It's a fantastic 1990s time capsule
One of the things I’d forgotten is that the film takes place in Seattle during the mid-'90s, when grunge was at its peak, a year after Kurt Cobain's suicide. You get a true sense of what LA filmmakers thought that world looked like in one of the first scenes, in which Witherspoon (who looks so young), her caricature of a slutty friend (played by Alyssa Milano), and their '90s L.L.Bean fleece-loving, nice-guy friend Gary ditch school to grab lunch at a pool hall full of people with killer facial hair, baggy flannels, and Chris Cornell’s beeper number.
Among those bearded Soundgarden lovers is clean-shaven, tight-shirted Marky Mark, who creepily stares at Witherspoon as Milano orders the sluttiest thing on the menu (chocolate cake) and gets a flier for a rave in a bad part of town. Alyssa wants to go, of course, because you could publicly have sex in bad parts of Seattle in the '90s, but Reese can't because she’s got plans with her pops.
The script may have been written by a teenage girl's crazy dad
Speaking of which, the movie depicts Witherspoon’s father (William Petersen, aka CSI’s Gil Grissom) as a workaholic architect trying to balance the creation of several badly rendered Sim Cities with maintaining his second marriage and caring for Witherspoon and his stepson. The guy seems like he has it all (cool old car! Million-dollar house with ridiculous pool! The ability to run fast in the woods!) but also, of course, has nothing, because his daughter is losing her virginity to a 20-year-old murderer.