Rachael Leigh Cook: Throwback Thursday With Gal Who Was All That [PICS]

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In 1999, there wasn’t a guy in the world who wasn’t enchanted by the prom night scene in the teen comedy She’s All That–as Rachael Leigh Cook descended a staircase to “Kiss Me” by Sixpence None the Richer. At least, not any guy who had a heart to go with the hormones that got him watching the movie in the first place.

Amidst the late-’90s eruption of big-screen teen comedies that veered from hard-R high jinks (American Pie, Varsity Blues) to fluffy PG-13 romances (10 Things I Hate About You, Can’t Hardly Wait),  She’s All That stood out by way of Rachael as a an artistic high school outcast. Her character closed out the ’90s with a perfect rendition of the cinematic tradition of nerdy girls.

That is, nerdy girls who instantly transformed into amazingly hot babes upon the removal of their eyeglasses. Rachael Leigh Cook was all warm presence and easy charm in the film, and her star power was summed up in  a swimsuit scene wherein an insensitive (yet correct) jock notes, “Check out the bo-bo’s on supergeek!” The back view was nice, too…

Josie and the Pussycats (2001) followed as a sassy and snazzy satirical movie adaptation of the ’70s cartoon about an all hot-chick rock trio in skimpy costumes. Rachael is a natural as the titular tambourine shaker, fronting the group with sexpots Rosario Dawson on bass and Tara Reid on drums.

The film might have been too smart for its own good, though. The movie bombed badly enough to wreck Rachael’s career. She then  frumped out in a succession of indie flicks, and turning down the chance to play Rogue in the X-Men movies. Yeah, the same part that Anna Paquin made her own, and then parlayed into her current hot status as a scorching Hollywood sex siren via True Blood.

Rachael might have enjoyed a similar career path if she’d gone Rogue. We’ll never really know. We can just watch her now as a buttoned-up FBI agent on the TNT crime drama Perception, and reminisce about the bo-bo scenes that never happened. Also, we can check out some vintage Rachael, and marvel at how she really was once all that–and one of these pics is from Psych, so she still has something…

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