I Love You, Beth Cooper

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The ViewChristchurch Review

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Review byMatthew Turner20/08/2009

Three out of Five stars
Running time: 102 mins

This is something of a mixed bag, but it just about scrapes a pass, thanks to a handful of funny scenes and strong performances.

What's it all about?
Directed by Chris Columbus, I Love You, Beth Cooper stars Paul Rust as high school nerd Dennis Cooverman, who uses his graduation speech to tell school hottie Beth Cooper (Hayden Panettiere) that he's always loved her. This doesn't go down too well with Beth's coke-snorting, 'roid-rage-driven army boyfriend Kevin (Shawn Roberts), who spends the rest of the movie trying to pound Dennis into dust.

After graduation, Dennis and his everyone-assumes-gay best friend Rich (Jack T. Carpenter) attempt to throw a party, but when Beth and her two best friends (sassy Lauren London and clueless Lauren Storm) show up, they're quickly followed by Kevin and his goons, forcing Dennis and Rich to flee for their lives in Beth's car. An eventful evening ensues, during which Dennis discovers that Beth isn't quite the perfect dream girl he'd always thought she was.

The Good
Rust (who looks about 25) and Panettiere make likeable leads, but the film is roundly stolen by Carpenter, particularly during the film's best scene – an Errol Flynn-inspired towel-flicking fight, complete with duelling shadows on the wall. There's also strong comic support from Alan Ruck as Dennis's dad, while Storm gets several laughs as Treece and it's refreshing to see a film with a larger-than-average character who's described as gorgeous and is never once the butt of a fat joke.

The Bad
I Love You, Beth Cooper desperately wants to be a sort of John Hughes film for the noughties (as evidenced by the presence of Ruck and Home Alone director Chris Columbus) and there are moments when it almost gets there, before abruptly spoiling the mood with cringe-inducing lines like ‘Am I everything you ever masturbated to?’

Ultimately, the film can't quite get the tone right and struggles between gross-out comedy (tampons up the nose, etc.) and sweet-natured teen romance. Also, for a 15 certificate film, it presents potentially raunchy scenes (a group shower scene, a threesome) in the most PG way imaginable.

Worth seeing?
I Love You, Beth Cooper is just about worth seeing, thanks to likeable characters and at least one inspired gag, but it should have been a lot funnier and it falls short of hitting its emotional targets.

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Content updated: 23/06/2017 22:12

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