She’s Not All That

         There have been many adaptations of George Bernard Shaw's 1913 play Pygmalion. Two of these adaptations include My Fair Lady and She's All That. Alan Jay Lerner made a musical adaptation of Pygmalion called My Fair Lady in 1956, starring Julie Andrews as Eliza Doolittle, Rex Harrison as Professor Henry Higgins, and Robert Coote as Colonel Pickering. In 1964, director George Cukor brought My Fair Lady to the big screen, with Audrey Hepburn as Eliza Doolittle, Rex Harrison as Professor Henry Higgins, and Wilfrid Hyde-White as Colonel Pickering. Then in 1999, director Robert Iscove brought to the screen, She's All That, a modern twist to George Bernard Shaw's classic. This time we have Rachael Leigh Cook as Laney Boggs; Freddie Prinze, Jr., as Zack Siler; and Paul Walker as Dean Sampson. Where there are some similarities between Cukor's My Fair Lady and Iscove's She's All That, there many more differences.

         She's All That is roughly based on Pygmalion. It deals with two friends making a bet that one can turn a poor nerdy girl into the prom queen. The premise is the same as in My Fair Lady, but She's All That does not compare to the classic. In My Fair Lady, the characters and the setting are almost the same as in Pygmalion, but in She's All That the characters, as well as the setting, have been changed drastically. The only thing that really stayed the same was the fact that there was a bet to take a poor girl and make her into something better.

         Iscove's adaptation worked well for a generation that has never heard of Pygmalion or My Fair Lady; but for those who have read or seen Pygmalion and My Fair Lady, they will surely see that Iscove did not do either of them justice. She's All That was a decent love story, but it will never compare to the original. Classics are classics, and sometimes directors can pull off a new adaptation, but sometimes they should just leave well enough alone.

Jack Becker

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