Tuesday, January 5, 2010

DVD Views: I Love You, Beth Cooper

I Love You Beth, Cooper **
Directed By:
Chris Columbus
Written By: Larry Doyle based on his novel.
Starring: Hayden Panettiere (Beth Cooper), Paul Rust (Denis Cooverman), Jack Carpenter (Rich Munsch), Lauren London (Cammy Alcott), Lauren Storm (Treece Kilmer), Shawn Roberts (Kevin), Jared Keeso (Dustin), Brendan Penny (Sean), Marie Avgeropoulos (Valli Wooley), Josh Emerson (Greg Saloga), Alan Ruck (Mr. Cooverman), Cynthia Stevenson (Mrs. Cooverman), Pat Finn (Coach Raupp).

I Love You, Beth Cooper is a lot better than it has any right to be. That doesn’t mean that the film is in anyway a good movie just that considering the material that they had to work with, the film is a passable teenage comedy. Walking around the video store the other day, looking for something that I have not seen, this was one of my only choices. Feeling lazy, I rented it, not expecting very much, and at that, I guess the movie delivered. It is your typical teenage comedy – geeky guy graduating high school as valedictorian uses the opportunity of his speech to proclaim his love for the most popular girl in school Beth Cooper (Hayden Panettiere), and get revenge on everyone who made his high school life hell. What follows takes Denis (Paul Rust), farther then he thought possible all in the course of one crazy night.

The problem with the movie is that it never quite decides on a tone. For the most part, the movie is content to be a regular teenage sex comedy – lots of gross out gags and jokes about bodily fluids. But then, at other times, the movie tries to be something a little deeper – and this doesn’t really work. I appreciate the fact that the movie tried to make Hayden Panettiere’s Beth Cooper into more than just a teenage boy’s wet dream – giving her depth and insight, but it comes across as hollow and phony. And the subplot involving Denis’s friend Rich (Jack Carpenter) and whether or not he is gay, just never really goes anywhere.

There are good moments here to enjoy though. Rust is not your ordinary leading man. He looks like a geek. Acne scarred with a huge nose, but he has decent comic timing, and you find yourself rooting for him almost in spite of yourself. Panettiere is not the best actress in the world, but by this point, she has pretty much gotten the popular cheerleader thing down cold, and she does a fine job. And despite the films efforts to try and make her more, she is still every teenage boy’s wet dream fantasy girl. The rest of the cast does what is required of them, and not much else. Their characters are paper thin, but they still have their moments.

I Love You Beth Cooper is the latest in the long line of teenage sex comedies that will pretty much be forgotten, if it hasn’t already been. Yes, it is passably enjoyable in fits and starts, but it does nothing to transcend its genre. It is what it is.

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