A kind of bimbo pride teen comedy, I Love You Beth Cooper asserts in its own unusual way that hey, airheads are human beings as well with their own unique insolent brand of charm, while bringing smug-leaning eggheads down a notch or two. And though the movie may be as aggravating to adults as actually having quirky teens with minds of their own like these residing in your home, there’s a genuine appeal here, however insular, in its take on adolescent angst and agony.
Directed by Harry Potter’s Chris Columbus and based on the novel by screenwriter Larry Doyle (The Simpsons), I Love You, Beth Cooper stars Paul Rust as clownish valedictorian debating team geek, Denis Cooverman. Hopelessly infatuated with it-girl cheerleader Beth Cooper (Hayden Panettiere) for like forever, or at least ever since sitting behind her in Literature Of The Oppressed class and others year after year, Denis mans up enough during his graduation speech to announce his love for the reigning hottie to the entire audience, while candidly coming clean concerning other assorted annoying classmates, from bitches to bullies, about exactly what he thinks of their superbad behavior.
And though Beth is initially shocked that a matriculated loser, as far as the in-crowd is concerned, would have the brash balls to publicly declare his crush on her, she’s simultaneously intrigued by his absolute nerve. Which leads to an ensuing cat and mouse courtship, with a fair amount of wit and wacky though at times over the top escapades in between, including assorted bookworm/bimbo/bully bonding interludes transcending chronic culture clashes, along with best friend Rich (Jack T. Carpenter) doing his best not to fret over his indecisive sexual identity, while obsessed with spouting movie and Spanish soundbite witticisms alike.
Eventually Beth and her snobby cheerleader girl entourage of shallow sexpots Cammy (Lauren London) and Treece (Lauren Storm) get enlightened about how ‘useful’ and even entertaining these smart guys with tons of brainy information to spare can be, even if totally lacking in hunk appeal. Though that Beth Cooper long shot romance gets a sobering wakeup call too, concluding with its awkward dose of teen wisdom that smart and not so smart are not necessarily bad or good, just different.
Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment
2 1/2 stars
DVD Features: Alternate Ending; Deleted Scenes; Featurettes: The Graduate; College Worthy Handyman; Beth Digs for Buried Treasure; Beth Remembers a Cooverman Moment; I Love You, Larry Doyle; We Are All Different But That’s A Good Thing: Behind The Scenes with the cast; Peanut Butter Toast: Improvised song by Paul Rust; FOX Movie Channel Presents in Character with Hayden Panettiere; FOX Movie Channel Presents in Character with Paul Rust.