I Love You, Beth Cooper (2009)
Release Date: July 10th, 2009 MPAA Rating: PG-13
Director: Chris Columbus Actors: Lauren London, Paul Rust, Lauren Storm, Jack T. Carpenter, Hayden Panettiere
ecycle” is generally a good word, one with positive and favorable connotations. But not in the world of movies. “I Love You, Beth Cooper” is one of those films that horrendously overuses the ideas (and not even the better ones) of previous entries in the teen comedy genre, resulting in an exercise in repetition and failed mimicry. Awkwardly personal advice from a father figure, aggressive small animals, nude scenes without any real nudity, and the all-too-familiar plotline of the bashful introvert chasing after the most popular girl in school, are just a few of the rehashed concepts found throughout the picture. There are really only two reasons the film gets a score of two – and both belong to Hayden Panettierre.
During the graduation ceremony at Buffalo Glenn High School, bumbling, socially-challenged valedictorian Denis Cooverman (Paul Rust) professes his love for popular head cheerleader Beth Cooper (Hayden Panettiere), as well as insulting his fellow classmates and embarrassing his best friend Rich (Jack Carpenter). While the ill-conceived words toward his peers subsequently cause trouble, his honest confession appears to strike a chord with the idolized teen beauty. Much to Denis’ surprise, Beth shows up at his house, and a wild night of raucous adventure ensues – one filled with incessant partying, reckless driving, and Beth’s maniacally jealous military boyfriend.
It’s mildly amusing when the film starts with a rousing rendition of a song entitled “Forget Me” at a high school graduation. Following is a food-for-thought speech comprised of awkward prattling that struggles painfully for even the faintest hope of a smirk. But it doesn’t get as much as a smile. As each second ticks away, the jokes get staler, the slapstick more pathetic, and the plot more unbelievable. It’s not that the story is hard to imagine – but it is difficult to understand why the cast and crew of “I Love You, Beth Cooper” ever thought this unimaginably pointless, hopelessly generic mess could pass as entertainment.
It’s very tame, excruciatingly PG-13, and terribly immature – which means teens won’t watch it and neither will adults. Denis discusses with his father that the teenage coming-of-age subject is not a new idea; if only director Chris Columbus had taken that advice and stayed away from Larry Doyle’s vastly unoriginal novel. The presentation is bland, the dialogue is weak, and not a single memorable or creative concept is introduced during the entire film. It’s as amateurish as the socially inept geeks lumpishly trying to court prom queens. Quite obviously an excuse to put Hayden Panettiere in a movie, the sheer lack of humor is the biggest disappointment, while Rich’s constant references to other films are an embarrassment to decent movies everywhere. Even the most pitiful ones have a worthwhile minute, but aside from being the first film in which Hayden bares a partial breast, “I Love You, Beth Cooper” has not a single satisfying scene. When the film culminates in an all-guy wet towel fight, Beth Cooper herself sums it up best: “Who said it’s supposed to be fun?”
– The Massie Twins