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Review: I Love You, Beth Cooper

Jul. 9, 2009by: Chris Bumbray

PLOT: During his graduation speech, a nerdy valedictorian, Denis (Paul Rust), publicly declares his love for Beth Cooper (Hayden Panettiere), the most popular girl in school. That night, Cooper- with two of her hot friends in tow, shows up on his doorstep, intent on taking Denis, and his best friend Rich (Jack Carpenter), out for a wild night on the town. What would normally be a dream come true for Denis, quickly turns into a nightmare, as Cooper turns out to have a wild streak, along with a wildly jealous boyfriend on leave from the Army.

REVIEW: I love a good teen comedy, especially one made pre-1989. BREAKFAST CLUB, SIXTEEN CANDLES, SAY ANYTHING, BETTER OFF DEAD, FERRIS BUELLERS DAY OFF, THE SURE THING, hell, even PRETTY IN PINK- I love em all. When I heard Chris Columbus, whos spent the last decade making huge films like the first two HARRY POTTER movies, and the ill-fated big screen adaptation of RENT, was going back to his roots with a throw-back teen comedy- I was excited. After all, his ADVENTURES IN BABYSITTING is a classic of the genre.


I knew I LOVE YOU BETH COOPER was going to be trouble after seeing the first trailer. I thought the John Hughes-ian premise of a nerdy kid declaring his love to the head cheerleader sounded great when I read about it online but the trailer just seemed completely lifeless and flat. Still, considering the talent behind the camera, I figured the film would at least be mildly entertaining- but that was not to be.

I LOVE YOU BETH COOPER is a total disaster, that makes recent teen comedies like FIRED UP, and 17 AGAIN look like mini-masterpieces in comparison.

Theres so much wrong with the film that I hardly know where to begin. For one thing, the cast is all wrong. Hayden Panettiere, while fine on HEROES, seemed a little too down to earth to play the supposedly irresistible BETH COOPER, who should seem wilder and more unattainable than Panettiere comes across. I also really disliked Paul Rust, who plays our nerdy hero. Rust is definitely no John Cusack (or Anthony Michael Hall for that manner), and at times, the character, who supposed to be lovable, comes off as an arrogant prick (particularly in his harsh treatment of his ex-girlfriend, who, due to the fact that shes not as hot as Hayden Panettiere, is treated as a punch line, and nothing else). The only saving grace of the cast is Alan Ruck (CAMERON!!!), who plays Rusts cool dad, and in his limited screen time, manages to steal every scene hes in.

Another problem with the film is something Ive noticed in a lot of Fox movies lately- it looks cheap. Im assuming, with Columbus directing, that the film had a healthy budget, but it looks like it was shot on a shoestring budget. I dont know what their deal is, but with the exception of their Fox Searchlight films, their movies have been almost universally bad, and cheap-looking (especially WOLVERINE- which despite a $150 million budget, looked like a DTV flick). Moneys not the issue here, but rather creativity and it would be nice if the folks at Fox started trying to make decent films again.

All in all, I did not love BETH COOPER. In fact; I downright loathed it at times. If youre looking for a good laugh, do yourself a favor, and see THE HANGOVER again, or check out BRUNO, as this film is about as funny as a kick in the crotch.

RATING: 3/10



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