When you think back on the movie She’s All That, one scene likely comes to mind: Laney (Rachael Leigh Cook) a.k.a. the weird, artsy girl in school, walks down the stairs to meet hot jock Zack (Freddie Prinze Jr.) for their date.
Having just upgraded her overalls and glasses for a strappy red mini and Spice Girls-worthy platforms, Laney floats step-by-step in slow mo, making eyes at Zack as “Kiss Me” by Sixpence None the Richer swells in the background. And then she trips. And of course, he catches her in an extremely obvious love metaphor for what will happen to them by the time the credits roll.
It’s a scene that has been parodied countless times, most notably in 2001's Not Another Teen Movie, which pokes fun at the montage with a much more dramatic ending. And as cheesy as the whole thing may be, She's All That is still romcom gold. Not because the performances or dialogue are particularly great, but because it so wonderfully captures the '90s.
After Laney's big unveil, it doesn’t even matter that Zack is only pretending to like her because of a bet he made with his letterman jacket-wearing buddies (the film is a modern retelling of George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion, after all). Still, that wasn't very nice. But what does matter is that it has been 17 years since the film came out and we’re still talking—and laughing—about it.
In honor of the cult classic’s 17th anniversary this Sunday, we’re counting down the top 10 most deliciously '90s moments from the film, stair scene included.
1. Zack and Dean's Bromance
Watching Freddie Prinze Jr. and the late, great Paul Walker play best friends was a millennial pipe dream, practically ripped from the pages of Teen People. Yes, Walker's alter ego Dean was a bit of a jerk, but if it wasn't for him and his bet, Zack and Laney would've never crossed paths.
2. The It Girls and Their Outfits
Chokers, crop tops, and cardis, oh my. Whenever Zack's ex Taylor and her squad assembled, the '90s trends followed. And none of the goods were from T.J. Maxx, obvi.
3. A Pre-Bring It On Gabrielle Union Giving Side-Eye
A year before she was the Clovers cheer captain, Union proved she could serve up some serious sass as Katie, one of Taylor's besties. And she definitely looked the part in a neon skirtini and requisite scrunchie.
4. Zack's Perfectly Spiked Tips
Even when he was sweating through soccer practice, Zack never had a strand out of place. No doubt thanks to either L.A. Looks or Dep Gel, the unofficial hair miracle workers of the '90s.
5. Kieran Culkin as Laney's Annoying Little Bro
Every '90s movie worth watching has a Culkin in it. And She's All That was blessed with Kieran. His turn as Laney's smaller sib Simon might not have been as memorable as his roles in Home Alone (with brother Macaulay) or Father of the Bride, but it still holds a special place in our heart.
6. Anna Paquin Performing Movie Makeover Magic
"Nothing personal Laney, but this particular coif doesn't really go with your face shape," says a wise-beyond-her-years Paquin (in the role of Zack's younger sister Mackenzie) as she helps transform Laney before her big date.
7. Laney's Big Reveal
Laney makes her entrance (to "Kiss Me" by Six Pence None the Richer, natch) in the ultimate date look of the decade: a minimalist slip dress and chunky platforms. If you've ever worn sandals like these—and let's face it, we all did in 1999—you weren't at all surprised when she tripped at the end of the stairs.
8. Usher as the Resident Campus D.J.
Yes, that Usher. If you haven't seen the movie in a while, the R&B legend's cameo as the school's resident hype man might have slipped your mind. But the prom dance sequence to Fatboy Slim's "Rockefeller Skank" probably didn't.
9. The Real World's Brock Breakin' It Down
Matthew Lillard. Puka shell necklace. Enough said.
10. The Nod to Pretty Woman
One '90s romcom paying homage to another? Meta. Both films had epic makeover montages, iconic red dresses, dreamy dark-eyed dudes, and a happy ending to boot.