My Fair Lady for my movie pick.
5. Professor Henry Higgins doesn’t sing.
My Fair Lady is a musical, but the male lead doesn’t sing. I haven’t seen any other production of the show, so I don’t know if Rex Harrison can’t sing or if the composers didn’t bother writing any melodies for the role of Professor Henry Higgins. Either way, Rex Harrison sing-talks through the movie in a way that makes Ke$ha seem like a songbird.
4. Zack Siler > Henry Higgins
First of all, who didn’t have a major crush on Freddie Prinze, Jr. in the ’90s? He’s super gorgeous, and you just wanted him to smile at you all day long. Second, Zach was such a good guy. He wasn’t rude to Laney Boggs the way Henry Higgins was to Eliza Doolittle. He defended the little guy and stuck to his promises. Even though he was the popular athlete, he also had the fourth highest GPA in his class and was accepted to both Harvard and Yale. He’s a Hacky Sack master. Did I mention he’s super gorgeous?
3. Dule Hill and a fabulous cast of ’90s superstars
This movie was a ’90s goldmine of teen icons, though I doubt any of them were actually teenagers during filming: Freddie Prinze, Jr., Rachael Leigh Cook, Dule Hill, Paul Walker, Gabrielle Union, Lil’ Kim, a young Anna Paquin, Kieran Culkin, Usher Raymond, and even a cameo by Sarah Michelle Gellar. There’s even an appearance by celebrity choreographer Brian Friedman as one of the dancers at prom. Speaking of which…
2. The big prom dance number
Sometimes big choreographed dance numbers like this bug me. I always ask myself, “How does everyone happen to know this dance that was just spontaneously created?!” But She’s All That has an answer. You see, when Usher is your campus DJ, you learn the dance ahead of time. He teaches you all the moves in the weeks leading up to prom, and you rock it out when the big night comes. My own prom was nowhere near this awesome.
1. The pool scene
Because who doesn’t want to feel like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman, except for the whole hooker thing.