Movie Reviews

Love Don't Cost a Thing

Reviewed by: Scott Chitwood
Rating: 3 out of 10
Movie Details: View here

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Cast:
Nick Cannon as Alvin Johnson
Christina Milian as Paris Morgan
Steve Harvey as Clarence Johnson
Vanessa Bell Calloway as Vivian Johnson
Ashley Monique Clark as Aretha Johnson
Kenan Thompson as Walter Colley
Gay Thomas Wilson as Judy Morgan
Al Thompson as Ted
Sam Sarpong as Kadeem
Nichole Mercedes Robinson as Yvonne Freeman
Melissa Schuman as Zoe Parks
Imani Parks as Mia
Ian Chidlaw as Eddie
J.B. Ghuman Jr. as JB
Russell Howard as Anthony
Elimu Nelson as Dru Hilton
Stuart Scott as Himself
Kevin Christy as Chuck Mattock
Kal Penn as Kenneth Warman
Peter Siragusa as Ben
Shani Pride as Jasmine
Reagan Gomez-Preston as Olivia

Summary:
Love Don't Cost A Thing is a remake of the 80's film Can't Buy Me Love. With bad acting, a weak script, and unfunny jokes, it's one to pass up.

Story:
Love Donít Cost A Thing is a remake of the 1987 film Can't Buy Me Love.

Alvin Johnson is a high school geek. He is a talented mechanic and a successful pool cleaner, yet he longs to be one of the popular kids. Picked on by jocks and ignored by babes, he only has his geeky friends and family to turn to.

Everything changes for Alvin when the most beautiful and popular girl in school, Paris Morgan, wrecks her mother's car. Desperate to get it fixed before her mother finds out, she makes a deal with Alvin. If he fixes her car in time, she'll pretend to date him for two weeks. This will finally give Alvin the popularity he craves.

Sure enough, pretending to date Paris does wonders for Alvin's popularity. After cleaning up the geek, even Paris begins to fall for him. But as his popularity increases, his personality changes. Will Alvin be able to win back his friends, family, and Paris before it's too late?

'Love Donít Cost A Thing' is rated PG-13 for sexual content/humor.

What Worked:
Very little in this film actually worked. It's a black remake of the 80's film Can't Buy Me Love. That original movie had a pretty good concept with a lot of comedy potential. After all, everybody loves to see the underdog win in the end. However, the execution of the plot had all sorts of problems.

There were a couple of laughs here and there in the film. I thought the funniest line in the movie came from Alvin's sister when he became "cool". She says, "Urkel's gone gangsta". In another scene, we discover that Alvin can't dance. His sister switches out his dance class tape with an exercise video led by an effeminate aerobics instructor. When Alvin tries out his spastic new dance moves, he inadvertently starts a new dance trend. That got pretty good laughs from the crowd, but that was about it.

What Didn't Work:
This movie had problems on many, many levels. First of all, the acting was TV show quality at best. The lines were flat, nobody had a standout personality, and the actors either over-acted or were totally wooden. Nick Cannon is intended to be the romantic / comedic lead of the film, but he has very little personality. His idea of being funny is to dance weirdly. He doesn't have any particular charm. He becomes particularly obnoxious when he turns "cool". Kenan Thompson is also incredibly obnoxious as the geeky friend. He's loud, stupid, and not funny at all. Steve Harvey is also unsettling as Alvin's dad. We're repeatedly subjected to long, drawn out scenes where he enthusiastically tells his son how to choose a condom, put it on, and have sex with Paris. Not only was it unfunny, but it dragged on for what felt like 20 minutes.

Maybe I'm too old, jaded, and white to appreciate this film, but a lot of what it featured seemed just plain dumb to me. When the characters become "cool", they start talking in slang that will be out of date by next week. (For example, any word ending in "izzle".) And the kids can only be cool if they wear "Sean John" clothes. I'm by no means a fashion expert, but all the outfits looked like velvet, oversized jumpsuits. This is the definition of cool? Seems more like an ad for Puffy's clothing line. The music was also an endless stream of rap that I did not care for.

I also have to wonder what planet this movie was filmed on. The girls wear skimpy, revealing outfits at school. They never wore that at my high school, much to my disappointment. Fights break out in the middle of basketball games and teachers and students simply sit by and watch, applauding if a cheesy speech is given afterward. On my world this would have started a riot. In this movie the students have promiscuous sex that is enthusiastically encouraged by parents. Away from Planet X, the students in my school walked the graduation stage very much pregnant and the parents were left to take care of the babies. I have to wonder if this movie is promoting a fantasy lifestyle that isn't necessarily the best thing for its target audience.

Most of the jokes in the film fell flat, too. From a gag showing Alvin blindly groping Paris' mother's breasts to him fixing a car with a condom, it was all just really bad. Taking this movie and tailoring it to appeal to black teens may have been a good idea at the time, but the final result is a movie well worth avoiding at all costs.

The Bottom Line:
If you have a choice, go check out the original film "Can't Buy Me Love". At least in that movie you have the benefit of a catchy Beatles tune.

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